On June 4, 2015, Chuck Waldrop and Sandra Rodriguez of the Government Contracting SBDC had the distinct honor of participating in an award ceremony to present the “SBA Women Champion of the Year” award to Ms. Shawn Dollar, President/CEO of Sturm Welding in Pilot Point, TX. Also participating were Ms. Yolanda Olivarez, SBA Regional Administrator, Mr. Herbert Austin, SBA District Director, and the Mayor of Pilot Point, Shea Dane-Patterson. The award, a signal achievement, was presented in recognition of Ms. Dollar’s aggressive efforts on behalf of women business entrepreneurs throughout our district, as well as her signal accomplishments in the significant growth of Sturm Welding over the last several years.

Sturm became a client of the SBDC in 2011, when we helped Ms. Dollar with her presentation before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since that time, Sturm has received the SBA 8 (a) designation and made significant progress on construction projects throughout Texas and adjacent states. They also have a variety of other certifications to help in marketing efforts. Ms. Dollar successfully completed the SBA “Emerging Entrepreneurs” (E-200) course, which gave her a good grounding in the latest management, planning, marketing, administrative, financial, and other major aspects of running a successful business. This and similar business training programs provided her the wider perspective needed to help Sturm to achieve the aspirations she and her husband Dale have for the company.

Founded in 1952 by Paul and Lillian Sturm, the business was purchased by Shawn and Dale Dollar in 1998. Ever since the founding, Sturm Welding has prided itself on being able to fabricate any piece of metal material to the exact specifications of the customer. Under Shawn and Dale, the firm has also developed an outstanding field capability-going directly to customer sites for repairs to a wide variety of metal structures of all kinds, lately including BRIDGES. In fact, during the awards ceremony, we stood on a aluminum bridge manufactured for Sheppard AFB, not yet installed due to recent flooding in the DFW Metroplex and adjacent areas. It was impressive.

As already noted, the Dollars decided to go into government contracting in 2011, since their approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and SBA 8(a), Sturm Welding with the assistance of the Government Contracting SBDC has received a total of $277,030,785 in government contracts of all sorts, created 27 new jobs, and retained 57. These are especially critical in a small community like Pilot Point. The company sells a wide variety of government and commercial products to local ranches, construction companies, other commercial establishments, and several agencies of the federal government.

A distinct strength of Sturm, and the major reason for their success over the years, is their widely experienced professional crew, with over 250 years of industry and other experience. Recent successes have allowed them to branch out and hire people with new skills to add to the already solid cadre of “pros” onboard. Shawn has developed a wide-ranging set of management skills which has allowed her to succeed remarkably in an industry formerly and still in many ways dominated by men. Of course, she also credits her husband, who runs field operations, for much of the success. This husband-and-wife team is exemplary in providing the tools of success, each employing his or her distinct strengths.

In conclusion, the Government Contracting SBDC is proud to be associated with fine clients like Sturm Welding, and community-minded leaders like Shawn and Dale Dollar. We see no reason why their success will not be expanded and grown even larger in the future. Well done, Shawn!