EPIC Awards Finalists - Woman-Owned Business of the Year

May 17, 2010
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AngelCare driven by Lovse

When AngelCare Inc. Home Health Care opened its doors 10 years ago, it had just three “angels.”

Today, it has 120 home health care aides serving approximately 200 clients throughout West Michigan. The aides provide professional, reliable and affordable assistance to elderly and disabled people who want to remain independent at home.

What makes AngelCare different is its focus on its employees: It does all it can to empower women in the workplace.

For instance, it encourages its home health care aides to apply to Goodwill Industries for Certified Nursing Assistant training at no cost. Once an aide has the CNA certificate, they are not required to stay with AngelCare if there is a better opportunity elsewhere.

“We send them off with blessings, onto that second rung” of a real career, said Joyce Lovse, owner and president.

AngelCare knows its clients rely on its steady services, so it also has a car repair loan program for its aides. The loan allows major car repairs to be done immediately, and the aide then repays the loan on a schedule her budget can live with.

Lazarock connects success at Symplicity Communications

Symplicity Communications Inc. is a telecommunications agency started by Catherine Lazarock in 2007 when Telegration Inc. asked her if she wanted to continue working for them as an agent.

Today, her business has three full-time and three part-time employees, with headquarters in Grand Rapids and an office in Indianapolis. 

Lazarock has been involved in the installation of telecommunications circuits from Grand Rapids to the Netherlands and China.

She also helps companies find the best deals in local and long distance landline phone service as well as Internet and cellular. Her focus is on providing her clients with the best advice, but what separates her from the competition, she said, is integrity.

Her experiences within the telecommunications industry have enabled her to “know who are the good carriers and the not-so-good carriers.” She does not recommend five-year contracts, for example, because technology and prices change so rapidly now.

“The only benefit to a 60-month contract is the rep gets more commission,” she said.

Scarpino sparks Promotional Impact & Green Giftz

Exceeding previous best year sales by more than a million dollars in the anemic year of 2009 is a strong indication that “we’re doing something right. That’s not going to happen by luck,” according to Karen Scarpino of Promotional Impact/Green Giftz.

Promotional Impact was founded in 1992 and its earth-friendly Green Giftz division began in 2007.

The company combines high-end design and a green approach to create things corporations can give as gifts — using the corporations’ own excess or scrap materials. Rolls of unused Herman Miller fabric, for example, were turned into luggage, journals and accessories — and the fabrication was done right here in West Michigan.

When major corporations give a gift, said, Scarpino, “they want to look innovative, different from their competition. Often we’re creating things that didn’t exist before.”

That would include things such as the “tinker toy” used by a furniture company to train sales representatives in how to configure office panels.

Amway is the company’s largest client; others have included Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller, Bissell, L3 Communications and many others.

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