By: Loren Carpenter | Category: Special Interest | Issue: June 2008
(Back Row L to R): Mike Neal, president and CEO for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, Lynda Wingo, vice-chair of the board for the Small Business Council, Dr. Jeffrey Magee, Robert Marshall, Robert Austin, Thomas E. Bennett, III and Dave Grim, Chairman of the Small Business Council. (Front Row L to R): Carmelita Skeeter, Andy Kinslow, Isabell Estes and Brad Frank.
Small business is the backbone of the American economy, leading the way in innovation and bringing new ideas and technology to the marketplace. In fact, 80 percent of Tulsa’s business community consists of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. The Tulsa Metro Chamber honored area small and emerging business award-winners at the 2008 Small Business Awards on Tuesday, April 29.
“We’re recognizing some of the best of the best,” said Mike Neal, Chamber president and CEO. “A small business owner is an entrepreneur in its truest form. These awards provide an opportunity to honor businesses that have demonstrated the best practices of entrepreneurship, such as sound business planning, fiscal responsibility and innovation in operating his or her business.”
David Rutkauskas, president and CEO of Beautiful Brands International (BBI), served as the keynote speaker at this year’s luncheon. Rutkauskas shared trade experiences of his Tulsa-based, innovative restaurant development company, which is responsible for the successful launch of worldwide franchised brands including Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Coney Beach and FreshBerry.
This year’s recipients represented a range of small business champions.
Andrew A. Kinslow, founder and one of three principals of Kinslow, Keith & Todd, Inc., was named Small Business Person of the Year. KKT provides architectural design, interior design and engineering services for commercial and institutional clients.
Dr. Jeffrey Magee, owner and publisher of “Performance Magazine,” was honored with the Small Business Journalist award. His magazine serves as a guide for performance-minded individuals, featuring exclusive articles from today’s best-selling authors and experts.
The Women in Business Champion was Isabell Estes, owner of The Entrepreneur’s Source in Tulsa. This national company offers self-employment options, franchising information, education and training for companies and individuals.
Bob Marshall, SCORE counselor, won the Veteran Small Business Champion award. SCORE is a nationwide volunteer association dedicated to helping individuals intending to start a small business, as well as those already in business who seek advice.
Family-Owned Business Person of the Year was Brad Frank, owner and president of Tulsa Tube Bending Company, Inc., the largest American pipe bending company devoted to the cold and heat induction forming of precision pipe and tube bends.
Thomas E. Bennett, III, president of ONB Bank Midtown Division and manager of the bank’s Government Guaranteed Lending Division, was named Financial Services Champion. ONB Bank sees its mission as improving the economic well-being and quality of life for everyone associated with the company, particularly its customers.
The CEO of Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, Carmelita Skeeter, was awarded Minority Small Business Champion. The center is a nonprofit health care facility providing culturally-sensitive access to comprehensive medical care.
Robert Austin, president and owner of Helicomb International, Inc., was given the Small Business Exporter award. Helicomb is one of the most acclaimed commercial and military helicopter composite repair facilities worldwide.
Congratulations to everyone honored for their excellence in small business.