Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Wisconsin District is losing a servant of small business to a new private entity in Washington, D.C., and the future of another position left open by retirement is in question.
Paul Roppuld, assistant district director of the SBA’s Milwaukee office, is leaving to take a marketing position with the National Veterans Business Development Corp., which was formed by an act of Congress to provide capital and technical assistance to veteran-owned businesses.
Roppuld also served in various local government positions as chairman of both the Little Muskego Lake District board and Muskego Chamber of Commerce Education and Leadership Committee.
“We always hate to lose people with experience,” SBA Wisconsin acting District Director Eric Ness said.
Ness said Ruppold’s impact is tangible. In 1998, according to Ness, the SBA Wisconsin District received nine applications for the 8A program, which gets disadvantaged businesses involved with federal contracts. This year, according to Ness, the district received 39 applications due to Ruppold’s efforts.
Wisconsin’s SBA contingent is also diminished by the loss of Greg Merten, an economic development specialist who retired in September to help run Wildflour Bakery in New Berlin and Milwaukee, which he and his wife Dolly own.
SBA sources say Ruppold’s position will be filled once permanent officers are chosen in the district. But many other positions are still in limbo after the transition between presidential administrations – including the position vacated by Mertens.
“We are going to be filling Paul’s position – someone will be acting in his capacity in the meantime,” local SBA public information officer Janice Wipijewski said. “We don’t have a budget yet from central office, and we don’t have a permanent district director yet. Things are in limbo until a permanent administrator is picked by the president. And that filters down – they appoint people in the central office and field operations. They are all acting until they are appointed.”
Ness agreed that the future of the district’s staff level was questionable.
“We don’t have a budget yet,” Ness said. “When we get a budget, we will have more information on that.”
Dec. 7, 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee