EBE Hall of Fame inducts local business ownersWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Several individuals and local companies were inducted into the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 at the Franciscan Center of Lourdes College.
The awards ceremony was hosted by founding sponsor Gorillas & Gazelles LLC, a local provider of individual and organizational development solutions.
The Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), Rocket Ventures and Launch programs of RGP were event sponsors for the event with BGSU and UT as partnering sponsors.
Business Excellence Awards were presented to five individuals and their companies.
Bob Armbruster of Clean Team Inc. of Toledo began the commercial cleaning business at 18 out of his parents’ home and garage. He built the business into a company with 135 employees that is looking to expand in Ohio with potential satellite offices.
“I’ve had a lot of help from many people over the years and learned that people are a great value. Everyone makes mistakes, but people should not be afraid to fail while going for their dreams,” Armbruster said.
“We get away with doing some goofy things in our business, such as holding the Janitor Olympics, an annual event with actual competition.”
Fred Zoeller of Laminate Technologies Inc. in Tiffin said it takes a series of checks and balances to achieve its goals. The company already surpassed its goal of growing to $2 million in sales.
“I’m living the dream beyond all expectations by cultivating a culture of teamwork and camaraderie. We have experienced phenomenal sales growth due to our employees and key management,” Zoeller said.
The 100 members of the LamTech team have accomplished the goals of the company, following the values he learned from his family. He also recognized the support of his wife Louise and son Chris who are involved in the family business.
Bob MacQueen of MacQueen Orchards, Inc. in Holland runs the family business his father started by planting the first tree in 1936. The company has more than 250 acres of orchards where 15 varieties of apples are grown and sold in the company store with the cider mill and gift shop.
MacQueen Orchards celebrates the Apple Stir & Crafts Festival the first weekend in October which attracts 20,000 visitors for the two-day event.
“None of it could be accomplished without the direct involvement of the entire family, including my wife Marlene, our children and grandchildren. I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” said MacQueen, who was nominated by his grandson Arin.
Roger Curtis of Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, Mich., has a $400 million impact on the local and regional economies, including some businesses in Toledo.
The NASCAR racetrack attracts 350,000 people on race weekends with 46 full-time, more than 100 part-time workers and hundreds of volunteers.
“We look at ourselves as an entertainment facility on 1,400 acres of land where we brought the focus back to the fans,” Curtis said. “We create lasting memories for every fan by making sure that every guest has the experience of a lifetime.”
Curtis told a story about meeting a 90-year old man who had seen every race at MIS.
“We took him for a ride around the track and he was so happy that he cried.”
Curtis said it was an honor to be acknowledged because MIS is not from the Toledo area, but appreciates the support of businesses and people here who contribute to their success.
Brian Roth of Trufast, LLC in Bryan took over the company seven years ago. At age 45, Roth said he decided it was time to operate his own business after working in banking for many years.
Trufast is a leading supplier of screws and fasteners for the commercial construction industry and recently ventured into the retail market. The company is making 600 million fasteners a year at only 50 percent capacity.
“Our job is to hold the world together,” Roth said. “I surround myself with people who really care and humbly accept this award on their behalf and share it with my folks who owned their own business.”
Tim Goligoski and Ken Kuhlman of Kuhlman Corporation in Toledo accepted the Excellence in Family Business Award.
Adam Kuhlman formed his first company in the 1890s. Today, the Kuhlman Corporation is still family owned and operated.
“Our employees go above and beyond the call of duty,” Goligoski said. “We provide quality product with the latest technology and excellent customer service.”
The company donated the concrete and its employees gave hours of their time for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition project in Toledo as a way of giving back to the community.
“We’re just temporary stewards of this wonderful family business who try living up to the legacy of Adam Kuhlman,” Ken said.
Mary and Rick Anderson of Radco Industries, Inc. accepted the Innovation in Technology Award.
The couple purchased the machining business from the bank two years ago after working in The Andersons family business for many years.
“We’re a company that generates new technologies and builds machines one at a time,” Rick said.
In addition to continuing the machine business, the company introduced the infusion of color into materials with dyes and created a machine to make artisan bread.
“The innovation and creativity of our employees is the common denominator in all three of those businesses. You should have heard the cheers when the first loaf of bread came out.”
The Davenport-Longenecker Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Advocacy went to Debbe Skutch, director of the Family Business Center at UT.
“I’m the luckiest person in the world and have the best job at UT where I get to work with the neatest companies and entrepreneurs in this region,” said Skutch, who served on the 2009 executive committee for the Hall of Fame Awards.