Each May, the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce honors the entrepreneurial spirit of its membership at the Small Business Awards Luncheon. This year’s event featured keynote speaker Susan K. Dunkley, Co-Founder of New Horizon Enterprises, Inc., emcee Frank Vascellero from Channel 4 News, and the presentation of TwinWest’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year and Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year annual awards.
The house was full for the event held at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis Park Place and they were treated to a great event. The backdrop of the event was “Navigating the Deadliest Patch” which was a take on the popular Discovery Channel show, “Deadliest Catch”. With three finalists in both categories, there were six “Captains” navigating their ships through the “Deadliest Patch” of recent economic times.
After a terrific lunch and preliminary introductions, the crowd was treated to a heart-felt keynote address from Susan Dunkley which outlined the highlights of her incredible success story as Co-Founder of New Horizon Academy. Filled with many colourful anecdotes and some hilarious stories of the things kids do, Susan left the stage to a standing ovation of appreciation.
The fun continued with the introduction of the video, “Navigating the Deadliest Patch”. Filmed and produced by Quarterton Productions each of the nominees were at the helm of their ship, giving serious advice with some tongue and cheek humor mixed in.
The first award for Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year went to Thomas Heller of Soulo Communications. The other finalists were Eric Nelson, owner of Eric R. Nelson CPA LLC, and Pat Bedall, owner of Sign-A-Rama Crystal.
The tension mounted as the three finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year were asked to come to the stage for the presentation of the prestigious award. The three finalists were Barbara Hensley, founder of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, Julie McDonald, owner of iVision Human Resources, and Joe Reilly, President of Payroll Control Systems.
When Joe Reilly was announced there was a loud whoop from Joe’s wife, Patti along with quite a few shouts of encouragement and, of course, the ovation from the crowd. Joe took his full two minutes at the microphone, mostly using it to thank his staff and many friends who have helped him throughout his career.
Special thanks went out to Joe’s wife Patti and best friends, Mike and Lynn Folken, for their never ending support and encouragement throughout the years.
See more of Joe’s thoughts and feelings about winning this award in this month’s “Joe’s Jottings” (link to Joe’s Jottings) article.
For more photos of the event, click here.