Despite the seemingly insurmountable problems facing Illinois, 20 suburban businesses and organizations were recognized Wednesday evening as examples of why the state's business engine still runs strong.
The companies and groups were honored during the 23rd Annual Awards for Business Excellence presented by the Daily Herald Business Ledger. The AABEs highlight successful suburban businesses and organizations and honor the people who make them successful, and more than 150 people were in attendance at Medinah Banquets in Addison to congratulate the honorees for their achievements,
2013 Annual Award for Business Excellence honoreesSmall Company
• Blue Diamond Wealth Management Inc., Darien
• Gardi & Haught Ltd., Schaumburg
• Midwest Fit Club, Naperville
• Opal Enterprises Inc., Naperville
• Pancor Construction & Development LLC, Elgin
• FONA International Inc. Geneva
• Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond Ltd., Schaumburg
• Aftermath, Aurora
Business Organization/Economic Development Entity
• Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Aurora
• Konen Insurance, Aurora
• Medline Industries Inc., Mundelein
Innovation in Business
• CLS Group Solutions LLC, Bloomingdale
• NEC Display Solutions of America, Itasca
• Smith and Richardson Manufacturing, Geneva
• Brazil Express, Schaumburg
• Midwest Moving and Storage, Elk Grove Village
• Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation, Oak Brook
• DuPage Habitat for Humanity, Wheaton
• Marklund, Geneva
• Robert Crown Centers for Health Education, Hinsdale
Keynote speaker Lee Daniels, a former state legislator and speaker of the House, held the honorees up as examples of why Illinois will survive its current economic troubles. The companies all have exemplified the will to survive and succeed, which Daniels said is inherent in every business owner.
"The businesses being recognized here today all have a resolve to succeed," Daniels said. "Hard economic times can't stop that resolve. Misguided government policies can't stop that resolve. And the gloom and doom prophecies of many also can't stop that resolve.
"Those who are being honored today don't recognize corporate obstacles, don't listen to the negativity, and don't think the government should bail them out to solve all their problems," he added. "You rely on creativity, ingenuity, and sweat of your collective brow to write a script for success."
Daniels went on to note that, despite the issues, Illinois continues to be an economic power with untapped potential from all of its businesses, regardless of size. He added the state is also a global manufacturing capital, a rising technology power, a linchpin in the national transportation system and a leader in volunteerism.
"Illinois is not going to collapse," he said. "We're going to make it and we're going to do well."Our future remains surprisingly bright and solid to continue the American success story."
Many of the honorees noted their individual success can be attributed to the quality and commitment of its people, who they said were the most valuable part of the organization.
"We live and die by the quality of the people. They can make or break our operation," said Brian Konen, vice president and owner of Konen Insurance of Aurora, which was honored in the Family Business category. "We are very fortunate for the last 50 years to have some great people to work for us."
For other honorees, it's the passion for what they do that drives them to success.
"It was a dream that I wanted to have my own business since I was a teenager, and now it came true," said Ana Vitelo, owner of Brazil Express in Schaumburg, who was honored in the Minority-Owned Business category.
Details of the AABE honorees will be featured in the April 15 edition of the Daily Herald Business Ledger. Presenting sponsors for the event were B. Gunther and Company and JHS&A Marketing. Marketing partners were LeaderBoard Tournament Systems, U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE.