A Huntsville business counselor whose extraordinary entrepreneurial savvy has helped numerous small businessmen and women realize their dreams, gained national prominence this summer when she was named a "star performer" by the Association of Small Business Development Centers.

Julie Gilmer, CPA, a counseling coordinator for Sam Houston State University's Small Business Development Center, is one of 10 counselors due to receive the ASBDC's prestigious Star Performer Award at the organization's fall conference in Keystone, Colo. The 10 winners were chosen from more than 950 member centers nationwide.

"You can see by the sheer number of possible nominees what a tremendous honor this is for her and this organization," said Bob Barragan, director of Sam Houston's SBDC. "Julie's performance has truly been one of achievement and service to our clients. This is a recognition that she richly deserves."

The Star Performer Award is presented annually to outstanding SBDC management consultants. Nominees are evaluated on their ability to satisfy clients and produce results, as well as for their continuing educational pursuits.

As part of the award application process, 10 of Gilmer's Huntsville area clients submitted letters detailing how the counselor had helped them strengthen their businesses. Also submitted, were client service evaluations covering a two-year period from 1995 to 1997.

Gilmer has plied her skills at the SBDC for more than four years. Her duties include counseling clients on starting small businesses, bookkeeping, employee tax issues and tax-related concerns. She also teaches how-to seminars on a variety of accounting software programs.

Prior to launching her business career, and after graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in law enforcement administration, Gilmer spent nine years as a police officer. She left law enforcement to earn an accounting degree from SHSU. After graduating Cum Laude, she took an accounting position with Tenneco Gas, only to return to SHSU three years later to pursue a masters degree in business administration.

Gilmer hooked up with the SBDC while working on her graduate degree, which she completed in one-and-a-half years. As a graduate student, she authored two published papers and conducted a study of inventory control practices among Huntsville area businesses. The study earned her a scholarship from the Purchasing Management Association of Texas.

In addition to her daily responsibilities at the SBDC, Gilmer frequently lectures to SHSU management and accounting classes and conducts continuing education seminars for certified public accountants.

She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Society of CPAs, and she is currently pursuing business valuation training through the AICPA -- an eight-part course leading to business valuator certification.

A familiar face at Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce functions, Gilmer regularly shares her expertise with a variety of community organizations. She has served on the Huntsville Education Foundation's Administrative Advisory Board and she works frequently with area banks on small business assistance programs. She is also the primary processor of loan applications made through a pilot business assistance program for women and minorities.

Gilmer currently lives in Conroe with her husband, George, a sergeant with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

"We are very proud that Julie was selected as a star performer," Barragan said. "This reward reflects greatly on Julie and the entire Small Business Development Center of Sam Houston State University."


Media contact: Phillip Rollfing

July 28, 1997