Every year during National Small Business Week, regional Small Business Development Centers around the country nominate business people with the highest achievements for awards. This year Small Business Week was celebrated from May 5-11, and in Florida nine regions each selected a Regional Volunteer of the Year. In Central Florida the winner was Nperspective Managing Partner Wayne Leland.
However, that was only the beginning of the honors. In June Leland was named Florida Small Business Development Center (“FSBDC”) Volunteer of the Year, ahead of eight other regional winners. He received the award at a luncheon in Orlando on June 21.
In his letter congratulating Leland, Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the FSBDC network, wrote, “this award is given to the volunteer believed to have made the greatest impact with respect to contribution to the FSBDC Network.”
“As evidenced from your nomination,” continued Myhre, “you are an invaluable partner and friend to the FSBDC network and are very deserving of this recognition. We sincerely appreciate your time, dedication, and the impact you have made on small business owners across the Central Florida region.”
Asked to provide some comments about Leland’s relationship with their company, leaders of two firms responded. Chris Baeten, CEO Knight Federal Solutions, said that Leland has been part of his advisory board for more than a year.
“His contributions from a financial and accounting standpoint have helped our company with organization and streamlining of back office costs to maximize our earning potential.” Baeten added that Leland “was able to help audit the costs of our most important contract and was able to find efficiencies resulting in higher profit margins.”
Kent Boulicault, Principal Engineer at Sighofen & Associates, Inc., also praised Leland’s service on the firm’s advisory board: “His expertise in federal contracting was very important to our goals to expand our business in the federal sector.” Later, according to Boulicault, Leland “assisted us with establishing our Defense Contract Audit Agency (“DCAA”) compliant accounting system and helped prepare us for negotiating contracts with federal agencies, which we are now doing with the US Army Corps of Engineers.”
Reasons for Volunteering
Leland’s commitment to volunteering is both personal and corporate. “At Nperspective we do a great deal of volunteer work and sponsorships for various non-profit associations,” explains Leland. “It is part of our core values. I became involved in FSBDC at UCF in 2007 because I heard great things about it, and it was a chance for me to give back to the community and my alma mater UCF.”
A member along with wife Frances of UCF-FTUs first four-year graduating class, Leland notes, “My how time flies. I was informed by the FSBDC at UCF that I had donated over $27,000 of billable time to its clients over the last 15 years.”
There is another deeper reason behind Leland’s commitment. “I work mostly with defense contractors,” he says. “As a combat-decorated Vietnam Vet, I appreciate the dedication and compassion these companies have toward making the warfighter better prepared and safer. They are literally building products that save lives every day.”
But that’s not all of it for Leland. “Many of my clients have children currently in boot camp or deployed all over the world keeping our country safer,” he adds. “My father was a thirty-year career officer and served in WWII. My brother is an Air Force Academy graduate and was a fighter pilot for 20 years – he is also a Vietnam Vet. So, my small contribution to help these defense contractors is my honor.”
What Volunteering Looks Like
As a former DCAA Auditor, Leland brings a unique set of skills to help defense contractor companies. “DCAA is the government’s accounting agency that reviews and audits defense contractors,” said Leland. “I assisted one of my FSBDC at UCF companies in restructuring their timekeeping system to track all time by all employees to the proper government contracts vs. their commercial contracts. This allowed the company to submit accurate billing and pass government billing audits.”
For another such company, Leland was able “to assist in restructuring the accounting system to comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations.” As a result, they passed the government audit of their accounting system and could submit proposals to the government for cost type contracts.
Recently, Leland helped an FSBDC at UCF company defend the proposed labor rates that the government contracting office challenged. “We were able to submit the detailed cost data supporting the indirect rates to rebut the government’s arguments.” In the end, the labor rates were accepted as submitted.
Community and Business Groups
Not all of Leland’s volunteer work is with the FSBDC. He is also involved in several community and business groups personally and as Managing Partner of Nperspective:
- UCF Incubator
- AUSA (Association of the US Army)
- NDIA (National Defense Institute Association)
- ACG (Association of Corporate Growth)
Small Business and the US Economy
“With more than 2.5 million small businesses in Florida, we are pleased to celebrate the hard work of a few of our state’s best and brightest,” said Myhre. “We couldn’t be more proud to have so many of our clients and advocates recognized for their contributions to their local economy.”
National Small Business Week is proclaimed by the President of the United States to recognize the critical contributions made by America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs to our economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.