Pictured (l to r) are Jimmy Williams and Jamey Ice, 6th Ave Homes; Randy Landers, Small Business Committee Chairman, Speed Fab-Crete; Jerry and Deborah Fulwiler, Elements of Architecture; Katie Sansom, Tribe Alive; and Jennifer Lutz, Silver Creek Materials.

Consistent to Fort Worth Chamber’s Forte Award Winners

A sense of purpose, the passion to make an impact and a focus on building internal and external communities … those were consistent themes when the four category winners in the Chamber’s Forte Awards competition presented at an Impact Your Business luncheon last week at Joe T. Garcia’s.

Each of the four honorees was asked to speak to a “Best Practice” within its business and explain how it guides the company. In a question-and-answer session that followed, the presenters were asked about being a part of the Forte Awards competition.

Jimmy Williams, co-founder of 6th Ave Homes, the Grand Forte winner, said, “We’re committed to the prosperity of Fort Worth and the Chamber is well aligned.”

Debbie Fulwiler, owner of Elements of Architecture, said, “Camaraderie of my team…this competition brought us even closer together.”

Below is a summation of the four winners’ presentations. Applications for the 2020 Forte Awards competition will be available in August.

Tribe Alive

Consumer retail winner

Katie Sansom, Sr. Designer
Why investing in women and girls are vital to the future of the world

Tribe Alive, a fashion brand founded in 2013, provides employment opportunities and financial security to women internationally. Approximately 180 artisans in five countries are part of the Tribe and each has the power to direct her future.

Katie Sansom talked about the three reasons founder and CEO Carly Burson made this investment in women and girls.

  1. Women are half the world’s seven-plus billion population. In the United States, women make 80 cents to every dollar a man earns; worldwide, it’s closer to 30 cents to the dollar. Women earn only 10 percent of income worldwide and own just one percent of property.
  2. Women are much more likely to invest in family and community: A women averages a 70 percent investment of her income into family and community, a man 30 percent. Women are more likely to create long-term family and community benefits, such as healthcare and childcare.
  3. Educating girls leads to a better economy. Education increases an individual’s per capita income 23 percent.

Tribe Alive is a sustainable fashion brand employing more than 180 people in underdeveloped areas in five countries.

Silver Creek Materials

Manufacturing & Distribution winner

Jennifer Lutz, Business Development Manager
Circular Economy and Recycling

“Every piece of plastic ever made exists today.” Jennifer Lutz’ startling revelation laid out the problem simply and clearly. Silver Creek Materials exists to provide solutions in the form of top soils, mulches, fertilizers and more.

Lutz said just 25 percent of plastics is recycled, which is unfortunate because between 70 and 88 percent less energy is needed to make a product from recycled materials than to produce from scratch.

While 12 percent of all waste is plastic, we seem to be doing better with aluminum. Seventy percent of aluminum is recycled and just 1.4 percent is waste. Aluminum has thousands of re-use solutions.

Silver Creek Materials is a “zero waste” company; everything — even the packaging — that enters its gates is recycled.

Silver Creek Materials is a leader in recycling, compost, mining and organic products.

Elements of Architecture

Professional Services winner

Jerry Fulwiler, President
The Power of One

Since 1996, Elements of Architecture has provided professional services in an array of commercial and industrial sectors.

It does so with one team, one direction and one goal.

“We have small teams of interactive people with varying skills to work as ONE,” Jerry Fulwiler said. “That is the specialty that defines us.

“We identify traits — complementary resources and skills. We don’t want to take one person and try and replicate. And we develop synergies to keep the teams together long-term.”

Elements of Architecture is one with community, too. It assimilates and gives back with “100 percent participation by our employees.”

Jerry said he was raised on a farm where he learned a lesson for life. “You have to give more than you take from the soil for something to grow.”

Elements of Architecture is a full-service commercial architectural firm.

6th Ave Homes

Emerging Business and Grand Forte (overall winner)

Co-founders Jamey Ice and Jimmy Williams
Knowing your WHY and running a mission-centered business

Jamey Ice and Jimmy Williams were best friends in high school, went to the same college and live across the street from each other. Jamey was a musician, Jimmy a policeman. Their wives were friends.

Late nights, with wine, led to some soul searching about their “WHY,” even if they didn’t know the “how.” What they discovered by continually asking, “WHY,” was

  • They wanted to do restoration;
  • They wanted a non-profit;
  • They wanted to do business differently;
  • They wanted to make Fort Worth and the neighborhood better than they found it.

“We rarely knew how, but always were clear on WHY,” Jamey said.

The results are in, though nowhere near mature.

At 6th Ave Homes, you can buy, sell, design and renovate residential and commercial businesses. The company is a major funder and source provider for The Net, a non-profit engaged in serving the low income, homeless and sexually exploited. And being neighborly, Ice and Williams are owners in BREWED, a stylishly casual café for coffee, craft brews and pub-style food.

“We hire, we fire, we make all our decision based on our WHY,” Williams said.

6th Ave Homes is a one-stop shop for buying, selling, design and renovation of homes and commercial businesses.