Karen Bradshaw, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Small Business Development Center, was honored this week for her more than 30 years of service to Southwest Missouri business owners. The recognition came during the MOSO Monday event hosted by the Robert W. Plaster School of Business at Missouri Southern State University.

Michael McWhorter, lead lender relations specialist from the Small Business Administration’s district office in Kansas City, and Lisa Zimmerman, lender relations specialist from the SBA Springfield branch office, were in attendance. They presented Bradshaw with a plaque and read a letter of gratitude from Region VII SBA Regional Administrator Tom Salisbury.

Also in attendance was Greg Tucker, state director of the Missouri Small Business Development Centers. He presented Bradshaw with a crystal award to celebrate her service and dedication.

The recognition comes as Bradshaw prepares to retire at the end of the year.

“It’s been very rewarding over the years,” Bradshaw says. “It’s nice to help people to where they’ve actually gotten to do what they really wanted to do in life, and that’s an exciting thing to be part of.”

Over the last 30 years, Bradshaw says she has witnessed the development and expansion of entrepreneurship.

“It’s a much more competitive environment, and the Internet has changed things a great deal.”

As she prepares for retirement, Bradshaw reflects on what she’s learned during her time with the Missouri SBDC and MSSU. She encourages new employees and small business owners to always listen to the people around them and learn from what they have to say.

“Successful business is about the perception of the customer,” she says.