Environmental services firm owner named National Small Business Person of the Year

Marianne Sensale-Guerin of Gorham, Maine, who took over an environmental services company she had founded nine years earlier and then sold to a larger firm, and turned it into a top-notch business specializing in mitigating fuel spills and leaks, was recognized as National Small Business Person of the Year by President George W. Bush during ceremonies on April 27 at SBA Expo '05, the agency's three-day conference celebrating National Small Business Week.

"Each year the SBA chooses one business owner who best exemplifies the qualities that make our 25-million strong small business owners the economic force they are," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto. "Marianne, and her company Guerin Associates, embody the best of entrepreneurship, citizenship, and the American dream. And I am proud to name her the National Small Business Person of the Year."

Established in December 2000, Sensale-Guerin's company, Guerin Associates, LLC, is an environmental services firm that offers a wide range of remedial services. The company specializes in the removal, replacement, cleaning and retrofitting of underground and above ground fuel storage tanks. Guerin Associates also provides 24-hour emergency spill response as well as hazardous and contaminated site remediation services to government, corporate and private clients.

Sensale-Guerin, a New Jersey native, moved to Maine in April 1981. While working for an oil company as finance manager, from 1986-1989, she gained working knowledge of environmental risks and regulations, particularly those governing underground fuel storage tanks.

In 1991, Marianne and her husband, Marc, formed Pollution Control Services (PCS), a small environmental company based in Gorham. They sold the company's assets in 1999 to North American Environmental Services and both Marc and Marianne accepted managerial positions with the company, Marc in Maine, and Marianne in New York. She returned to run the company's environmental division in Maine in November 2000, after her husband was killed in an industrial accident, leaving Marianne devastated and heart-broken.

Six weeks later, North American decided to close the Maine division, and Marianne, not afraid of facing a challenge, struck a deal that allowed her to take over its existing federal contracts and perform them under a new entity, Guerin Associates, LLC, which she formed in December 2000.

Presently, Sensale-Guerin is the sole owner and President of Guerin Associates and she continues to grow the company both in diversity of services and revenue. During its four years in business, the company has grown from four employees to its current 20. The main office is an 8,000-square-foot newly-renovated facility located on New Portland Road in Gorham and has a branch office in Presque Isle, which was established in 2002.

The winners are selected on their record of stability, growth in employment and sales, financial condition, innovation, response to adversity and community service.

For more information on these companies and on the rest of the state Small Business Person of the Year award winners, visit the SBA Web site at http://www.sba.gov/expo/ and click on "2005 Winners."

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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