Jim Brennan never thought his company would grow to more than 184 employees and $100 million in sales when he founded Sea Box Inc. in 1983.
But Brennan, who’s hired 20 employees in the last 60 days and is looking for several more, and his Cinnaminson-based firm are being honored by the Small Business Administration on Wednesday for its growth through the resources the SBA provides.
Nationally, 100 businesses are being honored in the SBA 100 for adding more than 100 employees since working with the agency. Brennan used a SBA-guaranteed loan in 1995 to expand and a 2004 procurement rule changes spurred by the SBA added the military as a customer, forcing the business to grow.
“We’ve been very fortunate — we have a backlog for three or four months of work, we know we have steady work,” Brennan said. “If I look at my schedule, we’re at 120 percent of capacity, so somehow we have to figure out how to get it done, but that’s why you keep hiring people and you jockey things around and it all works out.”
Brennan said after the 2004 rule changes went into effect, his customized shipping container business became 80 percent military contracts and 20 percent commercial work. Until the late 1990s, the company never had more than 50 employees at one time.
“They guarantee the loans for the banks, so it makes the banks more comfortable, which is what helped us,” Brennan said. “Whatever business you’re in, you have to take it slow and steady, and I believe in reinvesting back into the companies and the employees, so we reinvest back into the business all the time to grow the company.”
Brennan said he’s not opposed to further growth of the company, but he’s happy with the current status of the company, adding that being flexible is the best way for him to approach his business.
SBA New Jersey district director Alfred J. Titone said having a New Jersey company in the SBA 100 speaks to the quality of the company and the business environment in the state.
“It’s tough for any business to reach that mark — it’s kind of the magic number,” Titone said. “When you start getting to the point where you have 100 (employees), you’re a large small business, and it’s a tremendous feat.”
Titone said he’s looking forward to meeting Wednesday with Sea Box executives to get both good and bad feedback on SBA programs. He also said he hopes the publicity from the award will show small business owners that, through careful planning and using available assistance, Sea Box-levels of growth can be achieved.