2003 Walter Barnard Hill Award | The Walter Barnard Hill Awards recognize distinguished achievement in public service and outreach by UGA faculty members and service professionals.
Jeffrey R. Sanford’s wide array of accomplishments at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are a testament to his dedication to the SBDC, the University of Georgia, and the communities and clients he has served over the past ten years. He has received state and national acclaim for assisting businesses, teaching business education programs, facilitating economic projects, and developing innovative consulting tools.
Sanford began his career at the SBDC as a rural economic development consultant in the SBDC’s Statesboro office. There, he developed the nationally recognized Mystery Shopping Program in response to rural businesses’ need to improve their facilities and customer service approaches. Through the program, he utilized volunteers and university students for “shopping” businesses. His clients received detailed reports of the volunteers’ shopping experiences with suggestions for immediate improvement. The program has been recognized nationally and has been adopted by seven SBDC organizations.
As a result of his creative and effective approaches, Sanford was promoted to the Augusta SBDC office as a lead consultant and area director. As area director, he assisted clients with over $10 million in loans and grants; started the Product and Development Center to help companies develop new technologies in the Central Savannah Regional Area (CSRA); directed the CSRA Micro-Loan Program; and developed strategic marketing audits.
In December 1999 Sanford was promoted to his current position as the director of program development and quality assurance for the statewide SBDC program. Since that time, he has received two grants from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to start the Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) initiative. FAST provides a variety of services to help businesses successfully introduce their technologies into the marketplace. Specifically, the initiative has, among other accomplishments, assisted over two hundred technology-based clients with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs and commercialization support. Sanford has also co-authored the SBDC publication, “Mastering Business Loan Proposals,” developed consulting tools and resources, and coordinated professional development training for consultants statewide.
In addition to his work with the SBDC, Sanford has taken an active role in economic and community development. He has been the chair and vice-chair of the Augusta Unified Development Council and the chair of the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. Sanford was the first recipient of the BOS/SBDG Consultant of the Year Award in 1996. He also received National Association of Small Business Development Center’s Star Performer Award in 1998, which was given to only ten out of 4,000 SBDC consultants.