SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan tonight announced the winners of the Governor’s 2002 Small Business Awards, celebrating the success of Illinois small business owners, entrepreneurs and advocates, and the important contributions they make to the Illinois economy.
“This is the third year in which we have recognized our state's outstanding entrepreneurs with these special awards," the Governor said. "Tonight's winners are small business owners and advocates who have achieved success in their work while contributing to their communities. As a former small business owner, I know the challenges they have conquered and appreciate their achievements."
The awards were presented at the Governor's 2002 Small Business Awards Banquet, held in Springfield in conjunction with the Governor's 2002 Small Business Conference. Pam McDonough, Director of the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), which administers the state's small business programs, said the winners were nominated based on their unwavering dedication, commitment to
excellence, innovative business approaches and superior work standards.
"Small businesses are the foundation of the Illinois economy," McDonough said. "Highlighting the success achieved by these winners is a great way to encourage other Illinois entrepreneurs to continue striving toward their goals."
Awards were presented recognizing 10 people as Small Business Person of the Year, two winners as Women’s Business Advocate of the Year, two people as Minority Business Advocate of the Year, two winners of the Entrepreneurial Success Award, and two people as Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Governor's Small Business Awards Program is designed to complement an awards program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Through an agreement between DCCA and the SBA, all Illinois award winners are automatically sent to the SBA to be considered for its awards.
For more information about programs and services available to assist Illinois businesses through DCCA's Small Business Office, contact the First Stop Business Information Center at 800/252-2923 (TDD: 800/785-6055).
A list of winners and information about their accomplishments is attached.
Winners: Small Business Person of the Year
Butterfield Bodyworks CARSTAR
Jeanne Silver started Butterfield Bodyworks CARSTAR, a full service collision repair company, in 1996. Today, the company is rated among the top 1 percent the industry; in fact, last year, Butterfield Bodyworks reported over $2 million in annual sales. Ms. Silver has been a participating member of the Collision Industry Conference, which enabled her to contribute in creating standards for the collision repair industry, and she was recently appointed to the board of the National Autobody Council. Jeanne Silver actively participates in community-oriented projects and volunteers her time to organize committees for fund-raising activities. Ms. Silver was nominated by B. Dwight Houchins, President of the Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills (GLMV) Area Chamber of Commerce.
Elegante Salons & Day Spas
Kay Smith started her business, Elegante Salons & Day Spas, a full-service salon and spa, in 1972. Since then, she has continued to expand and relocate to provide better amenities, facilities and greater conveniences for both her customers and employees. Currently, Elegante Salons operates three salons in the Naperville area with a day spa at each location. Ms. Smith has been an active member of Cosmetology Chicago, the Illinois Cosmetology Association, and the National Cosmetology Association, and has provided hours of support and financial donations for a number of local fund raising activities in the Naperville community. Last year, the Naperville Chamber of Commerce recognized Ms. Smith’s achievements by presenting her with its Small Business Person of the Year Award. Ms. Silver was nominated by Jennifer Gates, Vice President of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce.
H & H Industries, Inc.
Al Howerton’s company, H & H Industries, has become a leader in the specialty lighting industry, providing standard lighting fixtures, lighting for Hollywood movie sets, traffic signal lights for large metropolitan areas, and beacon lights for radio and television towers. The firm, located in Elmwood, is the community's largest employer, with 235 workers and annual sales of $7.5 million. In addition to his work with H & H Industries, Mr. Howerton has supported Elmwood’s economic development efforts by purchasing a local hardware store, opening a paint store, and hiring local high school students, helping them gain working experience. Mr. Howerton was nominated by Kenneth R. Klotz, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Bradley University.
Troy Shults, Delbert Shults, Loyd Shults, and Brian Shults
Shults Machine, Inc.
Shults Machine, Inc., a subcontract machine shop that supplies precision machine parts to manufacturing firms across the country, focuses on the Midwest, particularly Illinois manufacturers. Over the last three years, the tenacity of its owners -- Troy, Delbert, Loyd and Brian Shults -- has helped the company reach nearly $1 million in sales and provide employment opportunities in Pope County, which posts one of the state's highest unemployment rates. These qualities also are seen the Schultses willingness to support the community and surrounding area by volunteering their time to various activities. The Shultses were nominated by Becky Williams, director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Illinois College.
Mr. Richard Labriola
Labriola Baking Company
As owner and operator of Labriola Baking Company, which he started in 1993, Richard Labriola’s mission has been to raise the standard for fresh bread in the Chicago area by providing customers with great tasting, quality breads at reasonable prices, while generating a net profit that ensures a bright future for the company and its employees. He has succeeded -- last year, the bakery employed 60 people and reported a 40 percent increase in sales over the previous year. Mr. Labriola’s customer base now includes more than 200 high-end restaurants, hotels and other service businesses in the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Mr. Labriola was nominated by Hilary Burkinshaw, Director of the Governors State University Small Business Development Center.
Mr. Michael Doucleff
Michael Doucleff has worked hard to build a loyal clientele for his business and support his community – qualities that earned him a nomination for the Governor’s 2002 Small Business Person of the Year. Family-owned Duke Bakery recently celebrated its 50th year as a full-line, retail bakery. Mr. Doucleff’s strong commitment to both the business and his family is seen in its success -- Duke Bakery has received the RBGA Small Business of the Month Award, the Small Business of the Year Award, and the Family Business of the Year Award from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Mr. Doucleff also is a community leader who actively contributes to various organizations. Michael Doucleff was nominated for Small Business Person of the Year by Amy S. Lupercio, Planning Coordinator, City of Alton.
Baldwin Manufacturing, Inc.
Michael Woley’s company, Baldwin Manufacturing, manufactures custom skids for Navistar (formerly International Harvester) that are used both domestically and internationally in the transport of truck engines. In 1994, when he acquired the business, its facility had 16,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Today, it has expanded to 24,000 square feet, upgraded outdated equipment, and now employs 14 people, retaining an existing business and providing much needed jobs in the Hamilton County area. Mr. Woley also is an active member of the community and works with a number of associations to offer his support. Michael Woley was nominated as Small Business Person of the Year by Becky Williams, director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Illinois College.
Winners: Minority Business Advocate of the Year
Office Services Unlimited
Jewel Mandeville served for several years as the Vice President of CAN Insurance Company, specializing in service to small business customers. For the past three years, she has supported the growth of minority small business entrepreneurs through her company, Office Services Unlimited, which provides professional, hands-on, comprehensive and diverse assistance to help people start their own businesses. Jewel Mandeville was nominated for Minority Small Business Advocate by Geoffrey Barnes, Small Business Development Center Coordinator, Triton College.
E. Stephen Sims
Vice President and Managing Director
Northern Trust Company
As Vice President of the Northern Trust Company, E. Stephen Sims is responsible for development of the bank’s presence in communities on the south side of Chicago. During the past several years, his efforts have been recognized by numerous community and small business organizations, including the Minority Enterprise Development Council, which awarded him its 2001 Service and Support Award. He also received the 1999 Association for the Improvement of Minorities Award for furthering education, small business and exemplary community service. Mr. Sims was nominated by Hilary Burkinshaw, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Governor’s State University.
Winners: Women Business Advocate of the Year
Ms. Rita Kapur
President and CEO
Clean World Engineering, Ltd.
Rita Kapur’s personal mission to clean up the environment led her to start Clean World Engineering, Ltd., a full-range environmental services business that addresses issues involving hazardous materials. The company, which has grown from four founding partners to 45 professional and administrative employees, today is a multi-service environmental firm serving clients that range in size from small entities to Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Kapur is an active member of the Chicago Area Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and has served on its Nominating and Corporate Development committees and its Advisory Board. In October 2000, Ms. Kapur received the 2000 Influential Women In Business Award from the DuPage County Business Ledger, and the US General Services Administration named her its August 2001 Contractor of the Month. Ms. Kapur was nominated by Ellen Bailey Dickson, president of the Chicago Area Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Mr. Joseph A. Gregoire
National City Bank of Illinois/Michigan
Oak Brook, Illinois
As Regional President for National City Bank of Illinois/Michigan, Joseph Gregoire personifies National City’s culture of service and support to women-owned businesses at various stages of development – a culture evidenced by the bank’s establishment in December 2000 of a five-year, $1.5 billion commercial loan goal to help bolster women entrepreneurs. Mr. Gregoire also has been instrumental in supporting ATHENA PowerLink, a mentoring program that pairs qualified women entrepreneurs with customized advisory boards made up of business experts who volunteer their time and assistance over a one-year period. Mr. Gregoire was nominated for Governor’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year by Jerry Roper, President of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.
Winners: Entrepreneurial Success Award
Mr. Paul Schuytema
Gold Creek Technology, L.L.C.
Paul Schuytema’s company, Gold Creek Technology, L.L.C., a leading-edge technology software development company, produces both entertainment and training/simulation products for the PC and Xbox, and recently landed a contract to produce the Survivor Interactive Game. He also helped found the Patton Block Center, an innovative technology incubator designed specifically for new companies in computer entertainment and related fields. Located in west central Illinois, the Center offers venture capital, high-speed Internet access, very low business costs, access to training and education, and prime office space in a renovated historic site. Mr. Schuytema also has made significant contributions to the community that include offering internships to local college students, actively engaging in the Monmouth Technology Initiative, offering local tours of the technology incubator and starting a free computer education center staffed by an AmeriCorps volunteer. Mr. Schuytema was nominated for the Entrepreneurial Success Award by Kimberly S. Pierce, director of the Western Illinois Corridor Council.
Seattle Sutton, R.N., B.S.N.
Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating
Ms. Sutton started her business, Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, in 1985 with a $1,000 investment. Today, her simple idea of cooking healthy food for people who choose not to cook for themselves has turned into a multi-million dollar business with approximately 100 employees, seven refrigerated trucks, 64 distributors and thousands of clients. Last year, her company undertook a $2.3 million expansion, and she recently sold its first franchise. Ms. Sutton says of her company, “We are the leader in home meal replacement (HMR). That is where the food industry is heading.” Ms. Sutton was nominated for the Entrepreneurial Success Award by Vivian Crose, Administrative Assistant, City of Morris.
Winners: Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Mr. Todd Clemens & Mr. Ben Weinberger
Todd Clemens and Ben Weinberger created Digitalsmiths, Inc. when they were college freshmen at Southern Illinois University. The pair developed Digitalsmiths as a way to provide products and services to customers building an Internet presence and marketing strategies. Sales have grown from $2,000 in 1998 to $185,000 in 2001. Despite the recent downturn in the dot-com industry, Digitalsmiths has continued to stay on course with its business plan, managing to grow while remaining debt free. Mr. Clemens and Mr. Weinberger were nominated for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Emily Carter, assistant director of the Southern Illinois University Small Business Development Center.