Twin brothers and ophthalmologists Ronald and Russell Dandy have built Chatham Eye Associates into a popular practice in the decade since they opened.
So popular the doctors weren’t on hand Wednesday to accept a small business award from the Small Business Assistance Corporation. Both were in surgery.
The Dandys “know what it takes to make a family business thrive,” said Tom Butler, SBAC chairman.
The Dandys were awarded the Michael Bunn, Sr., Memorial Rising Star Award in absentia during the annual SBAC meeting at Savannah Station. Russell attended part of the ceremony but left before the award was announced to keep an appointment with a patient in the operating room.
Neither of the Dandys could be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The Dandys built Chatham Eye Associates with the help of the SBAC. They opened their practice in 2003 in a small office on Waters Avenue and grew the business to the point they utilized a Small Business Administration loan to build a 9,000-square-foot facility on Middleground Road. The Dandys opened a Bulloch County office in 2011.
The SBAC handed out two other awards Wednesday. Barbara Settzo, owner of Assistance for You, received the T. McCoy Cornerstone Award for excellence in the field of administrative assistance. William Gabriel Thomas of SunTrust Bank was named the Small Business Lender of the Year Award.
Thomas closed four SBA projects with the SBAC totaling $3.4 million in the past year. Thomas has originated nearly $15 million in SBA loans since 2009. He credited SunTrust’s entire local commercial lending team in accepting the honor.
“This award should read SunTrust Bank across the bottom because it was a team effort,” Thomas said.
Butler, the SBAC chair, outlined SBAC’s work during fiscal year 2012. The SBAC put in process, approved and funded more than $24.2 million in loans for projects creating 888 jobs. The loans went for a variety of business activities, including start-ups, expansions, urban, rural, minority and veteran-owned businesses.
“The point is, can commercial lending be creative and prudent at the same time? Yes it can,” Butler said. “Our portfolio of performing direct and guaranteed loans demonstrates that.”
About the SBAC
The Small Business Assistance Corporation is a specialized, non-profit business development organization licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The group is supported by the city of Savannah and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote economic growth. The SBAC coordinates with lenders to offer 10 different loan products. Visit www.sbacsav.com or the SBAC office at 111 E. Liberty St. for more information.