SBA's Edward Haddock Gives Big Reasons to Think Small

SBA's Edward Haddock Gives Big Reasons to Think Small
Edward Haddock, director of the Arkansas District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (Jason Burt)

As director of the Arkansas District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Edward Haddock is responsible for all SBA programs and services as well as coordination among the SBA, the district’s Small Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters and the Women’s Business Center throughout the state.

Haddock started his SBA career in 2011 as an economic development specialist in the agency’s Newark, New Jersey, office. He was promoted to senior area manager in Fayetteville in 2013, was named the SBA’s Arkansas deputy district director in May 2015 and was named director in January 2017 on the retirement of Linda Nelson.

Haddock has an MBA from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s in organizational management from John Brown University. He also spent 12 years in the U.S. Air Force, including deployments in both humanitarian and combat operations.

What are some functions of the SBA that readers might not be aware of?

Most people know about the SBA’s lending side, where we offer a loan guaranty to help increase capital access to small businesses. What most people don’t know is that the SBA has an Office of the Ombudsman, which helps ensure regulatory fairness for our small businesses, and an Office of Advocacy, which advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the federal courts and state policymakers. We also have programs for trade development, contracting assistance, no or low-cost training and disaster relief for businesses and individuals. We touch almost every aspect of small business.

Can you share the success story of an Arkansas business whose help from the SBA really made a difference?

Our recent winner of SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year is a great example of what benefits can be gleaned from working with the SBA. Vision IT of Little Rock, led by Victoria Washington, made incredible progress growing through several SBA programs. Certifying as an 8(a) company gave her organization preference in the federal procurement process, where she was successful in garnering several large contracts. She spent close to eight months completing SBA’s Emerging Leaders program, where she refined her business acumen and gained MBA-level tools to use in the management of her business. She led her business from $74,000 in revenue with zero employees to more than $3 million in revenue. Her organization also hired 21 employees within three years. Companies like Vision IT are why small business is one of the most powerful economic development tools available.

You’re an Air Force vet. How does your military service influence the way you perform your job?

I was trained according to a set of core values that stay with me in my daily work: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. These guiding values help me stay on track, embrace our mission and develop our team into an efficient cohort that is fully dedicated to helping small businesses start, grow and succeed.

What’s the greatest career mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

I have had numerous learning opportunities in my career, and I don’t consider any of them a mistake. Each opportunity has provided me a greater opportunity to learn and grow.

I had a challenging time separating from the military; in many ways, that separation taught me more about who I really am than the 12 years I spent serving. I’ve had unsuccessful business launches, which taught me more about business than any successful operation ever did. Each of these growth points taught me patience, resilience and optimism, and helped me get where I am today.

The hardest part of our own mistakes is the journey through it, when we’re at the lowest point. That’s when they seem more like setbacks than useful lessons. I think it’s important to have the desire, strength and foresight to continue on; often if we can just push through, success will be just ahead. And being willing to seek out the support that’s available to us is key as well.