Provided by Prince William Chamber of Commerce
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce celebrated passion and excellence in the business community with their annual Business Awards banquet on Feb. 28 at Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. Jennifer Nycz-Conner, Editor-at-Large of the Washington Business Journal served as Master of Ceremonies. In addition to the Chamber’s awards, the event also featured awards presented by the Mayors of the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and the Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
And the winners are…
Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards
These awards are named after the first wife of the late Senator Colgan, Agnes Colgan (deceased). As a mother and grandmother she was known to live by example, compelling family, friends and strangers to reach out to others in need and view the world with an empathetic heart. Mrs. Colgan was an avid volunteer and fundraiser for a wide array of charitable organizations including the American Red Cross, SERVE and Transitional Housing BARN. Each of the winners received an award to display in addition to a check for $1,000.
Health & Human Services: ACTS-Action in Community Through Service
ACTS’ founders established Prince William County’s first food bank and developed a homeless shelter in local churches. As the community grew, ACTS’ services expanded to meet additional needs. Services today include a comprehensive domestic violence prevention and intervention program for the whole family. In addition, Helpline provides an anonymous crisis telephone service as well as resource referrals. The support groups sponsored by Helpline are essential to people who have lost a loved one to suicide or who have attempted suicide themselves. Most recently, SAVAS joined the ACTS family in 2012 as the only sexual assault crisis center serving the greater Prince William community. Today, each of the programs addresses the mission of ACTS: to alleviate hunger, homelessness and interpersonal violence in order to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency. During the last fiscal year ACTS provided 817 families with $238,000 in financial assistance through their Emergency Assistance Program; Distributed 650,000 pounds of food from their Food Pantry; Transitioned 99 households from homelessness into permanent housing; Admitted 43 adults and 77 children into their Safe House; Answered over 7,000 suicide-related calls through Helpline and served 3,414 Domestic Violence clients and 717 Sexual Assault clients. In short they provided services to 15% of the entire population of Prince William County (71,000 people).
As ACTS continues to grow and change, we want to thank them for all they are doing to provide solace and dignity for those in need in this community.
Arts & Education: Impacto Youth
Jackie Krick founded Impacto Youth to inspire youth to be the drivers of their own fulfilling destiny; to learn that opportunities are there for all who want them, and to help those who may need an extra hand. They continue to grow their programs to encompass much greater opportunities for youth participation in workforce development, leadership, learning and literacy. They have partnered with Manassas City Schools and the Governors STEM Academy to create a nine-week program for students at Osbourn High School. Students in the Entrepreneurship classes take a business concept from start to finish under the mentorship of local professionals. Content includes business financing, business law, advertising, networking, time-management, soft skills and business planning. Students complete the program with a viable business plan and ‘real world’ experience by having the sessions facilitated at the CenterFuse Coworking Space. It goes without saying that, as a Chamber, we couldn’t be happier to see this kind of work going on in our community.
Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award: J. Manley Garber, NOVEC, Board of Directors
Named after the late Virginia Statesman Senator Charles Colgan, the Visionary Award is meant to be awarded to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, including but not limited to their own organization. Just like Senator Colgan, a long-time member of the Chamber with Colgan Air and a Past Chairman of the Board, this individual should be known as an innovator, a great partner, a visionary and an advocate for his or her community and beyond. This is the third year in which the award has been presented.
John Manley Garber grew up in Woodbridge where he learned his family business-farming. Eventually he kept as many as 3,000 hogs on the farm. He and his father also started a turkey farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Garber branched out from farming to commercial enterprises when he started a waste-management business in 1950. His company collected trash from apartment houses in Alexandria and Arlington, the Pentagon, the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and others. Garber started the Holly Acres mobile-home park and from there, he and his twin brother started a camper and trailer business. Next, he went into the surplus business where he bought and sold everything from boxes to bulldozers. At the same time, Garber bought and sold thousands of acres of land in Prince William County. When former Delegate Scott Lingamfelter would introduce Garber, he would say, “Here’s the man who brought electricity to Prince William County.” That’s because Garber pushed to bring electricity to much of the county in the 1940s when the investor-owned electric utility refused to provide service to any home or business not located along a main road. Because of his efforts, members of the Prince William Electric Cooperative elected him to the utility’s board of directors in 1950. He was elected chairman in 1974. Prince William Electric Cooperative consolidated with Tri-County Electric Cooperative in 1983 and formed Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. The new board elected Garber chairman. He remained in that position until 2008 when he became vice chairman. In recent years, he has served as a director. Altogether he has served 67 years on electric cooperative boards, more than any other co-op board member in the United States! Garber served on the board of the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives for more than 50 years. “It would be difficult, if not impossible, to overstate the importance of Manley Garber’s leadership of our three-state association, or the positive impact he’s had on all 15 of our member systems,” says Richard Johnstone, VMDAEC executive vice president, who also praised Garber’s grassroots advocacy in both Richmond and Washington.
Although Garber couldn’t pursue higher education because of World War II, he served for 25 years on the Bridgewater College board of directors before becoming a Life Trustee. Starting in 1991, Garber led NOVEC employees on walks to raise money to help the March of Dimes’ March for Babies, which works to prevent birth defects and infant deaths. Garber personally has raised more money for the March of Dimes than any walker in Northern Virginia, including more than $17,000 he raised just in 2016. His efforts helped NOVEC become one of the top fundraising companies in the area. Garber is married to Kay Kim Garber. Together they have 11 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
The 2018 Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award sponsored by Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, PC.
Innovative Practice or Partnership of the Year: Centerfuse (CoWork, LLC)
CenterFuse is a co-working space located in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas. They offer a variety of options for entrepreneurs at various stages in their businesses. CenterFuse is managed by Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI), and was established when two local businesses-ECU Communications and Whitlock Wealth Management–jointly purchased the Hynson Building on the Corner of Center & Main Streets. They then created a public/private partnership with the City of Manassas, opening their doors within a year of purchasing the building and introducing the co-working concept to the Manassas and Greater Prince William area. We are pleased to recognize Centerfuse for bringing entrepreneurs new, practical options for growing their businesses at their own pace. The fact that they found an innovative way to do that makes it all the better.
The 2018 Innovative Practice or Partnership of the Year Award sponsored by Metro Sign & Design, Inc.
Community Outreach Award: Jirani Coffeehouse
Jirani is the Swahili word for neighbor or neighborhood. With that in mind, Jirani Coffeehouse was created to become a “third space”—the kind of welcoming space that you love to frequent when you’re not at home or work. Jirani offers community forums and services to the community like Open Mic “With A Cause” – a monthly showcase for local artists in partnership with a local non-profit to support a worthy cause. We could be here for quite a while listing all of the ways that Jirani gives back to this community. But two particularly cool things they began in 2017 have been their Baby Cafe- a free resource offered to new and expecting breastfeeding moms- and “The Doctor Is In” in partnership with Novant Health UVA Health System. The program features a doctor speaking on topics like anxiety, depression, weight loss and concussions. It’s no wonder they were chosen for Governor McAauliffe’s “Small Business Spotlight” in July of last year. We are pleased to recognize Jirani Coffeehouse with our Community Outreach Award.
The 2018 Community Outreach Award sponsored by Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC).
Hospitality & Tourism Award: Mariachis Tequileria & Restaurant
Mariachis is an authentic Mexican restaurant bringing the spirit of Mexico into the heart of Old Town Manassas. Owner Antonio Escamilla has been in the restaurant business for the majority of his life and knows it like the back of his hand. Many people remember him as their favorite server from City Square Café and Okra’s Cajun Creole. Several years ago, he had the opportunity to open his own place. Since that time he has instilled his professionalism and friendliness into his staff, ensuring everyone that walks into Mariachis feel like family. Antonio has two famous sayings: One is “share the love” and the other is “mi casa es su casa” and these are the words he and his staff have come to live by. Antonio and his staff are extremely proud of the festivals they have brought to downtown Manassas, extending their hospitality to increase tourism downtown. They claim that if they win this award, it will be their biggest accomplishment over so far. But we think their company culture is really something to be proud of.
Excellence in F/I/RE (Finance/Insurance/Real Estate): Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc.
Weber Rector is one of the most established commercial real estate brokerage firms serving the Northern Virginia market, based right here in the Manassas area. From 2016 to 2017 they nearly doubled their sales and leasing volume. One of their greatest challenges has been maintaining personal connections with long-time clients in the current busy, tech-saturated culture. To overcome this challenge, they are intentional about scheduling face-to-face meetings with clients and understanding each client’s preferred method of contact and communication.
We are pleased to recognize Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services for excellence and longevity in a very competitive industry in a very competitive market.
Tech Company of the Year: Micron Technology, Inc.
Micron is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions and #1 exporter in Virginia. In fact, you likely use Micron’s memory DRAM and NAND every day in products such as your computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, gaming system, or car. Micron owns more than 20,000 patents and has almost 50% market share in the automotive industry. Every car made in the world today contains at least 4 memory chips made by Micron in Manassas. Many of Micron’s community partnerships have been developed to create a pool of STEM talent that our region so desperately needs. Today they are seeing former students who were on school robotics teams sponsored by Micron who have come back to work as interns or full time engineers and technicians.
Thanks to Micron’s collaboration with our local school districts and their education foundations as well as NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, our region boasts the highest concentration of K-12 robotics programs in the Commonwealth and one of the highest concentrations in the U.S. We are pleased to present Micron with the Tech Company of the Year award for the work they do both in their industry and in this community.
The 2018 Tech Company of the Year Award sponsored by Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company
Emerging Business of the Year: FirstLight Home Care of Woodbridge
FirstLight Home Care opened in 2016 with 10 employees. Today they have 60 – that’s a 550% increase! More impressive than that is their 90% employee retention rate in an industry that suffers from high turnover. To set themselves apart, FirstLight leverages technology to increase efficiencies. One example is their cloud-based software that gives family members real-time care information about their loved one from anywhere in the world.
As new business owners, Paul and Renee Jones made a conscious decision to become fanatical about their mission and to invite those who share their worldview to come along for the journey. So far it is working for them as they have become known as great community partners and passionate professionals in just 2 years in business.
The 2018 Emerging Business of the Year Award sponsored by Bennett, Atkinson & Associates, PC.
Excellence in Small Business (1-10 Employees): Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center
Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center located in Woodbridge, is a multi-sports facility that specializes in training student athletes. At Competitive Edge, athletes are exposed to daily training sessions, clinics and camps that focus on improving sport specific skills, speed and agility, injury prevention, nutrition and health to enhance athletic performance. Their 20,000 square foot facility is equipped with batting cages, pitching tunnels, running speed lanes, a virtual golf station, weight room and more. Last year they were named a 2017 American Small Business Grand Champion by The Score Foundation and Sam’s Club. Tonight we are pleased to recognize them for excellence in small business for the work they do to improve the performance of young athletes in this community.
The 2018 Excellence in Small Business Award sponsored by ECU Communications, LLC.
Business Excellence Award (11+ Employees): Hepburn and Sons, LLC
Headquartered in the heart of Historic Manassas, Hepburn and Sons LLC is a family-owned business serving as trusted advisors to the American maritime industry. The company’s main objective is to help the United States Navy win missions of the 21st Century. In a little over a year, Hepburn and Sons LLC has grown from 8 to 30 employees, opened a cyber security laboratory, and won several prime Federal research and development contracts relating to material science innovation –electromagnetic pulse protection, ship integration, and data security. Because of their rapid growth, they were selected as one of 12 companies in the Virginia Economic Gardening Pilot Program this past year. The VEGPP seeks out exceptional small businesses which have shown promise to offer strategic solutions to further company growth, with the purpose of growing the local economy.
The company owners understand that happy employees make the best employees. With that in mind they empower each employee to their maximum potential by tailoring project assignments to the work they love.
Tonight we are pleased to recognize them for all of this and more with the Business Excellence Award.
The 2018 Business Excellence Award sponsored by First Virginia Community Bank.
Additional sponsors for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Awards included Wine Host Sponsor Whitlock Wealth Management; Prize Sponsor Kensington Vanguard National Land Service; and Community Partner InsideNOVA Prince William.