BLACKFOOT — Jayson Meline, executive director of the Latino Economic and Development Center (LEAD), shared a statewide award presentation with members of the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Irene Gonzalez, a representative of the Small Business Administration, presented Meline with the organization's Minority Small Business Champion of the Year award.
"LEAD is Latino grassroots initiative of Partners for Prosperity. Its mission is to assist Latino entrepreneurs with expert tools for successful business start-up or expansion leading to increased economic opportunities and participation in Eastern Idaho's economy," according to the nomination document submitted by Sonia Martinez of Partners for Prosperity.
"Jayson has helped dozens of Latino small businesses," Martinez wrote. "To work with minority small business owners takes a certain amount of patience and persistence.
". . . In order to assist Latino small businesses in growth and capacity, Jayson has provided an articulate medium for communication between local and state economic entitities and Latino entrepreneurs, fostering the creation and sustainment of long-term trust and growing relationships.
"As a minority-owned business champion, Jayson is consistently on the lookout for roadblocks and cultural barriers that keep the Latino entrepreneur from expanding and growing his business," Martinez wrote.
"I'm not real comfortable receiving awards," Meline said as he accepted it. "It's not an award about me, but the organization I represent."
Meline thanked his wife and his father for their belief in him and in what he and his staff are trying to accomplish.