Awards honor Tulsa regionís small business stars5.14.2012
The Tulsa Metro Chamber honored emerging entrepreneurs and Tulsa-area small business leaders at the 2012 Crystal Star Small Business Awards luncheon May 14 at The Tulsa Convention Center. Behfar Jahanshahi, CEO and president of InterWorks, Inc., was named Small Business Person of the Year.
“The small businesses in our region create two out of every three jobs and have an estimated economic impact of $1.4 billion,” said Billy Kulkin, chair of the Chamber’s Small Business Council and president of Cubic, Inc. “The entrepreneurial achievements of the Tulsa region’s emerging businesses and small business leaders make a significant contribution to our regional economy.”
The Small Business Awards luncheon featured a keynote speech by Paul J. Corson, acting director of the U.S Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“We succeed at the federal level when you succeed at the local level,” Corson said, noting that the Tulsa region is an emerging leader in cultivating successful small businesses. “In Tulsa, you are walking the walk, not just talking the talk,” he said.
The Crystal Star awards are presented annually following a rigorous nomination, application and judging process. Award winners potentially can go on to compete for state and national honors. The Chamber’s awards were created to recognize that small business is the foundation of the American economy. In the Tulsa area, 84 percent of all businesses are small businesses.
Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO, stated: “We are honored to recognize the contributions of the Tulsa region’s thriving small business sector and the entrepreneurs and innovators who are playing an integral role in the economic development of northeast Oklahoma.”
2012 Small Business Award recipients include:
• Small Business Person of the Year: Behfar Jahanshahi, CEO and president, InterWorks, Inc.
• Tulsa Metro Chamber Entrepreneurial Success: Don Thornton, owner, Don Thornton Automotive Group
• Home-Based Business Champion: David White, founder and owner, Hathaway 51
• Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year: Tim Jackson, founder and owner, Jackson Technical
• Women in Business Champion: Teri Aulph, owner, Teri Aulph Consulting, LLC
• Family-Owned Business: Amy Bates, owner, Merry Maids Tulsa
• Financial Services Champion: Donnie Cox, executive vice president of lending, Summit Bank
• Young Entrepreneur: John Davey, co-owner, Andolini’s Pizzeria
Additionally, the Tulsa Metro Chamber awarded its “Small Business Pioneer” award to Lynda Wingo, executive director and owner of Miss Helen’s Private School.
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