Angela O’Byrne, owner of New Orleans-based construction firm Perez APC was the runner-up for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Perez provides design and construction services and specializes in housing, government, education, recreation, hospitality and health care facilities. The company has more than 50 employees and 15 branch locations in the U.S. and Afghanistan. O’Byrne acquired 100 percent ownership of the firm in 2000.

“Despite losing 23 of 25 contracts as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, O’Byrne never lost her determination,” according to the SBA. “She took a disaster recovery loan from the SBA and patiently awaited the return of paying projects that would allow the firm to thrive again. Her perseverance paid off in 2006 with a large number of new contracts.”

The Perez team has won multimillion-dollar federal contracts from Germany to the Caribbean to North Africa.