The 22nd Annual Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards Showcase Local Business Success

On Thursday, March 3 Greater Lansing Business Monthly hosted the 22nd Annual Entrepreneurial Awards at Eagle Eye Golf Course. Community members, business leaders, entrepreneurs and supporters were among the many that attended this year’s event.

Mingling in the crowd were many eager individuals excited for the evening to unfold. Exchanges of greetings, shaking of hands, congratulations to nominees and nervous laughter and smiles led up to the awards ceremony.

“This is one of my favorite nights of the year.” Tiffany Dowling, president and CEO of M3 Group and publisher of Greater Lansing Business Monthly, said to the crowd during the awards. “It is my privilege to have an opportunity to showcase the amazing individuals taking risks every day and building businesses that grow our local economy.”

Each year, judges are presented with nominated business profiles, narratives and financial information to choose a winner in five categories. Qualifying nominees were presented to the judges to find a recipient for Emerging Entrepreneur, Socially Responsible Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Entrepreneur of the Year and Greater Lansing Business of the Year.

“Just seeing some of the nominees … I know the decision could not have been easy,” added co-host April Clobes, president and CEO of MSU Federal Credit Union. “It takes businesses of all shapes and sizes to create a robust economy and that would not be possible without our entrepreneurs.”

The elimination of some categories was a change that Dowling made in 2013 with the intention of casting a wider net and seeking honorees that truly qualify for each award, no matter the industry they were in.

An addition to the program this year was Paul Jaques, the director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations. He touched on the many organizations in the community that are focused on building a culture
of entrepreneurship.

Tim Suprise, founder and president of Arcadia Brewing Company, was the guest speaker for this year’s awards program. Before establishing Arcadia Brewing Company, Suprise worked five years in law enforcement before a 10-year career in the paper industry, which eventually led him and his family to Kalamazoo, Mich. After traveling throughout the U.S. and overseas to the world’s paper mills, he found his passion for locally made beers. In 1996, he left his job to establish Arcadia Brewing Company in Battle Creek, Mich., and then in 2014, he opened the Kalamazoo Riverfront Brewery, Pub & Kitchen in Kalamazoo, Mich. Suprise plans to open a new location in Lansing as early as August 2016.

Among the speakers for the night was Bruce Dunn of Maner Costerisan who spoke as a representative for the judges. This year’s judges consisted of Bruce Dunn of Maner Costerisan, Mike Maddox of ASK, James Anderton of Loomis Law Firm, Melody Warzecha of Union Bank, Jeff Jackson of MSU Federal Credit Union, Debbie Petersmark of WILX TV 10, Chris Thelen of Consumers Energy, Jeff Kresnak of Lansing Asphalt and Ian Richardson of Doberman Technologies. The final decisions of the winners were made during a special judges meeting.
This year Greater Lansing Business Monthly was proud to honor the following:

Entrepreneur of the Year
Pat Gillespie, Gillespie Group

Greater Lansing Business of the Year
Tom Kuschinski, Nick Uppal, Colin Cronin and Raji Uppal, DTN Management Co.

Emerging Entrepreneur
Jeffrey McWherter, Gravity Works Design

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Kellie Murphy, Kellie’s Consignments

Socially Responsible Entrepreneur
Keith Granger, Granger

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes and with unique missions and selling propositions. The one thing every small business has in common is that it continues to be the lifeblood of the economy. The greater Lansing region is home to amazing companies with the spirit and drive to make a big impact.

As the evening came to a close, many past honorees offered their congratulations to the newly admitted GLBM entrepreneurial winners. It is with the support of the community, these honorees will continue their success and go on to do great things.

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