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2023 Virginia Veteran Small Business of the Year Award

Published on November 10th, 2023

Last modified November 10th, 2023 03:48 pm

The Virginia Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College recognized Mack Payne, a Tazewell businessman, with the 2023 Virginia Veteran Small Business of the Year award during its annual Veteran’s Day celebration. The award, representing the Virginia Small Business Development Center, was presented by Dr. Tommy Wright, President, and Mrs. Dyan Lester, Dean of Student Success.

The Veteran of the Year Award, established by the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network, is an annual accolade recognizing veteran-owned businesses in Virginia. Each of the twenty-six SBDC offices across the Commonwealth participates in nominating businesses that have contributed significantly to the state’s economy and community. Criteria include business economic impact, industry advocacy, previous awards, and community service.

Mr. Payne, owner of Payne Motors, Real Estate, Rental, and Construction since 1977, also owns Cumberland Plaza and Payne Real Estate & Investments. Employing seven people, he has served on thirteen different boards and is involved with five veteran organizations. He is known for mentoring veterans and community members in entrepreneurship. His approach to business is captured in his quote, “I have never lost any money in business, but I have gotten some expensive education.”

Reflecting on his experience, Mr. Payne said, “After returning from Vietnam in 1971, I worked in the coal mines before joining a car dealership. I started a used car lot five years later, eventually taking full ownership. Over 47 years, I have established and managed various businesses. Educationally, I earned degrees from Southwest Community College and Bluefield University, supported by the GI Bill. My community involvement includes support for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Tazewell Police Department, the Tazewell Chamber of Commerce, and various civic organizations.”

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau’s survey of small business owners, there are 2.52 million veteran majority-owned businesses in the U.S. Margie Douglass, Small Business Development Center Program Manager says, “Our office is pleased that Mack has utilized our services in identifying resources to sustain and grow his businesses. It is exciting to see a Southwest Virginia businessman be recognized for his service to our country and community. I am especially pleased that Mack was selected for this award from all the veteran entrepreneur applicants across the state.” 

Payne received a personalized plaque to honor his accomplishments, and his name will be added to the main plaque hanging in the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

The Small Business Development Center offers confidential, free-of-charge business consulting, training, and resources that help grow Virginia’s economy. For more information, please contact the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College: 276.964.7345 or

Mack Payne accepts award
Mack Payne accepts The Veteran of the Year Award at Southwest Virginia Community College on November 12, 2023.
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