On Thursday, March 8, Greater Lansing Business Monthly hosted the 24th Annual Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards. Guests were welcomed at Eagle Eye Golf Clube for a networking cocktail hour followed by dinner in the Grand Garden room. Community members, business leaders, entrepreneurs and supporters were among the more than 400 guests who 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,” said Tiffany Dowling, president and CEO of M3 Group and publisher of Greater Lansing Business Monthly, 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, the judges are presented with a binder full of nominated business profiles, narratives and financial information, and are asked to choose a winner for six broad business categories. Qualifying nominees were presented to the judges to find a recipient for Emerging Entrepreneur, Socially Responsible Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Leadership Award, Entrepreneur of the Year and Greater Lansing Business of the Year.
“I believe that entrepreneurs help to shape the local community,” added Bob Hoffman, the evening’s co-host as well as manager of Public Relations at Wharton Center and co-host of FOX-47’s Morning Blend. “It takes businesses of all shapes and sizes to create a robust economy, and that would not be possible without our entrepreneurs.”
A new category was added this year. The Leadership Award is given to a leader in an established company; this could include presidents and CEOs, or an individual employee that exhibits strong leadership qualities.
Guest speaker Mark Winkelman, president of Better Made Snack Foods (Better Made), shared his own success story. He encouraged attendees to follow their passion and work together to move business forward. The journey of Better Made and his own personal journey inspired all those in the room that evening.
Among the speakers for the night was Debbie Petersmark of WILX-TV, who spoke as a representative for the judges and who spent time independently and collectively reviewing the material submitted by the nominees. In addition to Petersmark, this year’s judges included Don McNabb of Triterra, Melody Warzecha of Union Bank, Jeff Jackson of the MSU Federal Credit Union, Chris Thelen of Consumers Energy, Michael Debri of Huntington Bank, Scott Norman of Physicians Health Plan, Chris Waltz of Dart Container, Steve Piesko of Maner Costerisan, Bo Garcia of Lansing Community College, Lynn Henley of Rehmann, Patty Barnas of First National Bank of Michigan, Denise Graves of MEDC and the support of Auto-Owners Insurance. The winners were decided during a special judges meeting.
Greater Lansing Business Monthly announces this year’s award recipients:
Businesses come in all shapes, sizes, missions and unique selling propositions. The one thing every 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, just like those honored at the annual Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards dinner.
As the evening ended, many past honorees offered their congratulations to the new winners. It is with the support of the community that these honorees will continue their success and go on to do great things.