(The voting period is now closed.)
Award winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony concluding the StreetWise Summit on September 12, 2017.
Interise is pleased to recognize our outstanding alumni business owners in the following categories:
Small Business Awards:
Impact Award: For an Interise alumni business owner who has demonstrated significant impact through the growth of his/her business and engagement in his/her community.
TAROLYN BUCKLES | PRESIDENT & CEO, ONYX ENTERPRISE, INC.
- USDOT Women Impacting the Nation in Transportation Honor in 2016
- Onyx signature projects are M-1 Rail, I-94 Bridge Municipal Utility design, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Technical Advisor, Great Lakes Water Authority Wastewater Master Plan, Wayne County Airport Berry Terminal Demolition - QA/QC Manager, and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Hydraulic Modeling Projects
- Onyx has experienced consistent growth each year with an increase in staff from 4 to 7 employees and 50% increase in net profits each year and is an alumni of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business prestigious program, and the SBA Emerging Leaders.
HOLLY CARTER | CEO, CARTER & CO. COMMUNICATIONSCarter & Co. Communications (Carter) has increased its staff 25% each year enabling the opening of a second division, Carter & Co Ag Communications. As the only woman owned Ag Communications Firm in the U.S., Carter equips the farming industry to communicate effectively with policy makers by giving farmers a cohesive voice using unique messaging strategies like the social media network “My Job Depends on Ag".
Carter mentors college students who travel from across the country to participate in a competitive 15-week public affairs internship each semester. Committed to community, Carter collaborates with the FBI as a member of InfraGuard to maintain security to our nation’s critical infrastructure. With a heart for service, the Carter team represented a group of 70,000 citizens (pro bono) after discovering they had been receiving contaminated drinking water for over a decade despite their pleas for help. The founder’s own personal battle with stage 4 cancer inspires the company’s involvement with non-profit, Face of Cancer, which tells the story of women terminally ill with cancer while reuniting them with their sense of femininity.
PHILLIP WALKER | CEO, NETWORK SOLUTIONS PROVIDER
- Named 2017 IT Service Partner of the Year, Los Angeles Business Journal.
- Named Top 500 MSP and Solutions Provider CRN magazine.
- Named To CRN Tech Elite 250 CRN magazine.
- Launched 3 IT solutions that lower cost for clients but improve business value and ROI.
CHRISTINE LANNING | PRESIDENT, INTEGRATED SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES, INC.Every employee in sales or a management role is required to join a professional or community organization of their choice. Serving on a board is a bonus and time is given to fully participate and contribute. IST has also engaged several nonprofit organizations including the taking part in the annual Diabetes Ride, volunteering at the Hawaii Humane Society, and supporting trick or treating in their neighborhood. In total IST supports over 15 professional and community associations and it shows in their positive growth over the last three years, reaching on average 32% increase in sales each year for the past three years.
KIRSTEN CURRY | PRESIDENT & OWNER, LEADING RETIREMENT SOLUTIONS
- Leading Retirement Solutions conducted a pioneering, nationwide study to understand the retirement preparedness of women business owners, a growing demographic not previously studied by the financial and retirement plan industries. Our study concluded that women business owners are more prepared for a financially secure retirement than females in general, although they face several unique challenges.
- Leading Retirement Solutions has supported over 300 women business owners and leaders, who account for a mere 16% of traditional bank loan proceeds, secure the business financing they need to launch a new business venture or take over an existing enterprise.
- In 2016, Leading Retirement Solutions became one of the rare women-owned companies, less than 2% of women-owned companies in the nation, that has exceeded $1 million in annual revenues.
JAY JANI, Ph.D., P.E. | PRESIDENT & CEO, ENGINEERING CONSULTING SERVICES, INC.Engineering Consulting Services, Inc. (ECS) a full service growing Architectural & Engineering (A&E) firm, headquartered in Greater New Orleans. Jay Jani, Ph.D., P.E. founded the company in year 2000, in the state of Louisiana. Dr. Jani has over thirty-two (32+) years of Structural Engineering design experience in Civil and Marine Engineering Industries. In recent years, ECS has successfully won several Federal, State, and Private contracts in A&E field. ECS has hired seven (7) new employees on its payroll in multiple states, including two college students as summer interns within the past year. ECS has also partnered with large national federal A&E Prime contractors.
Contributions, Leadership, and Engagement in the Community:
- Dr. Jani served as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-SEI), Chairman New Orleans Chapter (2008-2009). He continues to serve on the ASCE-SEI Executive Committee since 1996. Dr. Jani also served as an Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of New Orleans. Courses Taught: Mechanics of Materials, Statics, (2000-2001)
- - Dr. Jani is a recipient of Asian American Pacific Society (APAS), New Orleans, “Frank Hara Community Excellence Award”, 2009
Best Place to Work Award: Do you employ, or work for, the greatest company on earth? This award celebrates a company that celebrates its team.
CHRISTINE LANTINEN | CEO, MAUD BORUPWith a focus on sustainable, renewable processes and products as well as healthy food choices, Maud Borup, a woman-owned, veteran-owned gourmet confections and food gift company, is recognized as an innovator, developing >150 new products each year including an industry first with a “Better For You” line of baking mixes that do not include any trans fats, hydrogenated oils, MSG, artificial color or artificial flavor while maintaining great taste and texture.
With a commitment to sustainability, a 100’ wind turbine was installed to power the manufacturing facility, 30+ processes were identified to reuse, recycle and upcycle everything possible, geothermal heat is used, desk and counter tops are made from recycled materials, and rainwater is collected for landscaping. Maud Borup also developed and holds the patent for eco eggs®, the only 100% renewable, plant-based plastic Easter eggs on the market. www.maudborup.com www.ecoeggs.com
CHRISTINE LANNING | PRESIDENT, INTEGRATED SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
- Christine has created a Best Places to Work environment at her company that includes trust, making employees feel valued, helping employees grow, and ultimately creating a more engaged team.
- Christine started a Women in Security group and helped start a disadvantaged business group in order to develop networking opportunities and create a supportive environment for women and monitories.
- Christine has spoken to students on many occasions about leadership, women in STEM, and employment opportunities for women.
DIANA AMBAUEN-MEADE | PRESIDENT & CEO, SCRATCH & PECK FEEDSScratch and Peck Feeds makes food for animals – food you can trust was made with heartfelt regard for our planet and fellow living creatures. Rooted in a strong team culture and deep appreciation for animals and planet, the Scratch and Peck workplace includes a robust list of traditional and unique benefits – from health, vision, dental, PTO and retirement for all employees to team gatherings, an animal-friendly office, and a subsidized CSA (fresh produce) program offered throughout the year. We love what we do, the change we are creating in the world, and the team environment we share.
RICHARD GRUNDY | PRESIDENT, AVTECH SOFTWARE, INC.After almost 30 successful years in business, and with customers in 184 countries world-wide, we recognize that we depend on every member of our team for the continued success of our products and services that keep customers coming back year after year. We value each employee by providing significant benefits; health and dental coverage for all employees and their families, funded 100% by AVTECH including an HRA to offset deductible costs; long term disability and life coverage, funded 100% by AVTECH; matching 401k plan; and casual dress and a friendly work environment in a beautifully restored 19th-century mill with a private office with a window for every employee. AVTECH's team represents the best and brightest individuals in their fields, and we strive to create an environment where each employee can see and be recognized for the success and business growth created through their continued efforts and contributions.
You can see more on our Careers video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIkf6LwDunw
Company to Watch Award: For an Interise alumni business owner of 2016 or 2017 who has already shown signs of growth because of changes made during his/her Interise program.
SEAN CASEY | PRESIDENT & OWNER, ROTORCORP LLC.Upon completing the Emerging Leaders program in fall of 2016, Rotorcorp experienced a 102% percent growth in revenues and 3% increase in margin for the fiscal year. By laser-focusing on our 3 year strategic growth plan, we expect to more than double revenues again within three years; rocketing Rotorcorp into the take off phase of business growth. We are already evaluating and prioritizing opportunities to incorporate in future extensions of our three year plan as each years' objectives are reached.
DIANA AMBAUEN-MEADE | PRESIDENT & CEO, SCRATCH & PECK FEEDSScratch and Peck Feeds is changing the way food is made at the start of the food chain – animal feed! We believe wholesome food begins local and shouldn’t be over processed. This is why we work with regional growers and never pelletize our feeds. We create raw, whole grain feeds that are Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Animal Welfare Approved. Demand for our quality products is recognized in our year-over-year growth, and we are pleased to have moved into a new facility designed for our needs. We are a B Corp company that uses business as a force for good, and our mission includes heartfelt regard for our planet and fellow living creatures. You are what your animals eat!
DENISE DAVIS | PRESIDENT & CEO, DAVIS UNLIMITED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES, INC.Davis Unlimited Information Technologies, Inc. (DUIT), an 8(a) and M/WBE certified company, has experienced unprecedented growth in less than one year after completing the SBA Interise Emerging Leaders Program and has expanded its business to provide IT services to both the Northern VA and the Washington DC markets. DUIT continues to increase the number of employees hired, profit margins and the company's annual revenue. Ms. Davis has achieved this growth by utilizing her current network, using social media to market DUIT's core services and expand that network. In 2016 alone, DUIT has received several awards including SBA Emerging CEO Program Class of 2016, Acquisition International Excellence Award for Most Outstanding Minority Woman- Owned Software Technology District of Columbia, Influential Business Woman Award Best Minority & Woman Owned SME Software & Technology District of Columbia and Corporate America Business Women Elite Award.
MICHELLE HUFF-ELLIOTT | CO-FOUNDER & PARTNER, STRATEGIC HEIGHTS MEDIA
- Two boutique public relations agencies (Simone Smalls PR and HUFF Events & PR with a combined 25 years business experience) merged just two years ago to form Strategic Heights Media (SHM). In just this short period of time, we have become a go-to agency for such clients as: Roland Martin, The American Black Film Festival, Comcast, TV One, WE tv, ASCAP and more!
- At SHM, we provide a 365-degree approach to our public relations and marketing strategies for clients. We survey the competition, as well as seek a void in the marketplace to make our client stand out and become noticeable to media, corporate partners and consumers.
- In just two years, SHM has expanded into three markets: New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore and have added five full time employees to our company roster. We are thankful to the SBA and Interise for allowing us to participate in their NYC program, which has taught us ways to grow and build our business.
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