The 2014 Recipient
Michael Farms is the winner of the 2014 Entrepreneurial Business Award. Michael Farms is located in Urbana and specializes in supplying grocery retailers and food service distributors in Ohio and surrounding states with top quality fresh produce. The truly innovative aspect of the company is that they are a company of many firsts—creating personalized hydrocoolers, microwavable products, and grocery store data analysis programs to name a few. Also, Michael’s was the first farm in Ohio to install a center pivot irrigation system in 1965. What started as a small potato farm on 130 acres has grown to be the largest vegetable farm in the state encompassing nearly 3000 acres. Michael Farms has shown a commitment to the Urbana community for over 50 years. The company is a second-generation, going on third, family owned and operated company that stresses the importance of innovation, common sense and hard work. Michael Farms has 25 full-time and as many as 120 seasonal workers during the harvest season.
The 2013 Recipient
The Hall Company is the winner of the 2013 Entrepreneurial Business Award. The Hall Company is located in Urbana and specializes in the production of membrane and capacitive switches. The truly innovative element of the company is their usage of capacitive switches in the medical field. At the time, no other company produces this technology for medical equipment. The capacitive switches are a state-of-the-art innovation used in CAT Scanners, cancer lasers, and DaVinci surgical robots that can detect distance from objects without actually making contact. Major companies such as GE have started to install The Hall Company’s capacitive switches into their medical machines.
The Hall Company has shown a commitment to the Urbana community for over 50 years. The company is a third-generation, family owned and operated company that stressed the importance of keeping Ohioans employed. In an age where many companies have chosen to outsource their product, the business has stayed local and continues to support the Southern-Ohio economy by providing job security to roughly 35 employees. The current CEO, Kyle Hall, commented that the average time that an employee has worked for The Hall Company is 25 years.
The 2012 Recipient
SARICA is the winner of the 2012 Entrepreneurial Business Award. SARICA is a local woman-run company, founded in 2005, recognized for their innovation in aviation lighting. The company is recognized as the 2012 Entrepreneurial Business Award for their innovative LED obstruction lighting products with Hughey & Phillips. SARICA Manufacturing produces circuit card assemblies, cables and harnesses, LED metal core assemblies, wire kits, and obstruction lights. The company started out in a small building in downtown Urbana and has recently expanded into a 50,000 square-foot building on Twain Avenue in Urbana. After purchasing Hughey & Phillips in 2009 the company began producing energy-saving products for wind turbines and obstruction lighting. Today the company employs over 65 people. 80% of the employees that were hired were previously unemployed when they started with SARICA. Helping the local economy through employing Champaign County residents and using area suppliers is a large part of the company’s culture. In fact 60% of the company’s suppliers are local.
The 2011 Recipient
Freshwater Farms of Ohio is the winner of the 2011 Entrepreneurial Business Award. Located in Champaign County, Freshwater Farms is a five-acre fish farm that raises more than 100,000 pounds of fish yearly. The judging panel consisting of local business managers, government officials and past EBAward winners chose Freshwater Farms for its culture of innovation and environmental sustainability efforts which has made it the largest fish hatchery in Ohio. Since Dr. Dave Smith opened Freshwater Farms in 1986, it has proven to be a leader in the fish hatchery industry and Dr. Smith has served as a mentor to numerous other fish hatcheries.
The 2010 Recipient
The Champion Company is the winner of the 2010 Entrepreneurial Business Award. Champion was founded in 1878, and has been in business for 131 years. Headquartered in Springfield, and calling itself “Springfield’s best kept secret”, the champion Company is a funeral supply company that is truly innovative and setting the pace for the embalming industry. In April 2009, Champion released its 4th generation line of funeral products. The line, called ENIGMA, is the first and only product of its kind and is the only embalming fluid to receive the prestigious Green burial Council seal of approval. The product allows families and funeral directors around the world to have a safe responsible alternative to formaldehyde based burial products. The Champion Company was founded on innovative values and this is still seen in its continuous improvements in the funeral industry.
The 2009 Recipient
Oxiem Marketing uses marketing and positioning on the web to drive business for its clients. Oxiem combines high-performance web marketing modules, branded site design, advanced technology and search marketing ability in a customized and easy to navigate system for the client. Clients are able to see measurable and productive impacts including increases in revenue and the quality of web traffic, optimizing their on-site experience, and enhancing return visit rates. Matching the mindset of the market, taking technology to the marketer, and client convenience are all keys to Oxiem’s success.
The 2008 Recipient:
Comfort Keepers provides in-home non-medical care. This company started out in a spare bedroom in owner Kris Clum’s home, and has now grown into an international business with operations in more than 11 countries around the world. Nothing is more important to Comfort Keepers than helping people live full, independent and dignified lives within the comfort of their own homes. Some of these services include conversation and companionship, medication reminders, bathing, and mobility assistance. Clum recognized a small niche and turned it into an extremely successful, multi-national business.
The 2007 Recipient:
Safety Through Engineering is an engineering consulting firm who specializes in construction projects that involve safety training. STE is a company who has found an innovative market niche where safety and engineering come together. The company has a team of certified engineering experts who design construction plans while integrating safety regulations into the blueprints. Safety Through Engineering prides itself on raising the quality of life for workers and has worked with hundreds of clients, including Honda, NASA, and Disney.
The 2006 Recipient:
The Happy Soul is a retailer of luxury bath, spa, and aromatherapy products that sells exclusively through home party, catalog, and internet sales. The mission of this company is to provide people with the opportunity to enjoy life more through taking time for their souls. The Happy Soul sells high-quality products at affordable prices. Their products include many imported products as well as their own private label line of aromatherapy products. All orders are shipped within 24 hours. The Happy Soul boasts exponential, well-managed growth and currently has over 100 consultants.
The 2005 Recipient:
Young’s Dairy is a business building a tradition. This tradition is built on the importance of history and family. From the very beginning and still today, the management of Young’s has been the Young family. Young’s has come up with a number of innovative ways for their market to have fun with activities like Udders and Putters and batting cages. Young’s focuses on quality and customer satisfaction. These are important values which contribute to Young’s tradition.
The 2004 Recipient:
Freedom Feeds is the world leader in aquatic feed technology. They have developed The VegiPRO brand, which is the world’s first fishmeal and animal-byproduct free food for carnivorous and omnivorous fish species. They are the only feed manufacturer with an in-house aquatic research lab. They have also developed the Fish Trac computer program which allows fish farmers to track several efficiency factors for making sound management decisions.
The 2003 Recipient:
Kapp Construction stands out in the community for its innovative integration of the latest technology into the construction industry. The use of wireless technology such as PalmPilots has served to significantly reduce the amount of paper used in the offices. By the use of what owner Randy Kapp calls “The Paperless System,” Kapp Construction employees have become both experienced and efficient in the use of modern technology. All of these factors help Kapp stay organized, reduce costs, and remain competitively efficient.
The 2002 Recipient:
Ohio Feedlot, Inc. utilizes locally grown corn, brewery grain, silage, alfalfa, and other by-products to feed many types of cattle from beef to dairy. Ohio Feedlots has added value for their customers (cattle ranchers) by providing a unique experience in an environmentally friendly facility. With their unique by-product practices, owner Dave Long transformed an unsuccessful feedlot into a thriving multi-million dollar business. Ohio Feedlot has grown to the largest feedlot east of the Mississippi, comprising of 160 acres that feed up to 10,000 head of cattle at one time.
The 2001 Recipient:
Rothschild Berry Farms originated in 1976 as a pick-your-own raspberry farm located in Urbana, Ohio. Over the period of 10 years, the company has grown into a seven million-dollar business, branching into the development and creation of specialty foods. In addition, Rothschild has built an Italian lunch café and gift shop on his berry farm. Rothschild was the first in his field to create a pretzel dip, a fruit salsa, and fruit-based mustard. His gourmet cuisine is distributed nationwide and continues to receive critical acclamation. Rothschild’s received its EBAward for its successful process for developing and commercializing new products.
The 2000 Recipient:
Rittal Corporation received the 2000 EBAward for the introduction of a new concept for product design and selection that utilizes the best of what technology has to offer. The new RiQuest provides customers with a sophisticated and intuitive toll that allows the CD-ROM software to be used in combination with a website to offer the speed of the CD and the current information and online communication of the Internet. Now customers can use RiQuest to select Rittal products, download CAD drawings, submit orders online via the Order Center, and much more! Rittal has over 9,000 current users of their CD-ROM and expect to add numerous more with their new website
The 1999 Co-Recipients:
Hearlihy & Company received the 1999 EBAward for implementing its modular technology for the classroom. This new approach to learning changes the traditional approach to teaching in the classroom. Teams of students work autonomously at their modular stations instead of in full class discussions. The students have the opportunity to learn from hands-on experience in conjunction with other students, which teaches them the necessity of teamwork. The high tech status of the modular curricular programs exposes the students to the impact of technology on education and self-paced learning for which this company leads the education field. Hearlihy’s approach to educational products provides an innovative way for high school students to learn new skills and improve skills as future employees.
OSMI and Morgal Machine Company received the 1999 EBAward for the development and implementation of the pilot metal industry credentialing process. With its selection as the pilot site for development of a new, industry-wide, employee credentialing process, OSMI/Morgal Machine Co. proved its leadership role in the metal fabrication industry. This company’s emphasis on the critical need for workers to continually enhance their skills helps workers realize the value of continuous learning and its role in success as an adult.
The 1998 Recipient:
AccuSource, Inc. received the 1998 EBAward for its “Living Resume,” a CD-ROM based approach to placing prospective employees. It provides employers not only with the standard resume and application form, but also makes it possible to electronically send visual samples of their work, scores on standardized skill tests, photos, or audio interviews to display communication skills. This technological break-through enables students to conduct effective job search programs, in addition to helping employers find highly qualified workers.