Navy Veteran, Synergy Construction Owner Named Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Synergy Fabrications LLC., DBA Synergy Construction, was founded in 2001 by Jeff Rawls, a service-disabled veteran of the United States Navy, and his partners. By 2006, Rawls bought out his partners and was on his way to owning a profitable construction company that holds a general contractors license, a plumbing license, a roofing license and an electrical license.

However, by the spring of 2013, Rawls and his wife, Dawn, found themselves without a bookkeeper. Taking into consideration the difficult economy of the previous five years and the struggle to stay in business, the Rawlses knew that they needed to take control over the financial operations of the business. Thus, they decided to attend a QuickBooks training class conducted by the FSBDC at UNF at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

After the class, Dawn realized she wanted one-on-one assistance with understanding and managing the finances and payroll of the company.

In their subsequent meetings, FSBDC consultant Cheryl Lynch helped the Rawlses with other challenges that they were facing and gave them the confidence they needed to make sound business decisions.

Not only did they assist me with obtaining my HUBZone certification, obtaining my Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business certification, and navigating through government contracting, but also they provided me with a consultant that is helping me strategize and grow my business in a structured way, making the growing pains bearable.

While the last four years have been difficult for Synergy, the tides have changed and they have now hired seven additional employees with plans to hire more since their initial meeting with Lynch. They are now on track to increase their sales by 300 percent.

In recognition of his leadership, service to his country, and business success, Jeff was recently named the Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year for North Florida by the U.S. Small Business Administration. When asked what the award meant to him, he remarked that the experience has been "very humbling."

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The services of the FSBDC at UNF are priceless. Every business owner in Putnam County should be meeting with Cheryl at the FSBDC, the results are proven!”

Jeff Rawls, Owner — Synergy Construction