TSBDC names 2014 Rising Star

group of people in front of a building with a ServPro sign
Tennessee Small Business Development Center director Larry Rossini presents SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville owners John and Kristina Greenway with the 2014 Rising Star award.

The Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, a division of Pellissippi State Community College, has presented SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville with the 2014 Rising Star award. The disaster-cleanup franchise is owned by John and Kristina Greenway.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize small businesses. The award honors business owners who have achieved sustainability and success and who contribute to the growth and development of Tennessee’s economy.

“John and Kristina Greenway have expanded their business from 1,900 square feet in 2009 to over 16,000 square feet and 23 employees today,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC. “They had a bumpy start finding affordable space, learning on the go and managing a large number of jobs, but they have risen to become our Rising Stars.”

SERVPRO, which is based in Gallatin, specializes in cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties that incur damage from fires, floods, and other disasters.

The Greenways opened their franchise in 2009. Kristina had worked with the Knoxville TSBDC for years before that as a home-based entrepreneur, and the couple used TSBDC’s services to connect with SERVPRO after the pharmaceutical firm for which John served as district manager downsized.

“Without Larry Rossini and the TSBDC there would have been no SERVPRO at Rocky Hill,” said John. “We’d have never become a company. I needed someone to steer me in the right direction, and Larry was that guy. It’s because of him and the team at TSBDC that we found SERVPRO and got our start.”

Making the business a success wasn’t always easy.

“We were totally overwhelmed with work for the first eight months,” Kristina said. “We had a tough time keeping up as we taught ourselves what we desperately needed to know.”

But the couple’s dedication and hard work paid off.

In 2013, the Greenways’ business was recognized at the SERVPRO National Convention as “The Best” among 1,700 franchises for best practices. Last year, the Greenways also were recognized by SERVPRO, as members of the company’s Southeast Storm Response Team, for their efforts to help clean up post-Hurricane Sandy.

“John and I know we’ve built a team of quality people who understand the needs of our clients,” said Kristina. “Our mission is to restore customers’ lives, business and homes. We go the extra mile for each other, for our employees and for our customers.”

TSBDC is a network of small-business consultants offering services in 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.