Odds are against going from picking beans to running a multi-million-dollar company in a single generation.
Paul Morrow, president and founder of SDAC, a small federal contractor located in Homestead, Florida and Selma, Alabama, has defied these odds, winning him a prestigious government business award in 2017, SBA State of Florida Small Business Person of the Year.
SBA assesses nominees on company growth, increase in sales including net profit and net worth, innovation in products and services, response to adversity and personal community service. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon writes:
“Your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your state’s economy. The SBA is pleased to celebrate your achievements and recognize your personal role in driving our nation’s economic growth . . . Congratulations on a well-deserved honor.”
Morrow is one of 19 children born to James and Mary Morrow of Plantersville, Alabama, near Selma, infamous location of “Bloody Sunday” where protesters marching for voting rights across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge were beaten on national television in 1965. Poor, black and only four years old at the time of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, Morrow grew up picking beans, okra and corn then helping his family sell it at the roadside produce stand in their front yard. He saw the Army as his ticket out and in 1979 he enlisted straight after high school graduation. Injured on duty, Morrow was discharged to heal then headed to Florida to reinvent himself, learning A/C repair and opening SDAC in Homestead in 1985 then expanding to his hometown of Selma in 2014.
Morrow’s SBA award charts the phenomenal growth of SDAC, now recognized as one of the fastest-growing minority-owned small federal contractors in the country, and it showcases his passion for the troubled communities he calls home, Homestead and Selma. The two cities are notorious for being among the poorest and most dangerous municipalities in the United States. SDAC allows Morrow to provide good jobs locally, a rarity in these communities. One measure of SDAC’s success recognized by the SBA award is that the company has doubled its sales, tripled its staff and opened two new corporate locations in the three years preceding the award.
Morrow and SDAC continue to break new ground. Morrow fuels his entrepreneurial spirit by continuing to grow SDAC as a government contractor of excellence while giving back to his family and to his distressed hometowns. The company employs dozens of skilled technical, administrative support and executive management personnel throughout Alabama, Florida and other states. SDAC is an SBA-certified 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business and a CVE-verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) operating in certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone locations, and SDAC’s Florida and Alabama offices each are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) in their respective states.
As SDAC continues to grow, the company has ventured into facilities maintenance, building maintenance and operations, grounds maintenance and landscaping, major capital improvement projects, design/build construction work, renovation and remodeling, specialty remediation, manufacturing and distribution, and more. Morrow is a licensed general contractor (CGC1519965), mechanical contractor (CMC1249506) and refrigeration contractor (51851) and the company holds ongoing and completed general and mechanical construction contracts across the Southeast and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. SDAC has performed more than 200 Federal Government contracts to date while also forming award-winning partnerships with other companies across the U.S. that complement and extend SDAC’s reach. One such partnership is an SBA 8(a)-approved Joint Venture with Professional Maintenance Management, Inc. (PMM Companies), of Rockville, Maryland. SDAC and PMM’s JV, SDAC Facility Services, has won several prestigious Federal Government contracts, including at the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair, D.C., the National Credit Union Administration in Alexandria, Virginia, and two competitive placements on the GSA’s BMO SB MA IDIQ GWAC which covers 34 states and the District of Columbia, with a combined spending value of $42 Billion.
Morrow is a proud member of the Association of the United States Army, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association and he is Commissioner Appointee to the Miami-Dade County Community Council. Over the years he has volunteered for a number of worthy organizations including the Naranja Princeton Community Development Corporation, Homestead Job Corps and Troops-To-Trades Miami. Morrow has a passion for mentoring teens and returning servicemembers in HVAC and in how to start their own small businesses; he has worked with many promising young entrepreneurs through these and other volunteer organizations as well as on his own.
In addition to work, Morrow enjoys making time for his three kids and his extended family, hunting, fishing, spending time in nature, staying in shape, and he is an avid fan of the Miami Heat.