A celebration of the passion and drive was on display Wednesday evening as 21 suburban entrepreneurs were honored at the 20th annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Daily Herald Business Ledger and its sponsoring partners.
More than 125 people heard their success stories during the event at the Danada House in Wheaton.
2019 Entrepreneurial Excellece Award honoreesEarly Stage• Joe Barron, Gray Matters Games, Glen Ellyn
• Fershawnda Green, Poppin Plates, LLC in Lansing
Growth• Elia Rodriguez and Laura Rodriguez, Alianza Hispana Accounting, Tax & Travel, Hanover Park
• Matt Miller, M14Hoops, Aurora
• Darrell Holmes, Pro-Pak Industries, Inc., West Chicago
• Maria Teresa Ramos, Ramos Tax and Services, Streamwood
Innovation• Jason Johnson, JNJ Heating & Cooling, South Elgin
• David Calzaretta, Magnificent Events, Plainfield
• Susan MacNicol, Strategic & Creative Marketing, Inc., Aurora
Lifetime Achievement• Brian Borkan, BKB Commercial, Long Grove;
• Michael Moyski, CPA, Mathieson, Moyski, Austin & Co, LLC, Wheaton
• Robert Lambert, Samurai Business Group, Chicago
Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs• Susan Reardon, Suite Spotte, La Grange
• Terrie Simmons, Women's Business Development Center, Aurora
Regional Spirit• Kyle DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre & Events, Oakbrook Terrace
• Mary Richards Lawrence, Richards Graphics, Bellwood
Young Entrepreneurs (Under 40)• Anna Marie Imbordino, Chicago Buzz Marketing, Naperville
• Andy Fuller, Mosquito Hunters, Northbrook
• Natalie Bonner, Talented Tenth Social Services, Plainfield
• Ruth Bernal, Workforce Works, Bensenville
The annual event recognizes entrepreneurship in the suburbs. The honorees demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship, including the willingness to take risk, drive, perseverance and business creativity. They were nominated by their peers and selected by a members of the Daily Herald Business Ledger staff.
Tom Bugielski, president and CEO of Republic Bank and keynote speaker for the evening, spoke about the traits that make entrepreneurs unique. While there are many reasons why entrepreneurs do what they do, Bugielski said the two common traits, passion and drive.
"Entrepreneurs have passion and belief in their ideas, they're willing to take risks because they innately know they will be successful," he said.
Bugielski warned the honorees need to be adaptable and open minded to new concepts and ideas, even if they seemed far-fetched.
"Don't let yourself get Ubered out of your industry," he said.
Many of the honorees, in accepting their awards, gave credit to co-workers and families for supporting their vision and beliefs.
"There are so many people that help move me forward, " said Sue Reardon of Suite Spotte in LaGrange. "I wouldn't be here tonight without them., They pick me up when I've fallen and pat me on the back when I succeed."
Ann Marie Imbordino of Chicago Buzz Marketing in Naperville added she was proof that all the naysayers who discounted her entrepreneurial efforts were wrong.
"You can move mountains no matter who you are if you have a vision and beliefs," Imbordino said.
Robert Lambert, of Samurai Business Group in Chicago, added some strong advice for the audience in pushing forward.
"Fight like you are right and listen like you are wrong." Robert Lambert.
Profiles of the honorees can be found online at www.dhbusinessledger.com and in a special section of the October Business Ledger, publishing Oct. 21.
Presenting sponsors for the event are Republic Bank, Focus Capital Advisors, Inc., and B. Gunther & Company, Inc. Marketing partners for the event are MRA - The Management Association and the Small Business Advocacy Council.