Small Businesses and Nonprofits Honored in Gwinnett

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2014 Pinnacle Awards Recognizes Leaders in Growth, Innovation and Community

In an effort to recognize Gwinnett’s small businesses and entrepreneurs as pivotal to America’s economic growth and stability, the Gwinnett Chamber and Presenting Sponsor The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hosted the 2014 Pinnacle Awards on April 25. The event, themed by growth, success, and community engagement, named the Overall Small Business Person of the Year and honored dozens of successful small businesses and entrepreneurs for extraordinary achievement.

Matt Hyatt of Rocket IT received the 2014 Overall Gwinnett Small Business Person of the Year Award and was also the winner of Gwinnett’s Small Business of the Year for the 10-99 employee category. Additional Small Business of the Year Awards were presented to John Lehmberg with Make It Loud for the 1-9 employee category and Lyn Wright with Plumbing Distributors, Inc. for the 100+ employee category. Twenty-two additional small businesses were awarded Pinnacle Awards and named among the prestigious “Pinnacle Top 25” for demonstrating unprecedented growth and contribution to the community.

“These risk-takers and innovators are the ones who create jobs and provide much-needed services for our community, creating a better quality of life for everyone,” said Carla Carraway, President of Precision Planning, Inc. and 2014 Gwinnett Chamber Board Chair. “These are the leaders who are laying the foundation for a bright future of opportunity. For this, these small business owners and non-profits deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

In addition, Gwinnett’s top non-profit organizations, whose generous and inspiring efforts can be seen and felt throughout Gwinnett, were also recognized at the awards luncheon. The following organizations are the winners of the 2014 Pinnacle Nonprofit Awards: Northeast Georgia Council – Boy Scouts of America, Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center, and the 2014 Overall Nonprofit winner, Creative Enterprises, Inc.

Partnership Gwinnett and Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development joined with The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, and The Myers Group to announce the finalists and winner of the fourth annual small business plan competition – The Amazing Entrepreneur – at the Pinnacle Awards. Black Mermaid Handcrafted Soaps & Products was named the Grand Prize recipient of the contest’s Established Business category.

The Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners

Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT – Overall Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business of the Year (10-99 employee category)
Rocket IT provides best-in-class technology guidance, implementation, and support. Since 1995, Rocket IT has helped businesses meet their goals through effective use of technology. With a long history of building sustainable solutions that help companies thrive, Rocket IT actively supports a long list of diverse industries, including real estate, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Make It Loud – Small Business of the Year (1-9 employee category)
Founded in 2004 by John Lehmberg in the basement of his home, Make It Loud was created specifically to meet the web presence and marketing needs of small- and medium-sized businesses. Growth contributed to on the hiring of employees who serve Make It Loud’s clients with care and attention. As design changed and website marketing became imperative, Make It Loud also began providing search engine optimization services. With the advent of social media, Make It Loud serves that segment as well and offers complimentary training at their new storefront in Buford, enabling them to be more available and allowing them to keep relationship and solid e-marketing strategies at the forefront of their business, which is the heart of their DNA.

Plumbing Distributors, Inc. – Small Business of the Year (100+ employee category)
In 1973, Gladston Mealor opened Plumbing Distributors, Inc. in Gwinnett County. Along with his son Sid, Glad built a business which includes wholesale distribution of commercial and residential plumbing and lighting supplies, serving contractors and homeowners. PDI’s largest location and headquarters remains in Lawrenceville, but their business has expanded to include Nashville, Tennessee where a new showroom is opening soon. PDI’s core values – accountability, commitment, flexibility, integrity, loyalty, and teamwork – remain intact and have been the backbone of their success for more than 40 years. Following the passing of Glad and Sid, PDI has stayed on course with Glad’s daughter, Lyn Wright, serving as Chairman of the Board.

Aaron Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning
Aaron Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning was founded over thirty years ago by Aaron Adams’ father, Tim. Today Aaron and Tim, fourth and third generation master plumbers, work together managing a team of highly trained, licensed technicians committed to customer satisfaction and high quality service. Aaron Plumbing is family-owned and operated, with many family members working in the office and in the field. The company has expanded over the years and now includes HVAC and septic departments. Aaron Plumbing has earned over 850 online five-star reviews, has won the Angie’s List Super Service Award four times, and is dedicated to bringing the Gwinnett community the best in home service.

Ace Truck Body & Trailer Repair, Inc.
Ace Truck Body & Trailer Repair, Inc. was founded in 1981 by Al Karnitz. Located in Norcross, Al saw the need for a heavy truck and trailer repair shop that offered full service engine repair, including paint booths, tractor cab and trailer repairs. Ace has grown to a sizeable business because its employees value their customers and treat them fairly with reasonable prices, quick turnaround, and constant communication. As a result, Ace has loyal customers who have been with them for 33 years! The company’s mission statement reflects its feeling of obligation to its customers: “You had a choice and you chose us.”

Action Awards
Action Awards produces recognition products and advertising specialty items, including t-shirt screen printing and other wearables, sportswear embroidery, and the design and production of custom trophies and awards. They also produce digital promotional signs and banners, and source and distribute out-of-house specialty items. Action Awards mainly serves the corporate market, small businesses, and schools.

bella fiore’ salon
bella fiore’ is a hair salon specializing in haircuts, coloring, highlights, perms, straighteners, and formal settings. bella fiore’ caters to women, men, and children, striving to provide the best quality hair services so that each client enjoys their experience. Their mission is to minister to the needs of clients and the community as well as nurture their souls, realizing that true happiness with oneself starts on the inside.

Boyce Design and Contracting
Boyce Design and Contracting is a custom design and general contracting company that specializes in high-end residential remodeling and outdoor living spaces. Boyce offers clients an integrated process of project design and implementation that allows them to create their ideal living space or addition to their home. Boyce’s professional team of designers and project managers has a strong commitment to quality and the creation of unique and functional spaces. Boyce Design and Contracting prides itself in building strong working relationships that are based on trust and communication to ensure satisfaction.

Breda Pest Management
Breda Pest Management is a family-owned company that offers pest and rodent control, wildlife exclusion, termite and mosquito control, bed bug heat treatments, and borate insulation. Breda has proudly serviced the entire Atlanta metropolitan area since 1975 and is the only termite and pest control company using a Flir Infrared Camera and Termatrac for all inspections. Breda’s technicians are certified by The Infraspection Institute, the worldwide leader in infrared training. Breda Pest Management believes in better service through science and technology.

CablesAndKits is one of the fastest-growing privately-owned, pre-owned/refurbished Cisco network equipment dealers in the U.S., and one of the largest Cisco network accessory suppliers in the world. With a sharp focus on using technology to better reach and service customers and streamline processes, CablesAndKits has quickly become one of the most efficient companies in their industry. Their goal is to make customers’ shopping and service experiences awesome in every way. At the core of who they are, they aim to positively impact customers and their businesses so that they will be successful in their endeavors.

Cornerstone Financial Partners, LLC
John Winters and Tim Thornberry built Cornerstone Financial Partners, LLC believing that trusted guidance is the result of tenacious commitment to the client. As an asset and wealth management firm, Cornerstone has had the pleasure of forging lasting relationships. Their style of prudent advice for families, businesses, and their advisors has proven quite successful for Cornerstone. Tim and John are extremely grateful for the trust and confidence of their clients and the community.

Dentistry 4 You
“When you are here, you are family.” The Dentistry4You team takes time to get to know patients and looks forward to building lifelong relationships. Dentistry4You cares for all patients age four and older and can accommodate all dental needs under one roof, including cleanings, crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, clear braces, and cosmetic dentistry.

Dexter’s Farm
Dexter’s Farm is a fresh produce, dairy, and egg distributor servicing Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and the Carolinas, as well as proudly serving the children in our schools and military troops. Dexter’s Farm specializes in regional and national restaurant chains and government facilities. With a passion for ensuring customer satisfaction and doing the right thing while continuing to show tremendous growth, Dexter’s Farm has earned both local and national recognition. Dexter’s Farm recently celebrated 30 years in business and is an associate-owned company.

Duluth Animal Hospital
Duluth Animal Hospital is a veterinary hospital offering medicine, surgery, acupuncture, boarding and grooming to the Gwinnett community. Duluth Animal Hospital is American Animal Hospital Association accredited, which is the highest level of certification an animal hospital can achieve – meaning Duluth Animal Hospital voluntarily complies with the highest standards in the profession and has undergone rigorous evaluations since 1987.

Fox Building Company
Fox Building Company is a design-build general contractor specializing in commercial and industrial building construction. Fox assists clients in site selection, civil and architectural design, budgeting, financing, and provides complete turn-key construction services. Founded in 1985 in Gwinnett County, Fox Building Company has completed over 700 construction projects. Fox has unlimited licenses in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, as well as extensive experience with tenant improvements and building renovations.

Green Financial Resources, LLC
Roger S. Green, MSFS, CFP® and the staff of Green Financial Resources, LLC (GFR) have helped individuals and small businesses with their investment decisions since 1987. With a strong focus on educating his community and a unique philosophy to aid those seeking help with their money, Roger has built a business that has differentiated itself from most in his field. Green Financial garnered accolades including Top 100 and Top 1000 Independent Advisor for many years in Barron’s and Registered Rep magazines, and most recently achieved the Barron’s Top 1,200 list in February 2014. Green was one of five advisors selected nationally to the Research Magazine 2009 Advisor Hall of Fame.

Hire Dynamics
Hire Dynamics is the largest staffing provider in Gwinnett County and second largest in metro Atlanta, specializing in contact (call) centers, manufacturing facilities, logistics/e-commerce operations, and office positions. Hire Dynamics operates nine offices with an additional 16 on-site locations. Placements range from short-term contract to high volume direct hire. In 2013, Hire Dynamics put over 15,000 people to work with their clients. CEO Dan Campbell serves as the 2014 Chairman of the American Staffing Association (ASA), and Hire Dynamics was ranked the 3rd “Best Places to Work” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2013, top 5 “Best Staffing Firms to Work For in the U.S.” for four years in a row by Staffing Industry Analyst, and is a five-time Pacesetter Award winner for being among Atlanta’s top growth companies according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

LeCraw Engineering, Inc.
LeCraw Engineering, Inc. provides a wide range of civil engineering, landscape architecture, and surveying services to clients throughout the country. From project planning and due diligence to construction documents, permits and construction phase services, LEI offers complete civil engineering services with outstanding client service and high quality results. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, LeCraw Engineering offers quality design, permitting, and entitlement services. A combination of strategic partnerships and low overhead allows LEI to offer clients more affordable engineering solutions, without sacrificing in the highest level of design. From the smallest of projects all the way up to national program rollouts, LEI’s experience speaks for itself.

A trusted industrial partner, PartnerTech develops and manufactures products on behalf of leading businesses in the market areas of defense and maritime, industry, information technology, MedTech & instrumentation, CleanTech, and point of sale applications. With almost 1,400 employees at its plants in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, the UK, the United States and China, PartnerTech reports annual sales of approximately $335MM. PartnerTech Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PartnerTech AB of Sweden. The North American facility is located in Atlanta, one of the three largest distribution markets in the U.S., offering customers the ability to reach more than 80 percent of U.S. consumers within two flight hours or two truckload delivery days.

Signarama Buford
Signarama Buford is a full-service commercial sign and promotional items company, which contributes to their local community growth by helping other businesses grow and succeed. Signarama Buford provides not just signs, but marketing and branding expertise to increase visibility, and ultimately sales. Signarama Buford has enjoyed double-digit growth the past three years, increasing sales by 51 percent in 2012 and 22 percent in 2013. Signarama Buford’s involvement with the Gwinnett Chamber and the community has helped them become one of the top producing Signarama franchisees in the world. In 2011, Signarama Buford purchased an 8,000-squarefoot building, expanded business and services to ensure future growth, and increased its staff by 40 percent in the past three years.

The Work Spot
The Work Spot features the casualness of a coffee shop with the setting and infrastructure of a modern office. Space is a mix of private offices, conference rooms, and co-working spaces shared by like-minded entrepreneurs and consultants, designed to be accessible and comfortable while also providing exposure and privacy required for all to thrive. The Work Spot is a community that uses space, programs, and a human capital network to create daily opportunities for growth, support, and learning (by doing or watching) for entrepreneurs at all stages of development. The Work Spot offers programming, in collaboration with members and the community at-large, that get entrepreneurs out of their seats and immersed in the entrepreneurship community, including a mentorship program that connects entrepreneurs with experts and seasoned entrepreneurs.

Wages & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematories
Family-owned and operated, Wages & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematories has served the metro Atlanta area for over 40 years. Jeffrey Wages and his brother Bill, both Gwinnett County residents, are active participants in the community and are committed to providing the highest possible quality in funeral care. Wages & Sons takes great pride in helping families make well-planned arrangements that celebrate the unique lives of their loved ones. Their expertise in serving a diverse group of nationalities, cultures, and beliefs comes from a love for the community and years of experience with many different rites and rituals.

Willis Mechanical
Founded in 2002 by Leticia and Grant Willis and proud to call Gwinnett home, Willis Mechanical continues to grow and perform for its customers. Willis Mechanical clients enjoy factory-trained technicians at a reasonable price with immediate response times. With clients ranging from manufacturers and data centers to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sensitive military installations, Willis Mechanical manages commercial or industrial facilities with expert precision. With factory trained personnel on call every minute of every day, Willis Mechanical is ready to handle any problems clients have, whenever it happens.

The Pinnacle Non-Profit Award Winners
Creative Enterprises, Inc. – Overall Nonprofit Winner
An adult day support center and job training facility, the mission of Creative Enterprises, Inc. is to assist persons with disabilities and others with barriers to employment in maximizing their potential. Creative Enterprises accomplishes that mission by planning and evaluating programming and staff performance through a statement of values: (1) Those we serve come first, (2) Respect for all persons, (3) Choose to have a positive attitude, and (4) Provide excellence in service. Creative Enterprises currently serves more than 100 people with disabilities, the majority of which are developmentally disabled.

Northeast Georgia Council – Boy Scouts of America
The Northeast Georgia Council was chartered by the Boy Scouts of America in 1935 to provide programs in twenty-six counties. After years of phenomenal growth in the northeast Georgia area, the council now serves more than 32,000 Scouts and Scout leaders. Three camping facilities including Camp Rainey, Camp Rotary, and Scoutland, and two service centers in Jefferson and Lawrenceville are provided for support.

Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center, Inc.
The mission of Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center, Inc. (SPARC) is to empower and equip single parents with the necessary tools, resources and support to enable them to create a healthy home environment and nurture their children into productive and successful adults. SPARC was incorporated as a community-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency in 2001. Since its inception, it has worked diligently to improve the lives of single parent families in the community.

Additional sponsors include Supporting Sponsors Andersen, Tate, & Carr, PC, Delta Community Credit Union, Moore Stephens Tiller LLC; Corporate Sponsors BrandBank and Constant Contact; and Partner Sponsors Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus, Guardian, and Signarama Buford. For more information, visit or contact Cally D’Angelo at 678-957-4958 or

Traci Strom | 678.584.2267 |
Abby Wilkerson | 678.584.2266 |

Cally D’Angelo | 678.957.4958 |