Human Resources, Lakeshore, and Small Business & Startups

Chamber names Entrepreneurs of Excellence

April 18, 2016
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Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurs of Excellence awards
The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce will hand out seven Entrepreneurs of Excellence awards next week. Photo via

An event celebrating business leaders' entrepreneurial spirit is coming to the lakeshore next week.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is recognizing seven Entrepreneurs of Excellence during its 34th-annual E-Awards event on April 27 at the Muskegon Country Club, at 2801 Lakeshore Dr., from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

The event

The E-Awards will recognize seven individuals who have successfully launched a business and also made an impact on the community.

Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has held the event since 1982 to recognize businesses that have created new employment, invested in the community and added a new dimension to their industry.

“It really is a celebration of entrepreneurism here on the lakeshore,” Larsen said. “It is sometimes easier to start a business in a smaller community, because we have a network of individuals who all know each other and can support each other, and yet, they have the same obstacles of any business anywhere.

During the luncheon, one of the seven awardees will also be named Muskegon’s 2016 Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year.

The event will feature entrepreneurial stories from the winners and a keynote address by Bob Fish, co-founder and managing partner of BIGGBY COFFEE.

It is $40 to attend for chamber members and $60 for general admission.

“It is a really cool event,” Larsen said. “It is always inspirational. Everyone who attends this event walks out of there with excitement and motivation. They see how anybody in our society, through hard work and determination and creativity, can be a success in their own life.”

Expanding program

The awards program was re-branded last year as the E-Awards to better showcase the number of successful entrepreneurs in the Muskegon business community.

“It used to be the Entrepreneur of the Year Award when we had just a single award,” Larsen said. “We found that there were just too many people that were not receiving the recognition that they deserved. We decided to expand it, so that way many more industries are represented.”

The 2016 Entrepreneurs of Excellence awardees represent industries ranging from manufacturing and services to retail, food and beverage.


This year’s awardees were selected by a committee of past entrepreneur award winners and have typically been in operation for at least three years.

Part of the award criteria also includes environmental stewardship, employee benefits programs, overall revenue growth, employee growth and community involvement.

“We know the data shows that many businesses fail before three years of age, so we really want this business to prove that it is sustainable,” Larsen said.

2016 Entrepreneurs of Excellence

Wes Eklund: Fleet Engineers

Chris Witham: Motion Dynamics Corporation

Michael Brower, Chad Doane and Joel Kamp: Pigeon Hill Brewing Co.

Kathleen and John Riegler: The Cheese Lady

Mark Gongalski, Eric Hoffman and Jeff Jacobson: Unruly Brewing Co.

Troy Wasserman and Angie Nelund: Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts

Jake Nash: West Michigan Finishes  

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