Following several decades of evening award presentations to the local business community, Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce partnered with Cornerstone Alliance this morning to host its first-ever Business Recognition Breakfast for 2016 to honor local businesses and business professionals for their exceptional accomplishments on several levels on the Napier Avenue Campus of Lake Michigan College.
A host of local businesses and business professionals were recognized by their colleagues at the joint event in the Grand Upton Hall of the Mendel Center for Arts and Technology at Lake Michigan College with more than 350 people in attendance. The event was sponsored by United Federal Credit Union, Kruggel Lawton CPAs, Edible Arrangements, Planet Fitness, Horizon Bank, Lake Michigan College, Slumberland Furniture, Hilton Garden Inn, and CooperBoettger, PLLC.
Christ Heugel is President of the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. He says, “The Chamber provides prosperity and success for its members. This morning we recognized the achievements the local businesses. We congratulate this year’s winners and applaud the impact they are making in Michigan’s Great Southwest.”
A number of awards were delivered to deserving businesses for their growth and expansion in the community including:
SILVER STAKE AWARD WINNERS
Silver Stake Award winners have either created 25 new jobs, or increased sales or unit volume by 25%, or expanded their facilities by 10%, or increased capital investment by at least $100,000. The Silver Stake recipients were:
- Prism Environmental Services
- B&L Information Systems
GOLD STAKE AWARD WINNERS
Gold Stake Award winners have either created 50 new jobs, increased sales or unit volume by 50%, expanded facilities by 25% or increased capital investment by at least $200,000. The Gold Stake recipients were:
· Pearson Construction Company
· LakeHouse Restaurant & Bar
PLATINUM STAKE AWARD WINNERS
Platinum Stake Award winners either created 100 new jobs, increased sales or unit volume by 100%, expanded facilities by 50%, or increased their capital investment by at least $300,000. The Platinum Stake recipients were:
- Williamson Employment
- Mid-West Family Broadcasting
- Abonmarche Consultants Inc
- Honor Credit Union
- United Federal Credit Union
- Elwood Staffing
- Wightman & Associates, Inc.
- Mosquito Squad of Southwest Michigan
- OnStaff USA
- Express Employment Professionals
ENTREPRENUER OF THE YEAR AWARD
The 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Manufacturing Sector) recognized Lindberg/MPH
Lindberg/MPH, a division of parent company Thermal Product Solutions, LLC supplies capital equipment to a diverse customer base representing automotive, aerospace, defense, materials processing, die casting, electronics, commercial heat treating, agriculture and transportation.
The company went through two acquisitions which strengthened the resources and offerings they provide to their customer base. And, no reductions in staff occurred during this time. Lindberg/MPH has partnered with Lake Michigan College and developed an on-site training curriculum for blueprint reading and welding skills to their staff.
Steve Kempowski, VP of Operations of Lindberg/MPH accepted the award.
ENTREPRENUER OF THE YEAR AWARD
The 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Commercial Sector) recognized Wightman & Associates, Inc.
For almost 70 years, Wightman & Associates, Inc. has delivered first-class engineering, environmental, architecture, and survey services. They embody the entrepreneurial spirit which is evident in the longevity of their employees; many serving over 40 years. They have grown their staff from 70 in 2014 to 90 in 2015.
In June, 2015, Wightman & Associates brought the family back together as they merged Wightman Environmental.
The Wightman team has worked with Western Michigan University’s Civil Engineering program, mentoring annual senior design projects.
Steve Carlisle, Director Engineering accepted this award.
LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD
United Federal Credit Union was the recipient of the 2015 Large Business of the Year Award.
2013-2015 were strong and exciting years for United Federal Credit Union (UFCU). They provided UFCU members with new products; their communities received an unprecedented amount in charitable giving. And, the credit union embarked on a multi-phase building project focused on supporting their future planned growth. UFCU’s commitment to the community is evident in the financing they have provided to more than 150 Berrien County businesses. Their member satisfaction rating is over 94%.
Gary Easterling, United Federal Credit Union’s President and CEO accepted the award.
CORNERSTONE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE GREEN BUSINESS AWARD
The Green Business award recognizes an organization that incorporates green initiatives into their workplace including reuse, recycles, reduces and rethinks; show sustainable energy and water conservation and creates awareness on green issues. This year’s recipient, Wightman & Associates, has made a company-wide commitment to implement green initiatives which include:
· Reduced consumption of plastic cutlery, Styrofoam cups, as they replaced them with ‘real dishes’ including silverware, glassware.
· Composting coffee grounds instead of simply throwing them in the trash. Wightman & Associates recently built an on-site compost bin for their garden.
One of Wightman’s biggest green initiatives happened in the summer of 2015. The Wightman GREEN Team suggested a community garden. The focus of the Wightman GREEN team is developing sustainable and environmentally conscious purchasing and operational practices throughout the organization.
16 Wightman staff members tended eight 4’ x 8’ raised garden beds. Together, they worked before and after work, or during lunch breaks. These staff members were able to foster a greater sense of teamwork from their participation in the garden into their daily work.
Wightman staff, Ben Baker, Landscape Architect and Chris Brayak, Architect.
EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD RETAIL SECTOR
Michigan’s Great Southwest is fortunate to have two Jimmy John’s locations: One is located in Benton Charter Township owned by Rick Molitor; and the other is located in the City of St. Joseph owned by Debbie Sailor. The culture that both stores have established and instilled into their qualified staff, offers the highest integrity and level of customer service to their guests, and the greater community.
Deb Sailor and Rick Molitor accepted the award.
EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD SERVICE SECTOR
Edgewater Bank started under the name Industrial Building and Loan in 1910 as a state-chartered mutual savings and loan association. In 1938, they converted to a federal charter and in 2005 was renamed Edgewater Bank. They are distinguished by their personalized customer service, localized decision-making and employee commitment to volunteerism in their communities.
President, Rick Dyer accepted the award.
2015 AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
Jo Farrell was named The Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year for 2015. The Ambassadors are comprised of local business professionals that volunteer their time to the many Chamber events. She has attended every Chamber event in 2015 and is a valuable member of the Ambassador team.