Today the U. S. Small Business Administration named Mark Masters, the chief executive officer of Chloeta Fire, LLC, as its National Young Entrepreneur of the Year—one of its nine champions of small business in 2012.
An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Masters launched Chloeta Fire in 2009 from his home with employees in a dirt-floor barn in Jay, Oklahoma, where he stored the company's equipment, states a Chloeta press release. In May 2010, Chloeta Fire expanded, opening its field operations center in a business incubator in the Oklahoma City area.
Chloeta Fire provides emergency response services, natural resources and vegetation management, and fire management planning and consulting for tribal and all governmental entities, and private and corporate landowners.
Masters earned his bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries ecology from Oklahoma State University, and is now pursuing a master of business administration degree from Cameron University.
He is no stranger to wildland and fire management. For eight years, Masters works as a federal employee, spending a great portion of that time in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, where he often rappelled 250 feet down a rope from a hovering helicopter to quell difficult-to-access forest fires. In his final two years working in the public sector, Masters served as a U.S. Department of Interior-Bureau of Indian Affairs employee for the National Interagency Fire Center.
Masters wears numerous hats. Among them: contributing editor at International Association of Wildland Fire, instructor at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, and adjunct professor at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The Champion Awards were presented in Washington, D.C. on May 22, as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week, May 20-26.
“The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as champions of small business. Their tireless efforts have supported small businesses, local communities, and America’s economic recovery efforts,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills in a statement. “They provide the counseling, advocacy, advice and support that small business owners need, and foster an environment where the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish, resulting in economic growth and job creation.”