Nine Local Individuals Honored at TRC’s Tulsa Small Business Summit and Awards

BUSINESS STARS: Tulsa small business winners and Chamber members include, back row from left, Kathy Duck, executive director of the Tulsa Small Business Connection; Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids Tulsa and chair of the Tulsa Small Business Connection; David Stratton, incoming chair of the Tulsa Regional Chamber; Donovan Farrow, Alias Forensics (Young Entrepreneur of the Year); Mike Bausch, Andolini’s Pizzeria (Entrepreneurial Success Award recipient); Michael Horton, Coffee Bunker (Veteran Business Champion); Kent Williams, HRB Consultants (Small Business Pioneer); Angela Byers, owner of Byers Creative and incoming chair of the Tulsa Small Business Connection; Steve Bradshaw, president and CEO of BOK Financial Corp. and chair of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Front row from left, Julie Smith, Mariner Wealth Advisors (Women in Business Champion); Wendy Thomas, Leadership Tulsa (Lifetime Achievement); Weldon Bowman, W Design (Small Business Person of the Year); Jeri Barrientos, First Mate Financial Advisors (Diversity Business Champion); Casey Allen, Kiva Tulsa (Financial Services Champion.

GTR Newspapers photo

The Tulsa Regional Chamber recently honored nine local companies at the fifth annual Tulsa Small Business Summit and Awards. Powered by the Chamber’s Tulsa Small Business Connection, the summit is northeast Oklahoma’s premier small business event and featured keynote speakers, topical breakout sessions and the annual small business awards presentation.   

More than 60 area people and companies were nominated and went through an extensive application process judged by local small business resource partners. Winners are recognized for the impact they make in their industries and their communities.

• Small Business Person of the Year: Weldon Bowman, W Design
• Women in Business Champion: Julie Smith, Mariner Wealth Advisors
• Diversity Business Champion: Jeri Barrientos, First Mate Financial Advisors
• Financial Services Champion: Casey Allen, Kiva Tulsa
• Veteran Business Champion: Michael Horton, Coffee Bunker
• Entrepreneurial Success: Mike and Jim Bausch, Andolini’s Pizzeria
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Donovan Farrow, Alias Forensics
• Pioneer Award: Kent Williams, Consultants
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Leadership Tulsa

The Tulsa Small Business Connection’s mission is to educate, empower and expand small business in northeast Oklahoma, accomplished through year-round programming and resources for small business owners and their employees.

 “Small businesses make a tremendous impact on our region,” said Kathy Duck, executive director of the Tulsa Small Business Connection. “A strong small business community is a reflection of a strong regional economy, and this event is an opportunity to highlight the incredible work of our entrepreneurs and business owners.”

In addition to the award ceremony, the event featured keynote speaker Kimberly Hicks, vice president of digital media for Disney Channels Worldwide. Local small business experts led breakout sessions on topics such as branding, customer service and human resources. 

“The summit is the only event of its kind in our region,” said Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids Tulsa and chair of the Tulsa Small Business Connection. “We want attendees to leave with ideas and strategies for their business, as well as a feeling of energy and excitement for the outstanding work happening locally.” 

Award winners will be eligible to compete for Oklahoma District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration awards.

Last year, several award winners went on to receive Oklahoma awards, including Inc. (Exporter of the Year), the Tulsa Drillers (Family-Owned Business of the Year), Frauke Quiroga, of Enterprises (Minority Business Champion), and Cynthia Jones Stewart, of EverMore Services (Women Business Champion).

Updated 10-15-2018

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