I read with great interest Lora Kolodny's story of Mike Officer and his double life as software developer by day and CEO of a rapidly growing winery by night ["Don't Quit Your Day Job," Getting Started, March]. I was in a similar position two years ago, and my advice is not to wait too long before turning a "hobby" company into a full-time gig.

Between my two jobs, I worked 80 hours a week, maxed out vacation time on my own business, and made sales calls and ran errands during lunch breaks. I was careful not to use company time for my own business, but it was a constant juggling act. When I was laid off, I breathed a giant sigh of relief. It was the best thing that could have happened. Now not only have my sales and income doubled, but I have more time to spend with my family.

Brent Jessee
Brent Jessee Recording & Supply Inc.
Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Tell It to Congress

We cannot dictate how Congress funds our programs, nor whether or not it passes budgets on time. Your March article on the SBA's 7(a) loan program ["SBA Slams the Door on Borrowers," Bobbie Gossage and Elizabeth Wasserman] didn't place the blame where it belongs: Congress. Congress was nearly four months late in passing an appropriations bill to fund the SBA's budget. The SBA did not choose to shut down 7(a). Congress did not pass our budget, and under federal law the SBA cannot guarantee loans with money it doesn't have.

We're working with Congress to make sure that this situation does not happen again. We have proposed legislation that would move the 7(a) program to a zero subsidy level and will expand our lending authority by $3 billion, allowing us to provide 30,000 additional loans to small businesses. These proposals will allow us to help more small businesses access the vital capital they need to grow and create jobs.

Hector V. Barreto
U.S. Small Business
Washington, D.C.

Don't Discount Dayton

We were surprised to read that Dayton was among the worst metro areas in "Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America" [March, Joel Kotkin]. Before you close the book on Dayton, we'd like you to consider that it is an affordable place to live. And while we acknowledge that we've lost manufacturing jobs, we've been addressing this issue and have demonstrated real progress toward diversifying our industry base. We are proud of the fact that we have a history and a culture of learning from adversity. Our entrepreneurial spirit thrives on meeting the next challenge.

Bill Mercurio
Chair, Board of Trustees
Dayton Development Coalition


On page 46 of the March issue, we inadvertently switched photos of Michael Kasavana and Paul Kelly. On page 63 of the same issue, we incorrectly listed Pacific Data Designs as a storage company. It is a clinical data management and statistics services company. We regret these errors.

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