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Columbus Chamber Small Business Leader Award

At the Columbus Chamber, small businesses are the core of our membership and an integral part of the Columbus business community. That’s why we honor the leaders of those businesses every year with our Small Business Leader Award, presented at our Chamber Annual Meeting.

The Small Business Leader Award honors any owner, founder, president, managing partner or CEO whose business exemplifies success through increased sales, number of employees and contributions to the community. Anyone is free to nominate a small business leader, and nominations are simple – complete our short nomination form to get started.

Nominations for the 2024 Small Business Leader Award are now closed. Please contact Lorie Holt with any questions.

To be eligible for the Small Business Leader Award, the following criteria must be met:

  • Must be a Columbus Chamber member in good standing.
  • Must be the CEO, founder, president or managing partner of the company. Note: You may nominate up to four persons who jointly own and operate the business. 
  • Must have been in operation for at least three consecutive years.
  • Must be a for-profit company.
  • Small businesses are defined as those having 500 or fewer employees.


The Columbus Chamber has highlighted our small business community’s leaders for over 30 years.

For more information, contact Lorie Holt at LorieHolt@Columbus.org.

Small Business Leader Award Hall of Fame

The Columbus Chamber has honored Small Business Leaders for over thirty years. These leaders rise above the rest and have substantiated success and leadership, increased sales, workforce and contributions to the community. These are the elite, the best of the best.

2024           Deonna Barnett, Aventi Enterprises

2023           Stacie Boord, Shadowbox Live

2022            Bill Balderaz, Futurety

2021             Greg Guy, Air Force One

2020            Rachel Friedman, TENFOLD

2019             Lori Kaiser, Kaiser Consulting

2018             Greg Ubert, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

2017              Tom Harris, CGI and Dwight Smith, SSI

2016              Leo Ruberto, Feazel

2015              Mohan Viddam and Sanjay Dudaney, Halcyon Solutions

2014              Neil Mortine, Fahlgren Mortine, Small Business Award of Excellence; Caroline Z. Worley, Worley Law, LLC, Small Business Leader Award

2012              Pamela Springer, Manta, Adapt & Innovate Award; Otto Beatty, III, Brian Brooks, E. E. Ward Moving & Storage Co. LLC, Diversity Leadership Award; Debra Jasper, Ph.D., LLC, Betsy Hubbard, Mindset Digital, LLC, Emerging Excellence Award; Michelle Galligan, ViaVero Consulting, Young Professional Leadership Award

2011               Farah B. Majidzadeh, Resource International, Inc., Diversity Leadership; Christopher Irion, e-Cycle LLC, EcoBusiness; Derek Grosso, Columbus Young Professionals Club, LLC, Young Professional Leadership; Kristen Harris & Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, Adapt & Innovate; Jim Lane, GBQ Redbank Advisors, Emerging Excellence

2010              Mike Figliuolo,  thoughtLEADERS, Under $1 Million; Ron Stokes, Mark Hall and Lavita Stokes, Three Leaf Production, Over $1 Million; Stephanie Leader, Leaderpromos.com, Over $5 Million

2009              Bill Balderaz, Webbed Marketing, Over $1 Million; Kamal Boulos, The Refectory Restaurant and Bistro, Over $1 Million; Dan Bashore, John Killacky and Jerry Spencer, Bartha Audio Visual, Over $5 Million; Tom Hastings, Computer Site Columbus, Community Philanthropist

2008              Michelle Adams, Prism Marketing Communications, Under $1 Million; Alan Homewood, 2Checkout.com, OVER $1 Million

2007               Joe Sanda, Astute Solutions

2006              Mike Schmitt, Steve Schmitt, Mark Schmitt and J.T. Schmitt, Jet Container

2005              Mike Rosati, Rosati Windows

2004              Ty Vincent, Vincent Direct, LLC

2003              Janis Mitchell, Info Fortress Solutions, Inc.

2002              Emmet Apolinario, Caspian Software

2001               Craig Wanner, Wanner Metal Worx

2000              Rhonda J. DeMuth, TDCI Consulting, LLC

1999               Paula Inniss, Ohio Full Court Press

1998               Cameron Mitchell, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

1997               Ross Youngs, Univenture, Inc.

1996               Mark Swepston, Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling

1995               Barb Markin, Golden Touch Demos/MNE Marketing

1994               Larry Levine, Impulse Wear

1993               Vernon L. Gibson, Dove Building Services, Inc.

1992               Jeffrey and Richard Roby, Storytime Learning Centers, Inc.

1991               Ken Mills and Cameron James, Mills/James Productions

1990               Sue Doody, Lindey’s

1989               Randy Wilcox, Inacomp

1988               Michael Wren, M.E. Engineering

1987               Larry H. Greenwald, Plantasia, Offshoots

1986               Lisa Galat McGivergin, The Clock Restaurant

1985               Lloyd Hackman, Ribbon Technology Corp.