Business of the Year (Up to 5 Employees): ImagineDesign
Talk about being born to do something! Patrick King designed his first logo, for his uncle’s real estate company, at age nine. Fast forward to 2003. Patrick moves to the DC area where he launches ImagineDesign and also meets his future wife and business partner, Rebecca Vaughan-King. Today, ImagineDesign is an award-winning, full-service marketing communications firm. In the last year alone, the company has grown revenue by 35% and landed its first international client, Rolls-Royce. The couple believe that community service should be a part of every business plan. For Imagine Design, that means pro-bono work, fundraising and volunteering time in support of organizations such as the American Red Cross, ACTS and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. ImagineDesign staff members are also very involved in the Prince William Chamber, providing design and marketing support and participating in the communications and community outreach committees and in several event planning task forces.
Business of the Year (6-15 Employees): First Virginia Community Bank
Where others saw a financial crisis, First Virginia Community Bank saw a market opportunity. With money to lend and a laser focus on customer service, the founders opened their first branch inFairfaxin November 2007. A Prince William branch was added in 2008. Since that time, success has come quickly. Assets have grown to over $270,000,000 and last year the bank opened its third branch, inReston. First Virginia Community also recently won the bid to provide banking services to the Prince William County Circuit Court. Senior Vice President Jim Elliot credits this achievement to the personalized service offered by the staff in his treasury department. The bank takes the ‘community’ in its name seriously, with employees and board members supporting a number of not-for-profit organizations including the Ronald McDonald House and Northern Virginia Family Services Organization. First Virginia Community Bank also supports the business community a Chamber in the Prince William Chamber. Jim serves as chair of the Business Growth Committee and sits on the Finance Committee and Valor Awards Task Force.
Business of the Year (16-34 Employees): Offix LC
How does a company maintain a 94.5% retention rate? According to Offix LC founder Steve Valenta, the secret is creating long-term value and guaranteeing great service. The Virginia-based company provides office equipment and supplies to more than 5,500 business customers. Offix leverages technology to streamline processes for its clients, such as allowing them to manage copier fleets from a single location and initiating service requests online. Smart use of technology also allows the company to accomplish more with less staff, greatly increasing profitability. Offix takes its dedication to service beyond its customers, encouraging staff to volunteer and give within the community. The company itself gives back in many ways, including participating in CASA’s Adopt a Child’ program each year and hosting food and gift collections during the holidays. Offix is a Charter Founding Member of the Prince William Chamber of Commerc
Business of the Year (35+ Employees): QMT Windchimes
QMT Windchimes is constantly evolving its offerings and processes while staying true to its core values of making the best product it can while being responsible with both material and human resources. The raw material for QMT products is 100% US sourced, with chimes manufactured and hand tuned in Manassas Park. All employees enjoy a full array of benefits and flexibility. For instance, two staff members who enjoy volunteering were each given an extra week of vacation to spend on volunteer activities. The whole staff also enjoyed a surprise holiday this Leap Day. In 2011, QMT gave more than $89,000 in cash donations and $17,500 worth of product to charitable organizations and schools. This included giving wind chimes to every child in a low-income daycare center so that the children could decorate them for Mother’s Day gifts. The manufacturer takes efforts to support small retailers, such setting low purchase minimums so that mom and pop shops can order smaller amounts of product. QMT also supports small businesses through its investment in the Prince William Chamber as a Founding Trustee and Chamber Partner. QMT Windchimes also the main sponsor of the area’s first Women’s Leadership Conference, and owner Jamie Baisden serves on the Chamber Board of Directors.
New Business of the Year: Prince William Living
Elizabeth Kirkland and RebeccaBarnes turned their passion for the Prince William community into Prince William Living, a full-color, glossy lifestyle magazine celebrating the people and places of Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. In January 2011, 10,000 copies of the inaugural issue hit the stands. Since first hitting the stands in January 2011, the magazine and its online counterpart have earned praise. Prince William Living is directly responsible for bringing positive news about our region to thousands of households each month, said Leadership Prince William Executive Director Kathy Ellington. Growth has been steady in the first year; circulation grew by 20% and its Facebook page boasts nearly 2,000 fans. Not surprisingly, the owners and staff actively support the community, volunteering and promoting nonprofits through a regular Giving Back column. Prince William Living is also a Charter Founding Member of the Prince William Chamber and the “Lifestyle Sponsor” of the upcoming Grand Slam Fest event. Additionally,Rebecca is a past chair of the Chamber andElizabeth sits on the Chamber’s Telework Taskforce.
Home Based Business of the Year: Conquer the Clutter
As professional organizers, it is only natural that Maria and Scott Spetalnik laid out a five-year plan before starting their business in January 2011. They wanted to test the market, and planned for only modest growth in the first two years. Instead, by the end of the first year they had already surpassed their Year 3 goals, with revenue 200% higher than budgeted. Five part-time staff members were brought on board to meet the demand for their services. Several will transition to full time positions this year. In addition to their organizational prowess, Conquer the Clutter stand out for helping their customers to maintain a sense of dignity and ownership during the decluttering process. Maria was very respectful of what I wanted to keep and never made me feel foolish,” explained a client. A company specialty is dealing with hoarders and with seniors who may not have the physical ability to sort their belongings prior to a move. The Spetalniks offer instruction to police departments and other agencies in how to best deal with such cases. Conquer the Clutter has taken on a number of community projects, including donations of time and money to groups like CASA and the Women’s Center. This winter, the company donated a portion of proceeds to the Prince William Chamber’s Winter Warm-UP clothing drive. Maria is also a member of the Chamber’s Education Committee.
Innovative Business (Privately Owned): Defense Holdings, Inc.
The mission of Defense Holdings, Inc., founded inManassasin 1994 and now based inManassasPark, is to provide innovative and timely technological solutions that can better the lives and improve the safety of people worldwide. The company is doing just that through varied uses of its two major product lines‚ metal fiber brushes and photoluminescent (glow in the dark) coatings. The brushes have increased the reliability and reduced maintenance costs of machines ranging from military submarines to wind turbines, lasting twice as long as their carbon counterparts and transmitting data at higher rates than solid brushes. The photoluminescent coatings were first developed to increase visibility on the propellers of military aircraft at night. Prior to using the technology, the Navy experienced several propeller strike accidents a year on air craft carriers. None have been reported since adoption of the paint. The technology has now been adapted to create egress markings that require no electricity and increase safety when people need to exit a building or vehicle quickly in the dark, and can be found in buildings world wide, including the Pentagon. Defense Holdings, Inc. is a member of the Prince William Chamber’s Government Contracting Committee, attending meetings and exhibiting at Government Contracting Industry Day.
Innovative Business of the Year (Public): FlightWorks
Based atManassasRegionalAirport, FlightWorks is an innovator on several levels. First, it is one of the few aviation companies equipped to handle the complex transportation needs of the intelligence and defense communities. Operations have included demand flights fromKabulfor the Counter Narco-terrorism Technology Program Office and providing air support for reconnaissance missions inNorthern Africa. While flying in challenging conditions to keep our country safe, FlightWorks also manages to hold a platinum safety status reflecting that their company is accident free. FlightWorks actively supports many community organizations. When a hurricane threatened CASA’s outdoor fundraiser, FlightWorks came to the rescue, offering their hangar as a venue. FlightWorks also hosted the Prince William Chamber’s first installation of officers and is an active member of the organization.
Community Service Award: Alpha Pets, Inc.
When Jen Jones opened Alpha Pets, Inc. in 2009, she vowed that when the company became successful, it would give back to the community that it served. Both through individual and collective staff efforts, she has made good on that promise. The staff has held food and clothing drives and teamed up to raise funds through events such as the Polar Bear Plunge supporting Special Olympics and Help the Homeless Walk. At the walk, Alpha Pets also manned a pet station as well as offering face painting and games for children. Jen volunteered to manage social media for the Arc of Greater Prince William and Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS). When ACTS had to close its food pantry in October 2011, it was Jen who shared this news on Facebook and other social media outlets. The news quickly went viral, creating a flood of community support that allowed the pantry to reopen two weeks ahead of schedule.
Agnes L. Colgan Awards (Arts & Education): Greenwich Presbyterian Church Quilters
The members of the Greenwich Presbyterian Church Quilters are giving more than blankets when they donate their handmade quilts to various community groups; they are giving the gift of comfort. These quilts help to provide a comforting environment that will promote healing, said Missy Good of Fauquier Health Foundation of blankets donated to cancer patients at the hospital. The quilters get together twice each year to assemble quilts using donated materials and new, high-quality batting to ensure that the quilts will last for years. This year, they donated 50 quilts to organizations such as CASA and Capital Hospice and anticipate making even more next year to meet the rising demand.
Agnes L. Colgan Awards (Health & Human Services): Vision With a Purpose
Vision With a Purpose provides free vision screenings to disadvantaged families, along with free prescription eyeglasses, given the same day if possible. In the case of children, this service has an immediate impact on educational success, allowing them to see what is written on the board and feel more confident. The organization is currently focused on serving students at Title I schools in Prince William and homeless shelters in Northern Virginia, with plans to expand the service as they grow. This year, Vision With a Purpose screened 157 students atMaryF. William Elementary. Of those screened, 46 were identified as needing corrective eyewear and were either given glasses that day (if available) or a voucher to purchase prescription glasses for only $30.
Behind the Scenes: Best Western Battlefield Inn
Best Western Battlefield Inn has become a bit of a home away for home for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, hosting a number of events and meetings. Owner Bill Conway and general manager Tammy Bragg have both gone above and beyond to accommodate Chamber staff needs, such as leaving the set up for Your Chamber Connection in place for the full three days of the membership event, saving Chamber staff much time and effort. The hotel has also been responsive to requests with a short turn around, and to working with the Chamber to ensure the best value for food and service. The Best Western Battlefield Inn is a generous community partner with a strong commitment to providing outstanding facilities and service and to enhancing the quality of life in the Prince William region.
Behind the Scenes: Debbie Bennett; Bennett, Atkinson & Associates, PC
Debbie Bennett has lent her accounting expertise to the Chamber for eight years now, working behind the scenes as treasurer. In that time, she spent countless hours helping to prepare for the merger, overseeing two audits and providing training to the Chamber staff. Additionally, Debbie sits on the Prince William Chamber Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Finance Committee. Unless it is tax month, she never misses a meeting of any of these groups that provide direction for the Chamber. Tonight we recognize her diligent work and the fact that it is always done with a smile.
Member of the Year: Sheri Winesett; ActionCOACH business coaching
What can be said about the Chamber God Mutha, Sheri Winesett? She won that title during the January Membership Event the way that she accomplishes most tasks‚ identifying clear goals and then setting out with enthusiasm and purpose to achieve them. Sheri built a great team for the event and then rallied them to bring 82 new members into the Prince William Chamber in just two days.
Sheri brought that same enthusiasm to building a foundation for the new Chamber. During the merger, she joined the communications task force that kept members involved and informed. Then, she volunteered her talents in crafting a five-year strategic plan for the new organization.
ActionCOACH business coaching was also the first company to sign on as a tenant at Chamber’sGainesvilleBusinessResourceCenter. Sheri immediately saw the potential of the partnership. For this vision and the energy that she brings to the Prince William Chamber, tonight we recognize Sheri Winesett as Chamber Member of the Year.