The Pinnacle of Success

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There is no better way to judge success than by the opinions of one”s peers, and that honor is held for the 25 most inspiring and impressive businesses at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce”s 2010 Pinnacle Small Business Awards.

The nominees for this year”s Pinnacle Awards represent Gwinnett”s most successful and prosperous businesses and non-profit organizations over the past year – quite an accomplish an accomplishment in a historically challenging economic environment.

"Some of our finalist companies had their best year ever in 2009,"says Demming Bass, Gwinnett Chamber vice president of communications and public policy." It has been so inspirational to hear success story after success story, especially since there is so much bad news about the economy from the media."

The event has been held for 28 years and grows with excitement each April. Winners are nominated by fellow members of the Gwinnett business community based on the Small Business Association”s criteria of above average growth and profitability, growth in number of employees, contributions to the community, overcoming adversity, original entrepreneurship and more. This year, there were 300 nominees.

"Winning the Pinnacle Award last year was the fulfillment of a dream for me,"says Dave McMullen, principal of Redpepper and the overall 2009 Small Business Person of the Year winner." I can remember years ago watching the awards ceremony and thinking, “I wonder if I can do that?” It was a very emotional moment when I heard my name announced."

The honor of earning the Pinnacle Award is a prestigious achievement for Gwinnett businesses, and it can have a major impact at many levels." The biggest change since the award has been within our company,"says McMullen." We had a big year in 2009, and our confidence and morale has never been higher. Everyone at Redpepper believes 2010 will be a breakthrough year."

The success of the Pinnacle Award winners and nominees is celebrated at an annual luncheon – this year held April 23 at Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place. Fifty finalists were announced prior to the luncheon, but the Small Business Person of the Year winners and top 25 Pinnacle Award finalists were not revealed until the ceremony that day. Those recognized included area small businesses with 1-10 employees, 11-99 employees and 100+ employees, as well as the relatively new category of small, medium and large non-profit organizations.

The overall Small Business of the Year winner will be eligible to participate in Georgia”s Small Business of the Year competition. If the winning company takes the top prize at the state level, they will go on to compete at the national level and will be honored in Washington, D.C. during National Small Business Week May 23-25.

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the well being of America. Small businesses, such as those honored by the Pinnacle Awards, are major contributors to the strength of the American economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. These companies drive innovation, create 60-80% of new jobs in the country and increase U.S. competitiveness.

Matt Hyatt, founder and CEO of Rocket IT, is one of 2009″s Small Business Person of the Year Award winners." The award has been mentioned as a factor in the decision-making process for new clients several times. It has fueled our company”s goals, and we are very appreciative of the recognition from our peers in the community and from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce."

Logical Choice Technologies, another 2009 winner in the 100+ employees category, attributes the tremendous amount of awareness the company received last year to winning the award." Our heart and passion is ma

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