The 21st Annual Entrepreneurial Awards Celebrate the Successes of Local Businesses
Among the exchange of greetings, shaking hands, congratulations and camaraderie, there were some anticipating whispers, nervous smiles and eager individuals in the crowd.
“Looking at these nominees I cannot help but to be proud of our community,” Tiffany Dowling of M3 Group said to the crowd during the awards. “I do not envy the decision that the judges had to make this year,” added co-host April Clobes of MSU Federal Credit Union. Every year, the judges are presented with a binder full of business profiles, narratives and financial information and are asked to choose a winner for five broad business categories. This year, the binder was presented with this year’s nine qualifying nominees to find a recipient for Emerging Entrepreneur, Socially Responsible Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Entrepreneur of the Year and Greater Lansing Business of the Year.
“I would like to mention to our past honorees and those who nominate businesses in the community, that with the elimination of the industry categories, this allows businesses to be reviewed again in the new all-business focus categories,” explained Dowling. The elimination of some categories was a change that Dowling made in 2013 after purchasing the publication. The alteration was intended to cast a wider net, seeking honorees that truly exemplified the qualities of each award — no matter what field or industry they were in.
Another addition to the program was guest speaker Tom Anastos, who shared his personal business experience and success. Anastos is an entrepreneur at heart whose innate business sense has served him well in all aspects of his professional career. A 1987 graduate of MSU with a B.S. degree in Construction Management, Anastos now owns Suburban Sports Group, LLC, which has more than 400 employees and specializes in recreational ice arena development, consulting and the management of municipal and privately-held ice arenas.
Carrie Hindmon of Andrews Hooper Pavlik, Debbie Petersmark of WILX TV 10, Bruce Dunn of Maner Costerisan, Jeff Jackson of MSU Federal Credit Union, Chris Nugent of Horizon Bank and John Shaski of Sparrow Health Systems were up to the task. After nominations were collected, the judges spent time independently and collectively reviewing the material submitted by our nominees. During a special judges’ meeting, the final decisions were made.
This year, the Greater Lansing Business Monthly was proud to honor the following:
- Entrepreneur of the Year – Ron Boji, Boji Group
- Greater Lansing Business of the Year – Jeff Kresnak, Superior Asphalt
- Entrepreneurial Spirit – Mike Maddox, ASK
- Emerging Entrepreneur – Ian Richardson, Doberman Technologies
- Socially Responsible Entrepreneur – Don McNabb, Triterra
The community needs risk takers and go-getters. The vitality and growth of our region depends on the creation and success of local business start ups. “It takes many businesses of all shapes and sizes to create a robust economy,” Clobes said, “and that would not be possible without our entrepreneurs.”
Society prospers from new businesses that drive the economy and provide good jobs. Society would suffer without new businesses to solve local problems and create a culture of innovation. Even existing businesses gain from them with new customers, clients, suppliers and new competition. Entrepreneurs are in high demand.
As the night came to a close, many past honorees offered their congratulations to the newly admitted GLBM entrepreneurial winners. Last year’s honorees, Ryan Lowe and Nikali Luke, 2013 winner Jack Davis, the Eyde family and 2001 awardee Bo Garcia were among those who came to support their fellow entrepreneurs. It is with the support of the community that these honorees will continue their success.