Since 1998 the SBA has presented the Phoenix award to business owners and people who displayed courage resourcefulness and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster while adding to the rebuilding of this community. [Rob Loenardis:] My name is Rob Leonardis and our company is Ember Industries. I took over as president in 2008. [Frank Leonardis:] I’m Frank Leonardis. I’m the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Ember Industries. [Greg Leonardis:] My name is Greg Leonardis. My job is Engineering Manager. [Rob:] We build custom printed circuit boards and wire harness and cable harnesses and then custom mechanical assemblies. We make products for the drone aircraft industry, medical companies, for security perimeter fencing, access control products, things of this nature.
Our company is a household business. [Frank:] This has been very rewarding being able to grow a business with your family. [Rob:] you’re going to trust someone with the finances of the business and stuff, yes there’s nothing can beat trusting your brothers. The trust is, you understand, unbreakable. [Greg:] My hope is that we can continue to cultivate as a business and our youngsters would be thinking about joining and overtaking the company even as we did with your father. [Rob:] What exactly were going great. After all, honestly, the factory was going wonderfully and June we were on pace for accurate documentation month. It could have been our highest June we’ve ever had. And instead the Blanco River decided to come and you understand come over its banks. [Frank:] In May of 2015 the Blanco River in San Marcos overflowed its banks to record levels that hadn’t been seen since around 1929, I believe. [Rob:] We’d 30, 32 inches of water in the entire building. [Frank:] Basically ruined our manufacturing equipment and shut us down.
It was pretty devastating. [Greg:] To be honest, I was sick to my stomach for a long time. [Rob:] About per week engrossed our dad came to us and said should we be doing this? Should we be trying to even rebuild this? [Bill Koontz:] The Office of Disaster Assistance at SBA discusses businesses that have suffered by way of a disaster, recovered, and put their workers back to work. Rob’s story about how precisely SBA is disaster loan helped the company recover was certainly one of preserving the American dream [Bill:] The media wants to ask me, “The length of this disaster compared to the others you’ve seen, Bill?” and I usually say if I simply lost my business it’s the biggest disaster there is.
[Greg:] My loved ones in the home means a great deal to me. I’ve a wife and two kids and and family only at work is just as important. [Rob:] Minus the SBA loan, not merely would we not have had the oppertunity to survive the business but our employees and their families. [Bill:] I do believe it’s remarkable that Ember Industries has come back. I do believe it’s remarkable they’ve been as successful in the wake of this as they’ve been.
They haven’t just rebuilt, they’ve grown bigger, they’ve grown better. Every person here can say that they have a piece of that and they own that. [Lisa Surl:] Seeing the Leonardises proceed through what they’ve worked so difficult to complete and looking after every one of the employees they knew, not merely their families, but looking after our families as well. [Josephine Toras] I lost my home. I was scared of a flood, the water, and each time a heavy rain come in, I simply so worried. Yeah Ember still pay me. [Lisa:] During the time of the flood, Ember continued our paychecks for, or paid for all the employees. Those who were working came in most day although we were not Ember was not bringing in product they continued to cover all of us, yes.
[Josephine:] Yeah, Ember treat me good, so good. Yeah I do love Rob, Greg, and Frank. [Laughs] [Rob:] We probably have about 65 employees and you’ve all their families and the amount of people that the business impacts is — plus our customers which are counting on us — is really a really large number of people. I honestly believe we wouldn’t have already been able to rebuild minus the SBA loan. It helped us continue on living the American dream. [Rob:] Thank you, Bill. We appreciate you. Thank you for the SBA’s help. .