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GLE-Sponsored Awards Honor Hampton Roads Entrepreneurs

By Amanda Morad | June 21, 2012

Panelists Kevin Kordek and Eric Brown

"Entrepreneurship is an equal opportunity to succeed and to face the challenges the market will throw at you," said Dr. Greg Stone, professor in Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship (GLE), as he welcomed 80 local business leaders and students to an expert panel discussion on entrepreneurship.

The panel was held as a precursor to the 2012 Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards on Monday, June 18, an event hosted annually at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va., co-sponsored by Regent University and local publication, Inside Business. The event honors businessmen and women in Hampton Roads whose entrepreneurial spirit and hard work have resulted in significant accomplishments.

Four local entrepreneurs were featured on the expert panel, presenting brief remarks about their own business experience, passion and determination, building a team, operating business from a "why" standpoint rather than a "what" or "how," and the best ways to make a graceful transition from one venture to another.

The featured panelists were Glenn Davis, 2010 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award winner and CEO of telecommunications company, On Call Holdings International LLC; Kevin Kordek, president and CEO of A-Active Termite and Pest Control; Eric Brown, CEO of ecommerce order fulfillment company, Fulfilltopia; and Stephanie Downs, president of marketing agency Markomm and non-profit organizations FiXit Foundation and Voola. The panel provided an opportunity for attendees to learn and ask questions of seasoned entrepreneurs, and gain inspiration from their stories of trial and triumph.

"Inside Business and GLE both support and encourage the grassroots entrepreneurial initiatives across Hampton Roads," Stone said. "The Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards provide an annual forum where those smaller, yet equally inventive and pioneering enterprises can be recognized for their job creation, customer service, technological prowess and innovative products."

The awards luncheon attracted 140 members of the local business community. Carol Lichti, editor of Inside Business, shared a brief profile of each of the 10 entrepreneurs recognized for their business success. The recognition culminated with a description of the 2012 Entrepreneurial Champion—someone who has made a significant difference for entrepreneurship in Hampton Roads. This year's champion was Zack Miller, founder of Start Norfolk.

Miller's venture brings together individuals of different mind and skill sets—entrepreneurs, engineers, developers, designers and businesspeople—with the goal of building viable startups in a weekend event.

Regent's own Center for Entrepreneurship staff member, Brittany Hoffman, is a direct beneficiary of Miller's Start Norfolk event. Her new business, D8Night.com, provides Hampton Roads couples with creative and local date ideas. Launched at the Start Norfolk event in April, Hoffman gained access to a technical team that helped bring her concept to life. "We had two coders, a database-er, a designer, a user interface, a business guy and an SEO guy," she said in a May 4 video on Start Norfolk's YouTube channel.

Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards were also presented to Ramon W. Breeden Jr., of The Breeden Co., Paul Quillin Darden of Darden Publishing, Johnny Garcia of SimIs Inc., Catherine Giordano of Knowledge Information Solutions, Kasia Grzelkowski of The Arc of the Virginia Peninsula, Kevin Kordek of A-Active Termite and Pest Control Co., Thanos Polizos of Polizos Properties, Frank Tommaso of Blu Skyy Realty, Jim Weigl of Virginia Toy and Novelty Co, and Blake White of Endurance IT Services.

"Entrepreneurship is alive and thriving in Hampton Roads," Stone summarized. "These are the folk who take their business idea and give it traction by taking that step of faith and launching!"

Learn more about the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship.


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