May 02, 2002

By Elizabeth Doran
Staff writer
From the Syracuse Herald-American Sunday, May 02, 2002 Business Section

In the two years since CalSource Inc. opened its calibration and metrology lab in Syracuse, the small business has doubled its sales and added eight employees.

CalSource, which specializes in verifying the accuracy of equipment used for measuring, received its own measure of success Wednesday when it received a Small Business Excellence Award.

The company, along with 15 other small businesses across Central New York, was honored at the U.S. Small Business Administration's Excellence Awards luncheon.

The event was held in celebration of National Small Business Week - "Small Business: Where America Works."

"We're very proud of the award because it recognizes that we're doing a good job," said Kyle Laukaitis, president of CalSource, which he runs with Brad Darois and John Sager.

The company - in the Rockwest Center at 1005 W. Fayette St., Syracuse - secured a $134,000 SBA-backed loan two years ago, and $30,000 from the city of Syracuse Urban Business Opportunity Center (UBOC).

CalSource doubled its sales after the first year and expects to do the same in 2002, Laukaitis said. The company services equipment used in electronics, radio frequency, dimension gauging, pressure, torque, temperature and mass measurements. Local customers include Lockheed Martin, TRW, Inficon and New Venture Gear.

Along with the Excellence award winners, seven CNY business people won SBA Advocate awards, which were previously announced. One of the winners, Steven W. Thomas of Oswego, won a Small Business Excellence Award along with being named NYS's Small Business Person of the Year.

Thomas, who was recognized for operating The Days Inn, The Thomas Inn and four Dunkin' Donuts stores in Oswego County, will go onto compete for a national award. He started his first business, a restaurant he called Peppercorns, in 1984 with 50 employees. He employs 130 people. Don Richards donated and presented the Small Business Journalist award this year in memory of his wife, Donna Speziale Richards, who was the SBA's public affairs specialist and a former television reporter at Channel 5. Speziale Richards died in May 2001 after suffering a brain aneurysm. The award was given to David Connelly of the Finger Lakes Business Almanac.

The Excellence luncheon is designed to recognize small business as the foundation of today's economy, said Bernard J. Paprocki, SBA Syracuse district director. While 2001 saw many small companies struggling with the aftermath of Sept. 11 and an economic tumble, most are continuing to grow and prosper.

"One thing that hasn't changed since Sept. 11 is the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses," Paprocki said.

© 2002 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.