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CEO mentors, encourages small business owners

Posted on July 22, 2019

Government Supply Services celebrates 10-year anniversary

By Tia Lyons
Staff Writer

Thirty percent of small-business owners build operations that succeed for a decade or more. Gregory Modica, president and chief executive officer of Government Supply Services LLC, recently became a proud member of the 30 percent.

On July 8, Modica celebrated the 10-year anniversary of GSS, an Internet-based company that specializes in office, technology, janitorial, industrial supplies and equipment.

A U.S. Army veteran with college degrees in criminal justice and aviation science, Modica has developed a passion for mentoring veterans and entrepreneurs in underserved communities.

Modica has homed in on three focus areas that he believes can help entrepreneurs compete in an ever-changing marketplace and manage all of the rigors that come with small-business ownership.


Much of GSS’s business comes from contracts with federal, state and commercial business entities, including veterans’ hospitals, colleges and universities and government agencies.

Delivering the same — or a better — level of service as larger businesses is one of the stiffest challenges Modica faces as a small business owner with fewer employees and resources.

“I’ll have to do it with technology,” he explained.

After researching companies that concentrate on information technology and business management software, Modica settled with the Zoho Corporation, a California-based, Indian software development company.

With the tools and services provided by Zoho, Modica has streamlined his business and accounting software into a single platform on which they can interface with each other.

Because of this, Modica has drastically reduced annual accounting costs for is company from $25,000 to $7,000.

“Those savings will allow me to hire another person and create a new revenue stream,” Modica said. “Technology is a driving factor to help small businesses compete. It’s not only affecting large corporations, but also small businesses and we have to keep up.”



Another helpful piece of advice Modica has for entrepreneurs is political involvement.

Modica regularly keeps in touch with lawmakers who represent El Dorado and South Arkansas.

“When you become more visible, you have to become more political too,” he said.

He keeps his finger on the pulse of existing, proposed and pending legislation and policies that could affect small business opportunities, particularly for minorities and veterans.

Modica has reached out to the Arkansas Office of State Procurement, State Legislature and Secretary of State about issues that pertain to small businesses.

“Write them. Find out what initiatives they have in support of small businesses,” he said. “I call them and talk to them, especially my local politicians, so I can see if their interests align with what my interests are. Then, I choose the best candidate, whether they’re a Republican or Democrat.”

Modica has worked with state agencies, including the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, to utilize free services and business development programs and to form diversity partnerships with larger businesses and corporations.

Those efforts have opened the way for GSS to team up with Staples Inc. and Grainger Inc., both Fortune 500 companies.

Such programs can benefit large and small businesses by helping them tap into markets they may not otherwise reach, Modica explained.

“Our customers are diverse, so our vendors have to be diverse in order to answer that demand,” he said “We need to keep up with that as small businesses. Most agencies have a diversity component.”

To further boost GSS’s business profile and eligibility for diversity partnerships, Modica has engaged in a number of professional development and certification programs.

GSS is a certified Minority Business Enterprise; a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business; a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; a Small Business Administration Historically Underutilized Business Zone (GSS’s Little Rock office); an AbilityOne business; and a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Modica is also a graduate of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Arkansas program; the International Economic Development Council’s Basic Economic Developers course; and the inaugural class of the Arkansas Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders course.

Community service

and professional


Owning and operating a small business also involves a large measure of community service, Modica advised.

As a member of the executive and advisory boards of the El Dorado-Union County (Arkansas) Chamber of Commerce, Modica said it is important for civic leaders to foster a culture of support for entrepreneurs and to understand how small businesses contribute to the economic vitality of El Dorado.

“I’ve taken a very active role in economic development, learning what it takes to bring a business to town, what incentives the Arkansas Economic Development Commission offers and how to follow up on the local level,” he said.

To that end, Modica agreed to take a seat on the board of FORGE, the oldest loan fund in Arkansas whose mission is to promote community development and economic sustainability by linking investors with borrowers; urban and rural communities; consumers with producers; and low-income groups with basic, affordable credit.

“It helps people who are not able to get SBA (-backed) loans or a traditional bank loan,” Modica said. “We can train you, teach you about finances and we can loan up to $50,000.”

With his position on the FORGE Board of Directors, Modica said he can help steer entrepreneurs in South Arkansas toward an alternative lending source.

He also served two terms on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Advisory Council.

In that capacity, Modica was invited in May to sit on a panel for the 2019 Arkansas Rural Development Conference, which was held in Monticello, Arkansas.

The panel discussion focused on minority- and women-owned businesses and was an extension of an ongoing study by Winrock International of Little Rock to identify challenges and obstructions for small businesses in rural communities, including El Dorado.

Modica said business owners should seize opportunities to network and build business relationships.

Attending procurement shows and business matchmaking events are ways entrepreneurs can exchange information and develop professional contacts.

He cautioned entrepreneurs against using such events as a way “to get business.”

“That’s where you network and showcase your products,” Modica said. “I tell them to say they’re going to network with each other to create mutually beneficial opportunities and form strategic alliances so we can share ideas to give back to the community.”

That mindset is the guiding principle behind the success of GSS.

“I’m not doing this just for my company but also because I need other businesses to participate,” Modica said.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or