A slew of Gilbert businesses and business owners received kudos for their entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts during the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce’s Eighth Annual Business Awards on Wednesday.
The chamber gave the awards to businesses both small and large, as well as to individual business owners who contributed to the community through volunteer efforts.
The latter recognition went to Jill Schiefelbein of Impromptu Guru, who was nominated alongside Tracey Groy of the Original Basket Boutique and James Stoes of Edward Jones Investments.
Schiefelbein received the award for volunteer work she conducts for the chamber as well as outside of it, including the Boys & Girls Club, the Phoenix Women’s Sports Association and the Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA.
“When I was told I was nominated, I was very shocked because a lot of what I do is behind the scenes,” she said.
Also receiving individual kudos was Bobbi Smith, who took home the Gilbert Leadership Award granted to graduates of the Gilbert Leadership academy.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing bested Advance Paper & Maintenance Supply, Gecko Grill, Norwood Furniture, R & K Building Supplies, Inc., and Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants to win the Family Business of the Year, while Farm Bureau Financial Services — Lisa Fairbanks took home Employer of Choice ahead of Orbital Sciences Corporation and Plumbing Medic, Inc.
“This is the greatest award any manager can receive,” Fairbanks said.
The ceremony concluded with awards for the small, medium and large businesses of the year in Gilbert. Sun Valley Medical Billing, LLC, won the first category that featured 910 West, Apricot Lane, GroundZero Restoration, LLC, Rayhons Financial Solutions, Original Basket Boutique, Printwerx, Savante Salon and Woodward Construction.
The Medium Business of the Year went to Bushtex, Inc., ahead of 20 Volume Salon and Spa, A Child’s Place at the Ranches, LLC, Hyatt Place Phoenix-Gilbert, John’s Refrigeration and Re/Max Solutions. Large Business of the Year went to Rigid Industries, which was nominated alongside Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and Southwest Airlines.
Rigid Industries has undergone a 1,900 percent growth since 2010, having grown its employee pool from nine to 210 between January 2010 and December 2013. President and CEO Jason Christiansen said the honor served as almost a shock considering how much his company has grown since opening it as a hobby out of his garage.
“I was an athlete; I never thought I’d be a business entrepreneur,” he said.
The event, hosted by San Tan Elegante Conference & Reception Center, also included special recognitions for San Tan Ford owner Tim Hovik, who awarded the chamber with a $28,600 check. Mayor John Lewis received his own recognition from the chamber, and he emphasized the importance of business to the town’s continued growth — Gilbert is now the sixth-largest municipality in Arizona — in a speech.
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