Paul Morrow, winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration 2017 State of Florida Small Business Person of the Year Award, is a successful, respected entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to serving his country and to growing his own small business. He learned the value and rewards of hard work as a boy growing up on his parents’ farm in Plantersville, Alabama, a rural agricultural community near Selma.
Paul was born to James and Mary Morrow. Eleventh of twelve brothers and seven sisters, he grew up working alongside his family on their farm. The Morrow Farm’s 30 acres of seasonal vegetables and herd of hogs produced enough corn, peas, okra, squash and pork to feed 19 growing children, keep three freezers full and stock a small roadside produce stand in season. Paul learned core values and real-life skills, and the rewards of hard work, from childhood.
After graduating from Dallas County High School in 1978, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army as a 17-year-old on June 25th of that same year. He was seriously injured while working on military equipment in Kirchgoens, Germany. His military career as a Tactical Wire Operations Specialist assigned to the 3rd Battalion 33rd Armor was cut short by this untimely accident. Following honorable discharge, Paul returned to civilian life. He moved to South Florida and began a career in air conditioning and refrigeration repair and service. An aspiring entrepreneur, he opened his own small business, South Dade Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Inc., in June 1985.
Paul launched SDAC to capitalize on the growing need for professional quality air conditioning and refrigeration repair services in the Homestead, Florida residential market. As South Florida became a hot, in-demand lifestyle destination in the mid 1980s, Paul’s company expanded to serve customers throughout the Greater Miami-Dade Metro Area, including Broward and Monroe counties.
Fast forward through two decades of steady growth and Paul realized he needed to take the next step in his career. The time had come to enhance his hands-on experience with professional certifications. In 2004 Paul became a Florida-licensed mechanical contractor and in 2007 he proudly added a Florida general contractor license to his résumé.
As his Florida business grew, Paul felt a call to return to his hometown of Selma, leading him to expand SDAC to include offices in Alabama and Florida both. While establishing an Alabama presence, Paul added a third professional credential through the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors.
Paul and SDAC continue to break new ground. Paul fuels his entrepreneurial spirit by continuing to grow SDAC as a government contractor of excellence while giving back to his family and to the distressed communities of South Florida and Alabama’s Black Belt so near to his heart. Today, SDAC employs residents of the economically distressed Selma area and it continues to grow. The company is an SBA-certified 8(a) and a VHA-certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). SDAC’s Florida and Alabama offices are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and the Alabama office operates in a certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone location.
SDAC has ventured into facilities maintenance, building maintenance and operations (BMO), grounds maintenance and landscaping, major capital improvement projects, design/build construction work, renovation and remodeling, specialty remediation and more. The company holds ongoing and completed BMO and mechanical construction contracts across the Southeast and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Enhancing the company’s work in critical installations, Paul holds Top Secret Clearance.
Paul’s family continues his tradition of personal achievement through hard work. His entrepreneurial son Paul Jr. (PJ) already has launched his own company while attending college part time with plans to major in engineering. His two younger children are making the transition from high school to college and their hard work in school has earned them academic scholarships to the colleges of their choice.
Paul is a proud member of the Association of the United States Army, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, the Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Association and he is Commissioner Appointee to the Miami-Dade County Community Council. In addition to work, Paul enjoys making time for his three kids and his extended family, hunting, fishing, spending time in nature and staying in shape.