As a senior executive in the federal government, Owens was appointed by the President of the United States as the fifth National Ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also served as the SBA’s Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness. Regulatory reform is an integral part of the Administration’s energy, financial services and small business agenda.
Mr. Owens’ responsibilities included leading the national effort on behalf of the nation’s business community to ensure fairness in the enforcement of federal regulations, government guaranteed loans, and initiatives to diminish disputes between small business and federal regulatory agencies. The National Ombudsman’s office works closely with more than 40 federal departments and regulatory agencies to resolve complaints about excessive enforcement of federal regulations during hearings held in cities nationwide. As the National Ombudsman, Mr. Owens had a successful record in navigating the federal bureaucracy and resolving unfair or excessive regulatory enforcement actions, government contracting disputes, and SBA guaranteed lending concerns.
Mr. Owens is a recognized speaker having addressed national organizations including the US Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, and National Association of Manufacturers. Internationally, he has supported regulatory reform initiatives in the United Kingdom, and several countries across the globe. He has been recognized for his service to America’s businesses in publications, including: Inc., Forbes, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.
He maintains extensive experience in financial services regulation. Before joining the SBA, Mr. Owens served five years as the special assistant to the chairman and director of external affairs at the National Credit Union Administration. He understands first-hand the regulatory challenges faced by the financial services industry. In the position, he served as a senior advisor on communications, congressional, and regulatory policy matters for the NCUA Board. Mr. Owens is a senior advisor to Ian Reid, LLC, a Washington, DC-based advisory firm for companies and investment institutions founded by former Clinton Administration official Jarvis Stewart.
A native of Mississippi, Mr. Owens began as a young entrepreneur in the media business, eventually leading him in 1996 to found Nicomm Group, a public affairs, communications, and government relations firm. An ABC television special featured Owens as a “Great Mississippian for The Next Generation”. His clients included national healthcare companies, Internet Technology companies, and financial institutions. In 2000, he was named vice president of sales and marketing for Nashville-based Healthcare Technology Solutions Corporation.
Before joining the Administration in 2001, Mr. Owens served in the policy division of the Presidential Transition Team. He became politically active in 1988, where he served as a coordinator for former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s first Senate campaign. He has also worked on the campaigns of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, as well as the Governor of his native state, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.