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January 23, 2001

Governor Announces 2001 Small Business Award Winners

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the winners of the Governor's Small Business Awards, which recognize the important contribution that small business owners make to the Illinois economy.

"These awards are given to a select group of small business owners who've demonstrated how hard work and determination pay off. They represent the very best of Illinois' entrepreneurial spirit," Ryan said.

"This year's award winners each took some inspiration, added some perspiration and came up with successful businesses. They are to be commended for turning dreams into reality and making their communities better places to live," added Lt. Governor Corinne Wood, who presented the awards on behalf of Governor Ryan.

The awards program is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and is designed to complement the U.S. Small Business Administration's award program. Through an agreement with the SBA, all Illinois award winners will be forwarded to the SBA for consideration for its awards.

Categories include: Small Business Person of the Year, Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year, Women in Business Advocate of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and an Entrepreneurial Success Award.

"This is the second year for the Governor's Small Business Summit, and based on last year's experience, the event should provide state officials with valuable information on how to work closely with members of the small business community on critical issues and concerns that affect them," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "The award winners we are honoring tonight provide excellent examples of how personal commitment and hard work can make a big difference."

Under Governor Ryan's leadership, state programs that assist small businesses have received additional resources and are able to serve more clients. The Governor's commitment to expanding trade and promoting technology are also paying dividends for small business owners across Illinois.

For more information about the Governor's Small Business Award Program and the Governor's Small Business 2000 Summit contact the DCCA Small Business Division at 217/524-5856. For information about the programs and services available to assist Illinois businesses through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, contact the First Stop Business Information Center at 800/252-2923 (TDD: 800/785-6055) or visit the DCCA Web site at www.commerce.state.il.us.

A list of the Governor's Small Business Award winners is attached.

Governor's Small Business Person of the Year Awards

Patricia A. Gallagher
Evergreen Supply Company
Everlights, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois

Patricia Gallagher is President of Evergreen Supply Company. She founded Evergreen in 1986 as the first female-owned electrical supply company in the Chicagoland area. Evergreen started as a one-person, home-based business and now successfully employs 22 full-time employees. In the company's 14-year history, Evergreen Supply has developed a loyal customer base and reputation for reliability and excellent services.

Patricia Roberts
T.L.C. Custom Cleaning, Inc.
Wadsworth, Illinois

Patricia Roberts is president of T.L.C. Custom Cleaning, Inc., a commercial cleaning and maintenance services of business located in Wadsworth. Patricia created T.L.C. Custom Cleaning in 1991 as a residential cleaning service, and after three years, was successful in expanding her cleaning operation to serve commercial businesses. Patricia's commitment to providing customer service satisfaction has helped the company grow to 28 employees.

Jeanne Meeks
Owner and Chief Executive Office
Video Master, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois

Jeanne Meeks is the owner and chief executive officer of Video Master, Inc., which specializes in the design and installation of closed-circuit video surveillance systems and access control systems. Founded in 1977, with two employees, Video Master successfully employs 28 full-time staff and has recorded revenues in excess of $5.5 million. Video Masters is a closely held family business and is considered by its competitors, vendors, and clients to be a major player in the security industry and one of the knowledgeable and reliable providers of electronic surveillance systems in the Chicago area.

Denise E. Maloney
Just for Kids Daycare Center
Eldorado, Illinois

Denise Maloney is the owner of Maloney's Just For Kids Daycare Center, the only privately owned day care center in Saline County. In 1995, Denise started a daycare in Eldorado out of her home. Two years later, she received a special license allowing her to increase the number of children from eight to fourteen. In January 2000, Just for Kids Daycare decided to expand, by moving to a building that would accommodate more children. Just for Kids Daycare now has 64 full and part-time children.

Richard E. Shuetz, Charles W. Baird, Matthew C. Barton, Ann M. Peek
Berco Construction Inc.
Godfrey, Illinois

Berco Constuction Inc. is an incorporated general contracting business based in Godfrey, Illinois. In 1998, Richard E. Shuetz, Charles W. Baird, Matthew C. Barton, and Ann M. Peek created the management construction and maintenance services business. The company's annual sales increased 89 percent in 1999, and they are projecting a 69 percent increase for the year 2000.

Darlene H. Weaver, CKD, CBD, ASID & Curt Mavis, CKD, CBD, ASID
Distinctive Enterprise, Inc. DBA Distinctive Designs for Kitchen and Baths
Springfield, Illinois

Darlene Weaver and Curt Mavis are co-owners of Distinctive Designs for Kitchen and Baths in Springfield, Illinois. Since 1990, the company has specialized in unique designs for residential kitchens and bathrooms, but also frequently helps create unique entertainment centers, home office and other creative space areas. The company expanded its services to provide design expertise to commercial businesses, creating specialized executive offices, break rooms, workrooms, reception areas and more. Both Darlene and Curt are certified kitchen and bath designers and continued their education to receive the National Council of Interior Design Qualification. They currently employ six full-time designers and have a staff of ten employees.

Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Awards

Carmen Fuentes
Carmen's Jewelry
Moline, Illinois

Carmen Fuentes is the owner of Carmen's Jewelry. In 1993, Carmen opened her business in the Hispanic neighborhood of Floreciente in the Quad City area. Starting the business on a shoestring budget, she forged ahead and overcame a language barrier to create a successful jewelry business. Her commitment to succeed is demonstrated by her reputation, community involvement and visibility as a minority success model. Carmen is a strong advocate for women and minority business owners.

Bernice M. McClendon
President and Executive Director
Educational Training & Development, Inc.
South Holland, Illinois

Bernice McClendon is president and executive director of Educational Training & Development, Inc. (EDI) in South Holland. EDI is a not-for-profit, minority female owned business that focuses on community and economic development opportunities for small, minority and female business. Bernice has been an advocate for minority businesses and entrepreneurs for more than a decade. She has provided more than 1,000 hours in counseling to more than 500 small, minority and women-owned businesses in loan packaging credit counseling, financing, business plan writing, startup and nurturing.

Ralph G. Moore
President and Owner
Ralph G. Moore & Associates
Chicago, Illinois

Ralph G. Moore is president and owner of Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA) in Chicago. Ralph founded the firm in 1979 and currently has a staff of 25 professionals. RGMA is a full-service, management consulting firm and a recognized leader in supplier diversity development for major corporations and business advisory services for emerging minority and women-owned businesses. Ralph is a director of several emerging firms and is an active lecturer, writer and seminar presenter on minority business and public policy issues. He is the co-founder and president of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, a Chicago based organization of leading African-American business owners. Women in Business Advocate of the Year Awards

Sharon T. Alpi
Tabor School of Business Center For Entrepreneurship

Sharon T. Alpi is the Director of the Tabor Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of Management at Millikin University in Decatur. Since 1990, Sharon has been a member of the Tabor School of Business faculty, advocating for opportunities for women in business. Sharon is the author of "A Resource Guide for Starting a Business," a publication used for the Small Business Administration SBI program and co-developed the Entrepreneurial Consulting - An International Experience course.

Rick Clary
Union Bank
Princeton, Illinois

Rick Clary is president of Central Region/Union Bank in Princeton. For several years, he has been actively involved in numerous activities advocating opportunities for women to own their own business in Bureau County. He has been responsible for helping Union Bank secure small business loans for women totaling $2,737,620 from October 1999 to September 2000. Rick's dedication has been demonstrated by his efforts to organize numerous events and provide information and education to potential women business entrepreneurs.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

James Mathew Raben
Owner and Operator
Grayson Fish Farms
Eldorado, Illinois

James Mathew Raben is a 24-year-old entrepreneur, who is the owner and operator of Grayson Fish Farms in Eldorado. In July of 1999, James researched and developed a plan to start an aquaculture business to power recaptured coal mine methane gas and contacted the Small Business Development Center of Southeastern Illinois College to assist with his business plan. Today, James successfully uses new and innovative techniques to raise Talapia fish, as well as selling energy by operating generators from methane gas. James currently employs three people.

Entrepreneurial Success Awards

Patricia Ferguson/President
Girish Seshagiri/CEO
Advanced Information Services, Inc.
Peoria, Illinois

In 1986, Girish founded Advanced Information Services Inc. (AIS) to create high wage, high technology jobs in information services in Central Illinois. The 14 year-old company based in Peoria, Illinois, started with one employee and has successfully grown to employ 140 people. AIS has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurship through its unique design and approach to create an innovative, fast-paced, intensive technical training program to retrain college-educated people with skills to become computer programmers and enter into high-wage technology jobs.


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