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 participate in nominating business that have contributed significantly to the state’s economy and community. Criteria include business economic impact, industry advocacy, previous awards, and community service.

Mr. Mack Payne, owner of Payne Motors, Real Estate, Rental and Construction, Cumberland Plaza and Payne Real Estate & Investments was awarded the Veteran of the Year. Mr. Payne employs seven people, 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 quote captures his approach to business: “I have never lost any money in business, but I have gotten some expensive education.” Over 47 years, Mr. Payne has established and managed various businesses. Educationally, Mr. Payne earned degrees from Southwest Community College and Bluefield University, supported by the GI Bill.

Mr. 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.