South Metro Denver Chamber lauds small business leaders

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Three of south metro Denver’s most innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders were honored at the 28th annual Small Business Leadership Awards ceremony, hosted by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

More than 300 local business and civic leaders gathered at The Comedy Works in Greenwood Village at congratulate this year’s award recipients: Footers Catering, Abby Senior Care and Jeff Wasden, owner of PROformance Apparel.

Comedian and Animal Planet emergency veterinarian, Kevin Fitzgerald served as emcee for the snowy May 1 event.

According to Chamber President and CEO, John Brackney, the program, which recognizes excellence in business, innovation and leadership, attracted a record 125 nominations this year, across three categories, compared to 70 in 2012.

Nominees were evaluated on achievements to include leadership and management ability, innovation, financial performance, prospects for sustained business, and community involvement.

“Small business is alive and well here in the South Metro area,” said Marcia McGilley, executive director of the chamber’s Small Business Development Center.

Small Business of the Year

Footers Catering was honored as the chamber’s 2013 Small Business of the Year, an award that goes to companies in business for five years or more and with five to 250 employees. The company is located in Denver, at 4190 Garfield St.

Owned and operated by Anthony and April Lombatos since 2010, Footers Catering distinguishes itself with onsite field kitchens to allow staff to prepare food at the event, ensuring a restaurant quality experience. A newly designed 13,000-square-foot space helps them execute the catering for weddings, corporate and other large social events. Each year Footers caters 600 events, feeding more than 56,000 guests annually.

Emerging Business of the Year

The chamber selected Abby Senior Care, Inc as its emerging business winner, an award given to companies with five or more employees and in business one to four years. Located in Englewood, Abby Senior Care, Inc. is an encore business venture started in 2008 by Bobbie Mecalo and David Hoppe and provides non-medical home care services to seniors, those recovering from surgery, and people with chronic illness. Options include hourly care and 24-hour live-in assistance that allows seniors to “age in place” on their own terms.

“This really got started from our experiences with family members who are very dear, said Hoppe, who has faced the challenges of dementia in his own family. “I just want to thank everyone for this award.”

Abby Senior Care is located at 6 Inverness Court East in Englewood. They have a staff of approximately 70 people.

Brian Vogt Community Leader of the Year

Jeff Wasden joined six others who have received the Brian Vogt Community Leader of the Year Award. Named for the 6-foot-6 former Chamber president, gubernatorial cabinet member, and current CEO of the Denver Botanic Gardens, whose enthusiasm for small business remains a chamber staple today.

Wasden’s nomination package describes him as a diverse leader, making change at every level: as a volunteer, a board member, and an influencer of public policy.

He is an active board member and community volunteer. He is a co-owner of PROformance Apparel, 6905 S. Broadway in Littleton. PROformance Apparel provides apparel and uniforms for schools, government and private business.

Those eligible for the award include owners or employees of a business, as well as nonprofit and government agencies.

Those honored with the Brian Vogt Award are selected on leadership abilities, extraordinary contributions to the chamber and the south metro community at large.

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