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L.A. Speech Pathologist Tops SBA's Annual List of Honorees


A Los Angeles speech pathologist who was one of the first to serve drug-exposed youngsters in South-Central Los Angeles is among the entrepreneurs and small-business advocates honored by the Small Business Administration, the agency said Tuesday.

Pamela Wiley, whose private practice grew from a one-woman operation in 1979 to three clinics today, was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Los Angeles district office.

Wiley's Los Angeles Speech & Language Therapy Center Inc. is based in Culver City with additional clinics in Hawthorne and Windsor Hills. Wiley declined to share revenue figures but said her business has "continued to show a steady growth every year," particularly as diagnoses of children with autism and other communication difficulties improve.

Her first South-Central clinic served a population of children prenatally affected by drugs and alcohol and continues that work from a new Windsor Hills facility financed with the help of an SBA loan. In the last two years, she has expanded her practice, sending contractors into the Los Angeles Unified School District to work with youth there.

She has also launched preschool facilities at the Windsor Hills and Culver City sites to facilitate the integration of children with communication disorders into mainstream classroom settings.

Wiley annually honors grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising prenatally drug-exposed children and last year began a scholarship program for master's degree students entering the field of speech pathology.

"I'm elated," she said of the SBA award, offering this advice to fellow entrepreneurs: "You need to focus, you need to have a plan, you need to be good and you need to not only think about what you're getting but what you're giving."

Other winners include Patricia Johnson, president of Health Point Services of America in Los Angeles, Woman in Business Advocate; Seth Willen, president of Los Angeles-based American Trading International, Exporter of the Year; Victoria Lowe, president of Culver City-based Alert Staffing, for the Entrepreneurial Success Award; Victoria Fullerton, president of Long Beach-based Material Resource Associates, for Welfare to Work Small Business Owner of the Year; and Willie Thomas, of Thomas Land Clearing Co. in Long Beach, for the Small Business Achievement Award.

Claire Hope, founder of Claire Hope Enterprises, a Camarillo management consulting firm, won the national award for Veteran's Advocate for her work serving Southern California veterans.

The awards are granted annually as part of Small Business Week, which is May 21-27. Winners will be honored at a May event by the Los Angeles district office, which oversees Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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