Top Arizona businesses honored as Spirit of Enterprise winners
Even the worst recession since the Great Depression couldn't stop many businesses in Arizona from boosting the state's economy and giving back to the community over the past year. Today, five of the best companies in the state were honored with Spirit of Enterprise awards for their contributions. The awards are given out each year by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University to recognize firms that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship.
"This year's finalists were distinctly divided into two groups," says Gary Naumann, director of the Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. "One group had survived the last major economic downtown by learning to reinvent themselves and thrive, and the other had emerged since the beginning of this decade by carving out new businesses and seizing new opportunities, even in the down economy."
About 800 Valley business and community leaders were on hand for the awards luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix when the winners were announced.
The 13th annual Spirit of Enterprise award winners are:
1. Answer 1 Communications - Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award. This telephone answering and remote receptionist service provides top-notch customer service. It has also embraced new technology over three decades, thriving every time its industry was faced with major changes. In addition, employees participate in two community benefits each month.
2. Caliente Construction, Inc. - Overcoming Adversity Award sponsored by the Arizona Lottery. When the company's founder became terminally ill, rather than selling off the business, his wife chose to support their employees and prove that a woman-owned construction company could succeed in a male-dominated industry. The firm now has a repeat-client/client-referral rate above 85 percent. This year, it has actually added employees and expects to see a 20 percent increase in revenue, despite the recession.
3. D. P. Electric, Inc. - Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. This fast-growing electrical contractor has a safety incentive program and an employee profit-sharing program. It also features an in-house mentoring program designed to help other minority businesses.
4. Express Digital Solutions - Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award. This authorized Xerox Corp. Agency also specializes in electronic document management and paper document scanning. The company partners with Gompers Habilitation Center to employ more than 30 adults with disabilities.
5. Terralever - Emerging Entrepreneur Award sponsored by U.S. Bank. This award-winning interactive marketing and technology services firm is an interactive partner with big names, including Facebook and Microsoft. However, it also has a goal of helping small local companies with world-class online marketing strategies.
The other Spirit of Enterprise finalists this year are Elontec, Green Ideas, JSL Management, Orchard Medical Consulting and Scott Business Group, LLC.
These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. Through the center, businesses can access short, non-degree programs for busy executives and create connections to other Arizona State University business resources. Teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students also conduct research to help Valley companies. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers. For more information about the center, go to www.spiritofenterprise.org.