Posts Tagged ‘SBOY’

Customer commitment, skilled trades drive Alpha’s success

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
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Alpha Industries, LLC accepts the Small Business of the Year Award for the Emerging Business Category. L to R: Northstar Bank’s Jim Vineyard, Mayor Betsy Price, Jason Scoggins, Trent Henckell and Chamber Chairman Mark G. Nurdin.

Alpha Industries’ goal is above-and-beyond customer service, but its focus on employees gave the construction company an added winning edge in competition for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Business of the Year Award, says Lisa Cobb, CFO of Precise Energy Products and judge for the award’s Emerging Business category.

“Much of their revenue is project-driven,” Cobb said, “which means that they have had some gaps of time between projects. Instead of laying off employees and rehiring when the next project started, Alpha carried the overhead. Retention of a workforce during a slow time showed that they were focusing for long-term growth vs short-term profits.

“This bodes well for the future of Alpha Industries and their ability to take on new clients.”

Two other measures create immediate perspective for understanding Alpha Industries and its growing stature in the industrial construction community.

Alpha has chalked up more than 5,360 percent growth since it was founded in 2013, and it has worked more than 1,100 days without a lost-time accident while expanding a customer base ranging from food processing companies to refineries.

Founding partners – CEO Trent Henckell and COO Jason Scoggins – credit such success to Alpha’s deep customer service commitment, integrity and highly skilled employees who bring a diverse knowledge base in many trades.

“Our main priority is to always exceed the customer’s expectations,” Henckell said in the SBOY application. “We have worked graveyard shifts, holidays and overtime to always ensure that the customer’s needs are not merely met, but exceeded.”

Alpha invests heavily in safety programs and training for employees, which includes sending employees out of the country to learn and become proficient in foreign-made equipment before installing and maintaining it here. “Alpha has spared no expense to make sure all employees receive additional training to improve their strengths,” Henckell said in the SBOY application.

Alpha partners with educational institutions, such as Tarrant County College, that offer high-quality programs in the building trades. The relationship nurtures Alpha’s apprenticeship program that opens high-earning career paths for employees.

Additionally, Alpha partners with Veteran Affairs and Hiring Our Heroes to bring onboard skilled military veterans. Some 20 percent of Alpha’s workforce consists of veterans.

Wide-ranging community involvement ranges from environmental and wildlife awareness initiatives to charitable organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, that are of personal interest to employees and their families.

Four exceptional Tarrant County enterprises received the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious 2017 Small Business of the Year Award, presented by Northstar Bank, in recognition of their exemplary Best Practices.

Finalists were selected from a record 147 nominees and 39 written applications by members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council committee, which includes past award recipients. Winners were finalized after site visits by judges to the finalists’ business locations.

Winners were honored at a reception prior to Mayor Betsy Price’s Annual State of the City address on February 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

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Z’s plate heaped with success and a heart for helping others

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
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Z’s Cafe & Catering accepts the Small Business of the Year Award for the 1-10 Employees Category. L to R: Carlo Capua, Mayor Betsy Price, Chamber Chairman Mark G. Nurdin, Janet Z. Capua and Northstar Bank’s Jim Vineyard.

There’s far more to Z’s Café & Catering than great Italian cooking and their signature chicken salad.

Since 2009, Z’s has served up help, hope and dignity not only for more than 100 staffers – former Samaritan House clients seeking second chances – but also culinary students, small food-related entrepreneurs who need a helping hand, and others who find paths to opportunity at Z’s.

Z’s plate runs over with success, including receiving the 2017 Small Business of the Year (SBOY) Award in the 1-10 Employees category.

The blessings spring from Janet Z. Capua’s Zito family recipes, her passion for cooking and community service, and business expertise from her son, Carlo.

She was a retired dental hygienist when the Capuas opened Z’s, partnering with the non-profit Samaritan House to pursue a three-part mission: Serve authentic food; give outstanding service; help staff return to the workforce with dignity – a blend of goals as rich with potential as homemade marinara sauce.

“The story of how Z’s Café came to fruition is an amazing one that tugs at your heart and is unlike anything I have ever heard,” said Troy Moncrief, president of Fidelity National Title, Baker Firm and a judge in Z’s category.

“They started with no money, no equipment and no idea how to run a business.  It was through pure determination, an incredible work ethic and the ability to a overcome a litany of obstacles, that they were able to turn their vision into the Small Business of the Year. Their commitment to quality, service, giving back to the community and to each other is something that we can all learn from.”

While Z’s café business has grown substantially, Z’s catering operations have mushroomed with clients ranging from weddings, corporate and informal events to more than 300 non-profit organizations.

Catering success has opened yet another avenue of community service for the Capuas via their commercial kitchen at the café in the southside hospital district at 1116 Pennsylvania Ave. – their location since 2012 when they outgrew their original space at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

As part of its Kitchen Incubator program, Z’s shares their kitchen on evenings and weekends, providing space and mentorship for more than 100 small businesses, serving as a commissary, food manufacturing and production hub and rent-by-the-hour kitchen, Carlo wrote in Z’s SBOY application.

“We’ve mentored bakers, food trucks, personal chefs, culinary startups,” Carlo noted, adding that Z’s takes interns from institutions such as TCU’s Nutritional Science and Entrepreneurship programs and Trimble Tech’s Culinary Arts program.

In 2013, Z’s partnered with Tarrant County College to create Hope and Hospitality – a 12-week workforce development program offering training in food preparation, customer service and catering – in return for TCC providing Z’s employees with access to TCC resources.

Four exceptional Tarrant County enterprises have received the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious 2017 Small Business of the Year Award, presented by Northstar Bank, in recognition of their exemplary Best Practices.

Finalists were selected from a record 147 nominees and 39 written applications by members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council committee, which includes past award recipients. Winners were finalized after site visits by judges to the finalists’ business locations.

Winners were honored at a reception prior to Mayor Betsy Price’s Annual State of the City address on February 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

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From typewriters to digital age: SOS delivers high-tech offices

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
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Southwest Office Systems, Small Business of the Year Award Winners in the 51-150 Employees Category. L to R: Chamber Chairman Mark G. Nurdin, Mayor Betsy Price, Vince and Mona Puente, Buddy and Alice Puente, and Northstar Bank’s Jim Vineyard.

Victor Puente, Sr., launched Southwest Office Systems (SOS) in 1964 as a two-man typewriter repair service. Today, with five decades of business and entrepreneurial experience, a debt-free SOS ranks nationally in the top 3 percent of independent document technology dealers.

Puente’s sons – President/Finance & Operations Buddy Puente and President/Sales & Marketing Vince E. Puente – joined their father’s business in 1972.

Today, they run one of the largest and most sophisticated family-owned enterprises in North Texas, providing 21st-century products ranging from MFP (copier) systems to wide format plotters, digital whiteboards, printers, document imaging software solutions and more.

“What struck me about SOS was the sense of employee recognition and satisfaction,” said Sherry Green, president of Technology Team and a judge for the SOS category. “Their employees are treated like family, and as a result many have been there for a number of years.”

Employees enjoy a full range of benefits. Recognition of notable employee performance is celebrated in various avenues of recognition such as a monthly “Shout Out” program.

Victor Puente’s emphasis on customer service is a driving force at SOS that’s called “High Touch” – an initiative focused on building trust through intense customer appreciation and value-added service.

Additionally, the company’s SOS Team of field tech service staff is geared to deliver exceptional response and uptimes. The SOS CATS (Call Assistance Technical Service) team provides a sophisticated Help/Fix Desk managing online repairs within a goal of 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the eSOS team provides programs such as “Toner on Demand” and “Fully Automated Meter Readings.”

Internally, SOS’ 39,000-square-foot facility near DFW International Airport provides employees with a state-of-the-art workplace.

A 5,000-square-foot showroom provides sales staff with a cutting-edge environment for product demonstrations at three networked workstations, two private demonstration rooms and a presentation room with a stage and seating for 50 people.

The Puente brothers and other SOS employees give back extensively to the community, serving on many boards and supporting a number of charitable organizations as volunteers and with donations.

The company also provides non-profits with meeting space at its Community Center at SOS Plaza.

Gov. Greg Abbott recently appointed Vince Puente to the Finance Commission of Texas, which is the governing body of state banking, savings and loan, and consumer credit agencies.

Four exceptional Tarrant County enterprises received the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious 2017 Small Business of the Year Award, presented by Northstar Bank, in recognition of their exemplary Best Practices.

Finalists were selected from a record 147 nominees and 39 written applications by members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council committee, which includes past award recipients. Winners were finalized after site visits by judges to the finalists’ business locations.

Winners were honored at a reception prior to Mayor Betsy Price’s Annual State of the City address on February 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

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Small Business of the Year Award finalists named for 2017

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
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SBOY2015_logo_verticalIn a record year for the number of award nominations and applicants, twelve top Tarrant County businesses have been selected as finalists in competition for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Business of the Year Award, presented by Northstar Bank of Texas.

Winners will be announced at a reception prior to Mayor Betsy Price’s Annual State of the City address February 22, 2017, at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The prestigious annual Small Business of the Year Award salutes those that operate with exemplary Best Practices.

“Small businesses may not make big headlines, but they are the foundation of a thriving economy,” said Sherry Green, chairman of the Chamber’s Small Business Council committee and president of Technology Team, a previous award winner. “These passionate and determined business owners reflect the pioneering spirit of our city and the diversity of Fort Worth’s business base.”

From a record 147 nominees and 39 written applications, finalists were selected by members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council committee, which includes past award recipients. Site visits by judges to the finalists’ business locations in January will determine the winners.

Finalists, by category, are:

EMERGING BUSINESSES (less than 3 years old)

 

1-10 EMPLOYEES

 

11-50 EMPLOYEES

 

51-150 EMPLOYEES

 

Additional sponsors for the 2017 Small Business of the Year Award program are BB&T, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, CliftonLarsonAllen, TCU Neeley School of Business, Tarleton State University, Wells Fargo, Cendera Center and Fort Worth Business Press.

 

 

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Ventavia Research Group opening doors for new medicines

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
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Glenn Monroe, Northstar Bank of Texas; Olivia Ray, Kristi Raney, both of  Ventavia Research Group; Mayor Betsy Price.

Pharmaceutical companies’ development of future medicines requires a huge dose of research expertise such as that found at Ventavia Research Group (VRG).

Healthcare professionals Olivia Ray and Kristi Raney founded VRG in 2013. With Dr. Isaac A. Watemberg as their principal investigator and a network of specialized physicians as sub-investigators, VRG’s robust clinical research operation in Fort Worth’s hospital district is conducting a growing number of clinical trials for new medications.

Its strong performance and business skills have earned Ventavia Research Group the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award for 2016 in the Emerging Business category.

“We are honored to have been selected as the winner of this prestigious award,” said COO Kristi Raney. “We were up against some tough competition, so when our company name was called, we were shocked.”

Raney and CEO Olivia Ray encourage small business owners to enter SBOY competition. “Through this experience, we have met dozens of other small business owners and have had the opportunity to learn things from each of them,” Raney said. “Ultimately, to have been selected for this award was icing on the cake. The relationships we developed through this journey were priceless.”

Ventavia serves as a comprehensive, multi-therapeutic research organization for inpatient and outpatient trials. Work has involved research for medications to treat various health issues such as the flu, ulcerative colitis, Type II diabetes and more.

Much of the company’s success has hinged on building increased access to “medical heroes” – volunteer patients who participate in clinical trials. They are essential for producing quality data for pharmaceutical companies.

Ventavia’s access to volunteers recently increased significantly through an agreement with John Peter Smith (JPS) Hospital, part of the publicly funded JPS Health Network of the Tarrant County Hospital District.

Successful negotiations with a large local physicians practice further strengthened Ventavia’s access to patients.

Ventavia’s extensive pre-screening process determines whether volunteers are eligible to participate in a study. Strict guidelines help to protect their health and safety. They are treated with the highest level of respect and are compensated for their time and travel.

Ventavia is expanding its community involvement as it grows. The company has been a major supporter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Walk and has participated in a number of events such as Earth Day and Senior Synergy Expo. Ventavia sponsored the UNT Health Science Center’s Research Appreciation Day.

Ventavia Research Group

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Blue Jean Networks finds unique fit in IT world

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
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Glenn Monroe, Northstar Bank of Texas; Sunny Lowe, Blue Jean Networks; Mayor Betsy Price.

Blue Jean Networks, LLC (BJN) has fashioned an innovative, flat-rate approach to IT management services that outfit small to mid-size business with highly advanced and secure networks while providing 24/7 support and maintenance.

Launched in 2008 by Lewis “Sunny” Lowe, BJN has notched non-stop growth and recently was honored with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award in the 1-10 Employees category.

“We were thrilled that our team was considered as a finalist,” Lowe said, “especially when we looked at the other finalists in the group with us.

“To win is truly a reflection of the investments God and others have made in our company, through great people, tremendous mentors, wonderful clients and the privilege of working in a place like Fort Worth, Texas. Our leadership is looking for ways to push this win down to our employees and clients, so everybody can celebrate in different ways.”

Entering SBOY competition brings rewards in and of itself, Lowe said.

“Every business needs a legacy plan, a plan that says what the ultimate goals of the company are, and what the end game might be,” he said. To build one, a team must decide what they want from a company, and then see if the current plan will produce that outcome.

“Applying for this competition is an exercise in this type of planning. The part it fulfills is the practice of describing where we are today, in detail. Just filling out the forms this year revealed to me areas where we are strong, and other areas where we might improve our company.

“So, yes, I would encourage other small businesses to apply and enter the competition, and they will be stronger as a company if they take what they discover, and use it in their regular planning process.”

Because many clients’ BJN networks are similar and aligned, one solution for a problem can be applied to all. Maintenance is expedited because technicians have extensive expertise in the network and the new features and software that BJN adds for all as they are developed.

To keep costs low for clients and the company, BJN’s proactive infrastructure can automatically monitor clients’ servers and workstations to alert technicians to emerging problems, which can be addressed quickly and in advance of downtime.

Internally, BJN adheres to a strict set of ethics and operates with an open-management team philosophy in which everyone sets personal goals, meets in a daily huddle and sees the books every week.

Every employee is authorized to spend up to $400 at any given time to address a client’s needs. Benevolence is an important part of operations and includes pro bono work and consulting for new and challenged businesses. All technicians are hired not just for their expertise but for their personality and people skills.

Giving back to the community is a top priority. BJN is involved with many charitable initiatives such as providing hosting for Feed by Grace, a ministry to the homeless. Client recommendations are valued and have led to support for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities and the YMCA.

Blue Jean Networks, LLC

 

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Baker Firm – Fidelity National Title shines at closing time

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
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Glenn Monroe, Northstar Bank of Texas; Troy Moncrief, The Baker Firm – Fidelity National Title; Mayor Betsy Price.

Closing residential and commercial loans in Fort Worth’s fast-paced, expanding economy calls for navigating a complex, heavily regulated maze of details.

It’s a high-stakes, high-pressure environment in which The Baker Firm-Fidelity National Title has flourished since 2012, following its philosophy and aim to always “do the right thing” and to deliver impeccable customer service.

With highly trained escrow officers, exceptional depth in real estate law and comprehensive commitment to clients, The Baker Firm has achieved impressive growth every year and recently was honored with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award in the 11-50 Employees category.

“Although we were honored to be included in the top three, we were blown away with the fact that we actually won,” said President Troy Moncrief.

“The other finalists had great stories to tell, and we knew that any of them could have taken the award. Being chosen as the winner is a testament to the great people we work with and the passion they have for providing unparalleled service to our clients.”

Moncrief said he would encourage other small-business owners to enter next year’s competition. “Going through the process and the questionnaire for this nomination was a tremendous exercise in defining our business.

“We know that we provide a very high level of service for our customers, but it was beneficial to put all of this on paper. We shared all of our responses with our team, and that solidified what we express to them all the time: they are the best in the business, and now they know the entire community is aware of it.”

The Baker Firm’s pursuit of excellence for local and national clients begins internally with an employee-empowered culture that nurtures and rewards high individual performance in many ways, including a team bonus that’s distributed bi-annually.

Staff voluntarily remains accessible for real estate agents on weekends, holidays and odd hours when agents need help from the title company.

Insightful escrow officers’ scrutiny saves clients’ money while an extensive internal system of checks and balances protects the integrity of workflow and the firm.

Additionally, The Baker Firm does not require that closings be conducted at its offices. Closings are located wherever is best for the client. Staff have finalized closings on the trunk of a car, on airplanes, a golf course and other locales.

Community involvement is a high priority.

The Baker Firm serves more than 30 charitable organizations, including Camp Fire USA, Cook Children’s Hospital, Disabled American Veterans and Food for the Poor. Staffers’ involvement ranges from serving on boards to chairing fundraisers and participating in weekly mentoring of underprivileged students at Fort Worth ISD.

The Baker Firm - Fidelity National Title

 

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Firefighting movers shoulder a load of success

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
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Glenn Monroe, Northstar Bank of Texas; Pat Dodson, Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage; Mayor Betsy Price.

Business or residential relocations can ignite three-alarm calls for help, and there are real-life heroes ready to respond.

Staffed by off-duty firefighters fully trained for the task, Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage, Inc. (FFMS), provides wide-ranging expertise, resources and best practices tested in the heat of growth and expansion beyond Fort Worth to Dallas, Houston and, in the near future, San Antonio.

The full-service moving and storage company founded in 2001 has been honored with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award in the 51-150 Employees category.

“We are grateful for being recognized as an elite small business in the Fort Worth area,” said FFMS Sales & Marketing Manager Robert A. Chan. “We know it is a tribute and an honor to our incredible work force. Their hard work, ethics and customer service has allowed us to become the company that we are and will continue to be.

“We are thankful to our wonderful customers, the Chamber for the opportunity, the judges for taking time to be on the panel and to our families for being so understanding with the demands that come from being a customer service centered organization.”

Chan says small businesses stand to gain sharper edges by entering SBOY competition.

“We would encourage all companies to enter the competition as it provides a great opportunity for introspection as well as an opportunity to meet and discuss best practices with other small businesses,” he said.

“The process provides a great chance to examine processes and policies for positives and negatives, areas they can improve on and even new opportunities for growth.

“Preparing the business to be reviewed by a panel of outsiders to the industry but peers as in business has helped us gain a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our staff as well as improving many of our internal processes and procedures. We have also made great business connections that can and will make us a better organization.”

Judges were particularly impressed with the company’s solid business practices at the critical customer service level where professionalism and two-way communication are high priorities.

When FFMS moving consultants book a move, a process begins in which every step focuses on client satisfaction. Emails to customers detail the agreed-upon moving date, when highly trained crews will arrive, how the move will be done and how any contingencies, if any, will be handled.

Customers are advised during the booking, and the confirmation call before the move, to call the office immediately if the moving crew is not meeting expectations. Office staffers frequently visit jobsites to ensure satisfactory progress.

Followup includes an email to the customer to make sure there were no day-of-move issues and that the customer is completely satisfied.

Firefighters are renowned for dedication to community service, and FFMS involvement reflects that reputation as the first company in Tarrant County to partner with Move for Hunger, an initiative to help provision local food banks.

The company has been honored for its commitment to helping with employment for veterans. Involvement with charities includes support for organizations such as the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County, Catholic Charities and the Gladney Center for Adoption.

Firefighting's Finest Moving & Storage, Inc.

 

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Engineer Job Connect program exceeds goal

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
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With Engineer Job Connect funds, TriQuest Technologies trained (from left) former technicians Adam Dilger and Grant Buckingham as network partners.

Partnering with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Chamber’s involvement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s four-year Engineer Job Connect (EJC) program found jobs for veterans, minorities and women who are engineers and underemployed or unemployed engineers.

Ending in 2015, the effort helped to place and train 405 engineers at 37 local companies, exceeding the goal of 385.

Among those companies was TriQuest Technologies, an IT services and support company for small to mid-size companies, winner of the Chamber’s 2013 Greater Tarrant Business Ethics Award and two-time winner of the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award.

The program offered incentives to pay on-the-job training expenses and was a godsend for TriQuest and other small businesses, said Cyndy Tonniges, TriQuest director of operations.

She heard of EJC at the Chamber’s monthly JobLinks meeting , Tonniges said, and felt it was a natural fit for TriQuest where continuing education for employees is a priority.

“Technicians have over 200 hours of training each year,” she said, “and EJC provided money to help with that training. For a small business, that’s huge.

With EJC funds, TriQuest training for two senior level technicians – Grant Buckingham

and Adam Dilger – resulted in qualifying them as for roles equivalent to network engineers in six months, Tonniges said. “We were able to get their skills up to speed and to increase their training and certifications.”

In addition to adding depth of expertise for TriQuest, “the program helped us to streamline our training program and to become more focused,” she said, because the application process required specifics “on what we planned to accomplish in six months and how many hours it was going to take.”

Savings generated through EJC also helped TriQuest to hire more employees.

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Small Business of the Year Award finalists announced

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
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SBOY2015_logo_verticalIn a record year for the number of award nominations and applicants, twelve top Tarrant County businesses have been selected as finalists in competition for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award, presented by Northstar Bank of Texas.

Winners will be announced at a reception prior to Mayor Betsy Price’s Annual State of the City address February 16 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The prestigious annual Small Business of the Year Award salutes those that operate with exemplary Best Practices.

“This year’s finalists are an impressive group that reflects the diversity of Fort Worth’s business base, including pharma, technology, manufacturing and professional services,” said Chamber President and CEO Bill Thornton. “The judges have their work cut out for them because these are all excellent contenders.”

Finalists were selected from 125 nominees and 45 written applications by a group of business professionals, MBA or Entrepreneur Center students at TCU’s Neeley School of Business and past award winners who are members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council Committee. Site visits by judges to the finalists’ business locations will determine the winners.

View the finalists photos on Facebook.

Finalists, by category, are:

Emerging Business (in business less than 3 years):

  • Alpha Industries LLC – fabrication, construction welding, industrial construction, global logistics, and team-management for industrial and energy clients
  • Cowtown Cycle Party LLC – fun, eco-friendly 16-person party bike to exercise while sightseeing in downtown and the Near Southside
  • Ventavia Research Group, LLC – clinical research company that conducts trials for new medications developed by pharmaceutical companies

1-10 Employees:

  • Blue Jean Networks, LLC –  IT service to small and mid-sized businesses
  • M-Pak, Inc. – industrial packaging and tactical clothing/uniform supplier to private and government businesses
  • SYNERGY HomeCare –  non-medical homecare services for people who need assistance with activities of daily living, including companionship, homemaking and personal care

11-50 Employees:

51-150 Employees:

Additional sponsors for the 2016 Small Business of the Year Award program are TCU’s Neeley School of Business, Tarleton State University, Wells Fargo, Renaissance Worthington Fort Worth Hotel, and Fort Worth Business.

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