The Richmond Register

February 27, 2014

Director of small business development center dies

Register Staff Report

RICHMOND — Michael Rodriguez, a man at least partially responsible for more than 30 new businesses opening in a 15-county region, will be sorely missed by his coworkers and clients alike, according to the staff of the Small Business Development Center at Eastern Kentucky University.

Rodriguez, 47, died Tuesday of complications involving a blood clot that developed in his lungs.

He leaves behind a wife and young son, according to EKU spokesman Marc Whitt.

As director of the SBDC, Rodriguez assisted several small businesses in setting and meeting long-term goals. He also assisted with the start up of several more, said Ian Mooers, director of the university’s Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology.

In a December interview, Rodriguez said he was very passionate about what he does, and his work schedule is constantly filled as he tried to make time for as many clients as possible.

Using his advice, Rodriguez’s clients were able to obtain loans, adopt effective marketing strategies and ultimately grow.

Rodriguez’s Madison County clients include Jackson’s Restaurant, D&M Contracting, Dazzling Dogs Pet Spa and In-Range Archery, which opened in 2013.

For the past two years, Rodriguez received awards for being the most productive SBDC director in the state, according to a message on the CBDC website announcing his death.

His efforts were instrumental in helping future business men and women begin their new ventures, assisting existing businesses to become more successful, and improving economic development throughout the 15 counties served by the EKU SBDC from its offices in Richmond and Somerset,” the message added.

In addition to being an adviser to business owners, Rodriguez spent much of his spare time facilitating communication between his clients and the public. He wrote and produced a newsletter in which a client’s success story was featured each month. He also partnered with students in the College of Business and Technology to conduct research in strategies for client businesses.

The research projects allowed students to get experience with real businesses, while the information they produced, in many cases, was more in-depth than he could have accomplished alone, he said in the December interview.

A prayer service for Rodriguez is scheduled 7 p.m. today at the Taul Funeral Home in Mount Sterling, the announcement stated. His funeral is scheduled 10 a.m. Saturday.