For the past 28 years, the South Metro Denver Chamber has recognized small businesses for their outstanding entrepreneurial achievements. Small businesses are the driving force behind Colorado’s economy, accounting for over 95-percent of the state’s businesses.
Each year, the Chamber presents the Small Business Leadership Awards to honor companies that continue to excel and grow. The emphasis of the recognition is on leadership in keeping with the Chamber’s principle of Leadership in Motion.
• Small Business of the Year: Company with 5 to 250 employees (or equivalent FTEs), and in business five years or more.
• Emerging Business of the Year: Company with 5 or more employees (or equivalent FTEs) and in business one to four years.
• Community Leader of the Year: Individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Chamber and the South Metro Community at large. Those eligible include owners or employees of a business, non-profit or government agency.
Congratulations to our 2013 Small Business Leadership Award Winners:
Small Business of the Year – Footers Catering
This year’s winner stunned the Selection Committee during the tour of their business. One member of the selection committee was so impressed, that he asked the committee, “Did we just experience a Harvard Business Review case study, live and in person?”
Small Business of the Year, Footers Catering, was recognized in a category that awards companies in business for five years or more with five to 250 employees. The catering company is located in Denver and has been owned and operated by Anthony and April Lambatos since 2010. Footers Catering distinguishes itself with onsite field kitchens to allow staff to prepare food at the event, ensuring a restaurant quality experience. Each year Footers caters 600 events, feeding more than 56,000 guests annually. The company's devotion to staff development and work-place experience was also a big factor in being honored.
Emerging Business of the Year – Abby Senior Care
Abby Senior Care, Inc. was selected as the Emerging Business of the Year winner, an award that goes to companies with five or more employees and has been in business one to four years. The Englewood business was started in 2008 and provides non-medical home care services to seniors recovering from surgery or dealing with chronic illness.
According to owners Bobbie Mecalo and David Hoppe, their goal is to provide a unique homecare system that allows seniors to “age in place” on their own terms. The way they’ve achieved this commendable goal has been a remarkable combination of marketing and tech savvy skills, a supportive employee culture, and a focus on serving the community.
When asked what they say to friends and family about their new business, they passionately replied, “we take care of old people, let them stay in their home and it’s a cool thing to do.” They have a commitment to stay in Colorado and have already turned down an offer to franchise their business model.
Brian Vogt Community Leader of the Year – Jeff Wasden
Jeff Wasden became the latest recipient of the Brian R. Vogt Community Leader of the Year award named after former Chamber president and current Denver Botanic Gardens CEO Brian Vogt. Wasden has been an active leader on the Chamber’s board of directors as well as the organization’s public policy committee. He is a co-owner of PROformance Apparel in Littleton which provides apparel and uniforms for schools, government and private business. Wasden also has served on the Douglas County Tobacco Prevention and Advocacy Coalition and has volunteered for the Women’s Crisis Center and Violence Prevention Institute and has been an assistant coach for the Douglas County Soccer Association.“Wow,” said Wasden. “So honored to have been awarded the Community Leader of the Year. Quite an amazing honor and so many deserving candidates.”
2013 Nominating Committee:
Jean Barker, J. Barker and Associates, Chairperson
Theresa Mehringer, Burns, Figa & Will, PC
Wendy Nelson, Denver Scholarship Foundation and Vice Chair of the SBDC
Susan Rogers, thresholdHR
Cleve Wortham, FirstBank
Bret Yoder, CliftonLarsonAllen
Wendy Nelson, B2B CFO
Marcia McGilley, South Metro Denver Small Business Development Center
PREVIOUS SMALL BUSINESS LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS
2012 Small Business Leadership Awards Video
Small Business of the Year
2012 - Health Images
2011 - Ouray Sportswear
2010 - Blu Sky Restoration Contractors
2009 - Felsburg Holt & Ullevig
2008 - Designs by Sundown
2007 - South Denver Cardiology Associates
2006 - Floyd's 99 Barbershops
2005 - ETI Professionals, Inc., Susan Holland, President
2004 - Nest Fresh Eggs, Cyd Szymanski, CEO/Founder
2003 - e2M, Inc., Joe Merino, CEO & Michael Cassio, President
2002 - Arapahoe Acres, Wayne Anderson & Mike Gilsdorf
2001 - Red Bird Farms, Mareo Torito & Richard Knabel
2000 - Connect: The Knowledge Network, Maureen Clarry & Kelly Gilmore
1999 - AVID, LLC, Wayne & Renate Lumpkin
1998 - The Temporary Connection, Vicki & Joe Alfano
1997 - Swingle Tree Company, Tom Tolkacz
1996 - Gerber Systems, Curt Gerber
1995 - Rocky Mountain Desk Corporation, Bill Heringer
1994 - Cottrell Limited, Chuck Cottrell
1993 - MIACO, Shari Leigh
1992 - The Denver Salad Company, Ed Morton
1991 - Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods, Tony Rosacci
1990 - Mission Trujillo, John Trujillo
1989 - Benchmark Surveying, Dave DiFulvio
1988 - Arapahoe Acres, Carl Anderson
1987 - Alpine Trophies, Craig Bailey
1986 - Allred Fisher Architects, Jim Allred
1985 - Dawson & Company, John Dawson
Emerging Business of the Year
Brian Vogt Community Leader of the Year
2012 - Rick Jory, Sandhill Scientific
2011 - Gayle Dendinger, CAP Logistics/ICOSA
2010 - Karen Samuels-Jones, Perkins Coie LLP
2009 - Joseph A. “Bud” Ahearn, CH2M Hill
2008 - Mary Bradford, Bradford Auto Body
2007 - Darrell Schulte, Colorado Business Bank