With almost 25 years of experience in financial and operational leadership positions, Preston is passionate about serving the small business community. Prior to his post at SBA, he was Executive Vice President of The ServiceMaster Company, where he also served as chief financial officer during a period of expansion, restructuring and significant change in the regulatory environment. During the first half of Preston’s private sector career, he was a senior vice president and treasurer of First Data Corporation, and an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.
He has lived in New York City and Hong Kong as well as international business assignments in Italy and Western Europe. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and has served on numerous boards of philanthropic and other organizations.
Since coming to the Small Business Administration, one of Preston’s top priorities has been to revamp the Disaster Assistance Program which was still struggling to respond following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes. He immediately set to work by touring the impacted areas to learn how SBA could accelerate the distribution of approved loan funds to people in the Gulf Coast and ensure that the program could serve Americans effectively in future disasters. The result was a top to bottom reengineering of the program. His reforms quickly produced impressive results: within months, over 100,000 borrower cases were resolved; borrowers have been introduced to a new, more consumer-oriented loan process, and almost $6 billion has been disbursed to those who are rebuilding their lives and businesses following Hurricane Katrina. Preston’s mission is to ensure that the new process will make SBA well-equipped to provide Americans with the resources to rebuild in the event of another major disaster.
Preston is also boosting SBA’s impact on America’s small businesses by advancing an agenda that allows them to compete in a global economy. With a portfolio of direct and guaranteed business loans, venture capital investments and disaster loans worth over $80 billion, SBA is the largest single financial backer and facilitator of technical assistance and contracting opportunities for the nation’s small businesses. In FY 05, small businesses secured nearly $80 billion in federal contracts, representing 25.4 percent of federal prime contracting dollars. In addition, over 1.4 million people were counseled through the Agency’s training and technical assistance programs. Preston is committed to ensuring that small businesses can compete effectively for government contract work and reforming how the government counts these contracts. He also makes sure that the voice of small businesses is heard through SBA’s Office of Advocacy and National Ombudsman.
He has also intensified the SBA’s focus on driving business formation into areas of our country with higher unemployment and poverty rates. By designing relevant products, expanding targeted outreach, and focusing agency goals to address the needs of underserved communities, Preston is striving to enable sustainable job formation and economic activity in areas of our country that need it the most. The U.S. Small Business Administration
Video Archive: Administrator Steven Preston Discusses SBA Programs, Services, and Events
- National Press Club, Washington DC, Feb. 1, 2007 - Administrator Steven Preston discusses the state of the Small Business Administration.
- National Press Club, Washington DC, Feb. 1, 2007 - Administrator Steven Preston Q&A session
- Speeches - Administrator's Speeches