Nine Kentucky businesses named "pacesetters"

Nine businesses were inducted into the Kentucky Small Business Development Center's Kentucky Business Pacesetter Program on Wednesday.

Winners were recognized at the Kentucky Celebrates Small Businesses event in Frankfort.

The Kentucky Business Pacesetter Program recognizes Kentucky-based businesses "that are changing the economic landscape of the Commonwealth by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and boosting employment," according to a release from the small business center.

The businesses inducted into this year's sixth class of Kentucky Business Pacesetters are:

■ Artemis Electronics, LLC, Prospect;

■ Browns Valley Truck Equipment, Utica;

■ Drug Testing Centers of America, Paintsville;

■ Giovanni's Pizza, Pikeville;

■ Great Northern Building Products, LLC, Louisville;

■ Lexington Contracting, LLC, Lexington;

■ Measure Consumer Perspectives, Louisville;

■ NaugaNeedles, LLC, Louisville; and

■ Unique Granite and Marble, Owensboro.

In addition to recognizing Pacesetter recipients, the SBA recognized Dr. Mehdi Yazdanpanah, CEO and founder of NaugaNeedles, LLC as the Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year.

Other small business advocates were also recognized, including: Donna Smith, owner of Donna J. Smith & Co, co-owner of Stivers & Associates PSC, 2013 Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year; Dee Dee Harbut, special program director, Kentucky Small Business Development Center, 2013 Kentucky Minority Business Advocate of the year; Joyce Green, owner of Jordan Hill Farm & Karizma LLC, founder of Business Babes Society, 2013 Kentucky Women Small Business Advocate of the Year; and Patricia Krausman, center director, UK Small Business Development Center, 2013 Kentucky Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and small business center director Becky Naugle presented the awards.

The small business center is a network of 15 offices located throughout the state that help existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high-quality, in-depth and hands-on services. The center is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit