2012 Spirit Award recipients unveiled at glitzy awards event! Image.
2012 Spirit Award recipients unveiled at glitzy awards event!
November 08, 2012
by Spirit Administrator
Views: 4012

Riverside, Calif., November8, 2012 – An audience of over 500 business and community leaders gathered last night to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards, an event recognizing the leadership, innovation and business acumen of entrepreneurs.

The event, held at the Ontario Convention Center, was highlighted with entertainment from Troy Clarke and his big band orchestra.

The audience received a big surprise when special musical guest Eddie Money joined the show and performed acoustic versions of his hits “Baby Hold On,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” and “Shakin’.” He also joined Troy Clarke for a special big band version of his biggest hit, “Two Tickets to Paradise.”

This year’s award recipients recognized at the black-tie gala, chosen from 25 finalists, include:

Consulting Entrepreneur

  • Kathy Walsh - Business Waste Management LLC - Wrightwood

Emerging Entrepreneur

  • Robin Allen - Necessary Nutrition, Inc. - Riverside

Family Business

  • Isaac & Lucy Gallardo - Inland Empire Autobody & Paint, Inc. - Riverside

General Entrepreneur

  • Grey Frandsen - HG Ventures, Inc./Magnolia Pool & Spa Supply - Riverside

Manufacturing Entrepreneur

  • Chris Ma - Vantage LED - Ontario

Service-Based Entrepreneur

  • Richard Balzer - IntelesysOne, Inc. - Ontario

Small Enterprise

  • Terry Anne Oelrich - Reverse Control, Inc. - Highland

Social Entrepreneur

  • Josiah Bruny - Music Changing Lives - Moreno Valley AND Bill Clarke - Technical Employment Training, Inc. - San Bernardino

Special awards presented - Lifetime Achievement, Master Entrepreneur and "Best of the Best."

The event also featured the presentation of the 2012 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement award to Jerry Mall of Riverside-based K&N Engineering, Inc., who built the company world leader in air filter technology that meets the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets, has been so successful over the years.

In addition, Bob Burlingame of Burlingame Industries was recognized with a special “Master Entrepreneur” award that is a special recognition for individuals that have often established and successfully grown multiple companies during their career, have built their company or companies into clear industry leaders and achieved significant growth and sales volume in excess of $100 million.

At the end of the regular awards presentation, the "Best of Best" award was presented to Chris Ma of Vantage LED. The award was conceived by event sponsor Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K) and the event’s presenter the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino, to recognize the “best” entrepreneur from among the 2012 award recipients.

Students pitch their business concepts as part of the Garner Holt Fast Pitch Competition

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, Bobby Brendza, 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 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 Inland Empire magazine, Best Best & Krieger LLP and Los Angeles News Group.

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