Two Long Island businessmen will be honored in May with National Small Business Week Awards, the New York District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced. .
Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, won the Small Business Champion of the Year award, and Walter Oden, owner of Oden Development, a manufactured housing and real estate company in Hicksville, earned the Minority Small Business Owner of the Year award.
Both were selected for their "hard work, commitment to excellence and dedication to the overall small business community," SBA spokesman Bailey Wolff said. The New York district covers 14 counties in downstate New York.
Andrews, who became president of the AACC in 2013, said being recognized by the federal government is a milestone that inspires him to "keep going and do more."
Led by Andrews, the AACC partnered with Nassau Community College to host the first African American Business Expo on Long Island last year. More than 40 product and service vendors, from industries including health care, insurance, finance, graphic design and energy, participated in the expo.
For Andrews, organizing the event was "a way to increase African-American employment through the growth of companies."
"Phil has worked tirelessly to create opportunities and establish networks for Long Island small business owners, especially those of color, to grow," Wolff said. "And Walter has worked hard to grow his own company and in doing so provide employment for more people."
Oden started his business in 2010 after many years in the television industry. It employs four full-time workers and hires others on a project-to-project basis.
After superstorm Sandy, the company was contracted to build and replace manufactured housing units in Shirley and Riverhead.
Receiving the SBA honor, Oden said, "represents a guidepost indicating we are moving in the right direction as a growing company."
National Small Business Week is May 5-11. The awards ceremony will be May 7 at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square.