The Santa Monica College (SMC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has announced that client James Cragg is the recipient of the first runner-up award for the national SBDC Client Success Story competition.

The competitive award was given to recognize superior service provided by SMC’s center and for Cragg’s achievements. There were more than 1,000 nominations by various Small Business Development Centers in the country.

Cragg’s customized military search-and-rescue clothing and gear firm, S.O. Tech, this year experienced sales growth of about 520 percent and increased its personnel by about 180 percent after Cragg was counseled by and took a marketing course at SMC’s Small Business Development Center.

Patricia Ramos, the center’s director, said counselor Diana Platt deserves particular credit for her assistance to Cragg.

The success story of Los Angeles-based S.O. Tech, which stands for Special Operations Technologies, has been one of the highlights of the SMC Small Business Development Center since it opened in January of 2006, a spokesman says.

Located at the Santa Monica Airport, the Small Business Development Center provides counseling, training and assistance for start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as established small and mid-sized business owners.