UHV Small Business Development Center advisor wins regional award

For Mark Martinez, being able to work with people in area communities and help build small businesses as a business advisor is a dream job. Now, his hard work has been recognized with a state award.

Mark Martinez

Martinez, a senior business advisor for the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center, recently received the State Star Award from the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network. He will represent the entire South-West Texas Border SBDC network this fall at the national America’s SBDC conference where all the State Stars will be honored.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Martinez said. “I always strive to do my best for my clients. Here at the center, we are working and helping people in our communities, and that is something I value greatly. It’s always been one of my personal missions to help my community, and this job allows me to use my skills and education to do just that. I am blessed.”

During the pandemic, Martinez has remained a stable force for his clients and the UHV SBDC team, UHV SBDC Director Lindsay Young said.

“Mark’s work ethic is absolutely exceptional and brings a high level of service, integrity and teamwork to our center,” Young said. “His passion for helping clients and his ability to create relationships makes him a standout. From the start of the pandemic, he worked tirelessly to ensure his clients received the assistance they needed as well as up-to-date information. A 2020 State Star recognition is well deserved, and I could not be prouder or happier for Mark.”

Lindsay Young

Martinez has been a business advisor for the UHV SBDC for nearly nine years. He meets with small business clients and assists them with learning how to start or run a business, including marketing, finances, accounting and business planning. He has worked with clients in all 11 counties of the UHV SBDC’s service area, and currently is working with the northern counties of Goliad, Victoria, DeWitt, Lavaca and Gonzales.

To be considered a State Star, advisors from each Small Business Development Center must compile certain information for judges to consider and score. Each advisor in the network must meet a set of goals and measures based on each center’s territory. Those metrics include how many clients are being advised, number of hours spent with clients, how many jobs each advisor helped create, number of jobs retained, number of new business creations or starts, business expansions and capital infusion, or the amount of money an advisor helps his clients secure through loans, grants or personal investment to start or expand their business. For 2020, Martinez helped create 149 jobs and retain 83 jobs; had nine business starts and 16 business expansions; secured more than $3.3 million in capital; more than 1,200 hours of service; and 60 long-term clients. Although Martinez tied with another advisor from another center, the ultimate tie-breaker was Martinez’s leadership skills.

Mary Garcia, the owner of Carpet Masters in Victoria, has been a client of Martinez’s since 2019 when she went from being a part-owner of the business to the sole owner. At first, Garcia felt overwhelmed with all the information she had to learn to ensure that the longtime business would stay afloat. When Martinez stepped in to help guide her, she felt like it was a blessing.

“This award is well-deserved for Mark,” Garcia said. “He is great to work with and will always call or text you back when you need help or advice. He is an all-around people person and just has so much knowledge of the business to share. He’s a hard worker and deserves all the recognition.”

In addition to his role as a senior business advisor, Martinez also is an adjunct faculty member with the UHV School of Business Administration and has taught management courses for four years. He is a UHV alumnus who received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 2005, and in 2010 a Master of Science in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. He also has been a member of the Victoria East High School Band Booster club for the past decade, where he has served as band booster club president.

Martinez looks forward to continuing to help Crossroads communities build small businesses. He sees his role as both an advisor and an adjunct faculty member as someone who can be a guiding force and help build confidence for those who want to make their business dreams come true.

“This has been a surreal experience, and I am blessed to be able to do what I love every day,” he said.

The UHV SBDC is part of a nationwide small business assistance program serving the small business community and federal, state and local governments. The center offers counseling, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up businesses in an 11-county area. To learn more about the center, go to

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco