UACES Facebook Arkansas APEX Accelerator Success Story: FEMA Clients (Vanndale Neighborhood Rentals LLC., SMITH PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC, COPPERAS CREEK INVESTMENTS, LLC, KGH Investments LLC)
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Arkansas APEX Accelerator Success Story: FEMA Clients (Vanndale Neighborhood Rentals LLC., SMITH PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC, COPPERAS CREEK INVESTMENTS, LLC, KGH Investments LLC)

by Savanna George - August 1, 2023

FEMA trailer on land provided by an APEX clientOn March 31st, 2023, the town of Wynne, Arkansas was affected by a tornado that tore through the state in the afternoon and early evening destroying shelters, power lines, and roads.  In the following months, city officials and volunteers worked to clean up damages and provide resources to those affected.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became involved to assist with providing temporary housing relief in May 2023.

FEMA was tasked with identifying and working with landowners who were able to host housing units in the town of Wynne. FEMA’s Scott Orth reached out to Arkansas APEX Accelerator in early May to find out how FEMA could work with APEX staff  to ensure that the potential land providers were registered and up-to-date in the System for Award Management (SAM) platform.  Orth and his colleague, Michael Villagrana, were referred to Savanna George (AR APEX Accelerator Client and Intake Specialist) and Tim Hicks (AR APEX Accelerator Procurement Counselor).  George and Hicks were asked to work one-on-one with local businesses to complete the necessary requirements to be awarded a contract with FEMA.

Orth referred four potential contractors with available land to the APEX program.  Throughout the month of May, Hicks and George worked with Vanndale Neighborhood Rentals LLC (TJ Betts); Smith Property Management LLC (Aquilla Ates and Tyrone Smith); Copperas Creek Investments, LLC (Blake Sticklin); and KGH Investments LLC (Steve Headley) to ensure their SAM registrations were completed.  Hicks and George met one-one-one with each business and overcame set-backs throughout the process.  They assisted with entity validation and other complications that usually impede the SAM registration process.  Additionally, Arkansas APEX Accelerator provided daily updates to FEMA regarding the status of each client.  Because of the efforts of everyone involved, all four businesses were successfully registered in SAM by June 1st, 2023.  All four businesses were successful in receiving contracts to provide land for FEMA relief efforts. Combined dollar amount of the four government contracts mentioned is $170,000.

Betts (Vanndale Neighborhood Rentals LLC) shared his gratitude by sharing, “It took a lot of time and effort, but we got it done and I couldn't have started without the help provided by APEX.” Aquilla Ates (Smith Property Management LLC) stated, “You guys were amazing! I received step by step instructions on how to complete the application. At times it felt overwhelming but because of your assistance, I was able to finish successfully.  Thank you so much. There is no way I would have finished without your help.”  Steve Headley (KGH Investments) added, “I would use again if going through the registration process."

Meanwhile, FEMA’s Villagrana was satisfied with the work completed by Arkansas APEX Accelerator and shared, “Savanna and Tim did a great job and we were surprised at how quickly things were taken care of.”

Arkansas APEX Accelerator would like to thank FEMA and our clients for allowing us the opportunity to assist you with the important work you all are doing for Arkansas in a tragic time and congratulate you on your awards!

For assistance with SAM and/or other no-fee services offered by the Arkansas APEX Accelerator or to learn more about our services, please reach out to us at