May 15, 2008

SBTC Congratulates HD Web Studio and Business Award Winners

Local businesses and executives were recognized Wednesday for their significant accomplishments and contributions to the community.

The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce presented the awards during a Business Appreciation Luncheon at the Bassett Country Club.

The following awards were presented by the EDC:

The Cutting Edge Award, presented to Applied Felts. The award goes to a business that has kept ahead of the technology curve.

EDC President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Heath said Applied Felts has seen continuous growth since it opened in 1997, and its staff has grown from 25 to 125.

The firm has a modern Web site, which in today’s business world is “the way business gets done,” he said.

Charlie Mattox, the firm’s general manager, accepted the award.

The Keystone Award, presented to StarTek. The award goes to the firm that created the most jobs during the past year.

StarTek, a call center, opened in 2004 and now employs 820 people, Heath said. About 140 of those jobs were created in 2007, he said.
Site Director Mike King accepted the award.

The Pillar Award, presented to Cynthia Ingram, who recently retired as dean of continuing education and work force development at Patrick Henry Community College. The award recognizes lifetime achievement.

“She devoted her life to enhancing the livelihood of all the citizens of this area,” Heath said.

According to Heath, Ingram was instrumental in the founding of PHCC’s School of Craft and Design as well as the Southern Virginia Artisan Center. Those entities have boosted the arts’ local economic impact and helped the area “take a giant step forward” in diversifying its economy, he said.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, presented to Joey Arrington, president of Arrington Engines. The award recognizes the perseverance of a business or executive.

Heath said that Arrington’s firm is “constantly introducing” new innovations in the racing industry.

He added that Arrington brought a racing team and 30 jobs to the Martinsville area — “what we consider to be the center of NASCAR.”

The Ambassador of the Year Award, presented to Dennis Taggart, vice president of human resources for Stanley Furniture. The award goes to a business leader who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to host economic development prospects.

Heath said the community would not have landed RTI International Metals without Taggart’s help. RTI plans to invest $100 million in a new factory at Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek industrial park and hire 150 people.

The Tourism Achievement Award, presented to Nancy Spilman, chairman of the Southern Virginia Artisan Center’s board of directors. The award recognizes achievement in the development of local tourism efforts.

Without Spilman’s help, the center would not have become as successful as it has, Heath said. He noted that since the center opened in August, it has had more than 2,000 visitors from many states and countries.

The Small and Minority Business Development Award, presented to Sharon Quesinberry-Minter, owner of Creekside Repair. The firm repairs large vehicles, according to Heath.

In recent years, the firm had an economic slump and sought help from local small business consultants. It then received a three-year contract to repair Virginia Department of Transportation vehicles in 13 counties, Heath said.

The firm’s revenues have since increased 360 percent from 2006 to 2007, said Heath, adding that Creekside anticipates expanding its staff.

The following awards were presented by the chamber:

The Small Business of the Year Award for Service, presented to HD Web Studio (formerly Her Design). Accepting was founder Masha Edelen.

Chamber board Chairman John Parkinson said the Web site design firm has moved from the West Piedmont Business Development Center — a small business incubator — into its own location uptown. The firm’s sales have increased 600 percent in recent years, he noted.

The Small Business of the Year Award for Retail, presented to Martinsville Electronics. Michele Shelton of the firm accepted the award.

Parkinson said the family business has grown in the past six years to need both full- and part-time employees. The firm has seen a steady increase in sales for each year it has been in operation, he said.

The Small Business of the Year Award for Manufacturing, presented to Medley Specialties Inc. Accepting was Gene Medley, the firm’s president.

The firm manufactures detergents, softeners and pet products. During the past year, it has seen a 30 percent increase in sales and doubled its staff, Parkinson said.

In addition, Medley and the firm are active in the community, such as by providing free supplies to animals at the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA, according to Parkinson.

The Small Business Team of the Year Award, presented to Nancy and Charles Bradshaw of Triangle Electric Corp.

Nancy Bradshaw was the first woman in Virginia to be certified as a master electrician and is one of only three in the state today, Parkinson pointed out.

The firm has been in business since 1965 and despite economic troubles in the community in recent years, Parkinson said, Triangle Electric has survived due to the diversification of its customer base to include both state and federal procurement opportunities.

The Bradshaws also are active in community service, he said.

Parkinson added that all of the award winners have proven that Henry County-Martinsville can diversify its economy.