Kirila Fire Named Region’s Small Business Exporter of Year
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Trumbull County business was acknowledged by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the SBA Great Lakes Regional Exporter of the Year.
During Gov. Mike DeWine’s briefing Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted congratulated Kirila Fire Training Facilities Inc., Fowler, for its recognition. While Kirila is based in Ohio and provides services across the United States, through its work with the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Youngstown State University, it now exports to 15 countries, Husted said.
“This is how you can have a small business working in partnership with people who can knock down those barriers and help them export to the rest of the world and grow business,” he said.
A representative for the company said the staff there is “totally thrilled” about the acknowledgement, adding that founder and president, Jerry Kirila, has “worked so hard to build this company and especially expand to the international market.”
As part of National Small Business Week this week, Kirila Fire will be recognized during a virtual celebration on Sept. 24. Other honorees from the Northern Ohio area to be recognized include:
- Rookie of the Year: Maeson Green, MBG Restoring LLC, Austintown
- Young Entrepreneurs of the Year: Brad Clemens and Chad Coley, Horizon ATA, Westlake
- Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Eric Ho, LBM Bar, Lakewood
- Women’s Business Center of Excellence: Nicole Liatos, director, Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio, Cleveland
- Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award: Bill Wersell, director, OSBDC at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Toledo
- Northern Ohio Small Business Person of the Year: Michael Grossman, Castle Aviation Inc., North Canton
Founded 13 years ago, Kirila designs, manufactures, installs and maintains fire-training systems used at defense installations throughout the world as well as civilian sites such as airports. In July 2019, The Business Journal reported that 70% of the business at Kirila Fire is done with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Among places the company has worked include Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; March Air Force Base, Calif.; Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.; McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.; Camp Butler, Japan; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna. A host of other locations follow, from Saipan to Turkey.
“We’re now a global operation, and we became that because of the DOD,” Kirila said at the time.
The U.S. SBA also recognized the Ohio SBDC in Springfield this week as the Great Lakes Region Small Business Development Center Excellence in Innovation award winner, Lt. Gov. Husted said.
“This is the fourth year in a row that an Ohio SBDC has been named Best in the Midwest by the SBA,” Husted said. “They’re doing a great job. And you can see that by some of the results of the businesses that they help.”
Last year, the U.S. SBA presented the SBDC at YSU with the Excellence and Innovation Award.
Pictured: Jerry Kirila, president of Kirila Fire Training Inc., develops systems used at defense installations.
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