2016 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Award Recipients Announced!

2016 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Award Recipients Announced! Image.

Riverside, Calif., November 15, 2016 – Amid an evening networking, a surprise visit from Walt Disney’s granddaughter and entertainment from Ekenah Claudin and his Story Box projection mapped live performance, an audience of 860 business and community leaders attended the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards at the Riverside Convention Center to celebrate and honor Inland Empire entrepreneurs. The annual black-tie gala event recognizes the leadership, innovation and business acumen of Inland Empire entrepreneurs.

This year’s award recipients recognized at the black-tie gala, chosen from 28 finalists, include:

Corporate Entrepreneur

  • Dr. James M Lally D.O., MMM, Chino Valley Medical Center - Chino
  • Distribution, Logistics and Transportation Entrepreneur

  • Maria Thompson, Agile Sourcing Partners, Inc. - Corona
  • Family Business

  • Mark Widder, Dino Cancellieri Sr., Dino Cancellieri Jr., Randy Cancellieri, Adam Cancellieri; Veg-Fresh Farms - Corona
  • General Entrepreneur

  • Leonora Foddrill, Foddrill Construction Corp. - Chino
  • Innovator/Technology Entrepreneur

  • Saksit Suetrong, iA-ROBOTICS - Murrieta
  • Manufacturing Entrepreneur

  • Troy Lindstrom, Lynam Industries, Inc. - Fontana
  • Service-Based Entrepreneur

  • Arthur R. Rose & Timothy J. Russell, Chiro, Inc. - Bloomington
  • Small/Emerging Enterprise

  • Josephine "Fina" Meraz, Tile Designs by Fina, Inc. - Palm Desert
  • Social Entrepreneur

  • Patricia Nickols-Butler , Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County - San Bernardino
  • John Neiuber, Trinity Youth Services - Claremont
  • Best of the Best Award (top entrepreneur of the event)

    • Maria Thompson, Agile Sourcing Partners, Inc. - Corona


    As part of the event festivities, the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition was held for five future entrepreneurs to deliver a 90-second pitch about their up-and-coming venture idea to the audience and were critiqued on their overall preparation, poise and professional presentation. The top three pitches were recognized and the top student walked away with a $4,000 prize. The fast pitch, which involves students from Cal State San Bernardino, is sponsored by local entrepreneur Garner Holt of San Bernardino. Holt’s company, Garner Holt Productions, is the world’s leading manufacturer of Animatronics & Animatronic Figures. The top 3 finishers were:

    • Joelle Passerello – Shake & Go Remote
    • Jonah Michaels - EZChange
    • Mario Perez – Echo Radio


    The Spirit of the Entrepreneur event was presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University San Bernardino and sponsored by a wide range of local organizations including Best Best & Krieger LLP; Southern California News Group; Renaissance Executive Forums; Bank of America; Pro AV; City of Riverside; Business Alliance; Wilson Ivanova CPAs; Wells Fargo; San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency; UPS; CDC Small Business Finance; Varner & Brandt LLP; Riverside County Economic Development Agency; Leadership Dimensions; US Bank; and Altek Media Group..

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