2016 Business Awards of Excellence

Congratulations to our 2016 Business Awards of Excellence Winners:

• Small Business of the Year: Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group
• Medium Business of the Year: HITS, Inc.
• Large Business of the Year: Munroe Regional Medical Center
• Manufacturer of the Year: Alien Engineered Products
• Start-up of the Year:  Digital Savvy
• Non-Profit of the Year:Transitions Life Center

Thank you to our 2016 Awards of Excellence sponsors:



The annual Awards of Excellence program honors businesses for their significant role in supporting the business community and driving economic growth. To be considered for an Award of Excellence, the organization must be setting the standards for excellence through innovation, sustainability, employment growth and development, customer service, financial success, and community involvement.

Eligibility for all award categories:
• Business operations must be located within the Ocala MSA (Marion County)
• Organization must be a CEP partner, in good standing
• If a company is nominated in multiple categories, they may only apply for one category
• Past category winners may not be nominated/apply for that category for three years

The winners were announced at the exCEPtional mornings breakfast on October 19, 2016.

Criteria for 2016 Business Excellence Awards:

Business of the Year Award
The Business of the Year Award is intended to recognize and honor businesses that have demonstrated “Best Practices” of entrepreneurship, such as sound business planning, fiscal responsibility and work process innovation in operating their business. This award will be issued for small, medium, and large business levels.
Business of the Year Categories:
1. SMALL BUSINESS – employ one to 25 full time equivalent employee(s)
2. MEDIUM BUSINESS – employ 26 to 100 full time equivalent employee(s)
3. LARGE BUSINESS – employ 101+ full time equivalent employee(s)

Award Criteria:
• REPRESENT THE COMMUNITY – Principal ownership within the Ocala MSA (Marion County) or have a substantial local presence in the community
• STAYING POWER – a documented history as an established business (in operation at least three years).
• EVIDENCE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET – resulting in the development and implementation of outstanding business results that are innovative and customer driven
• SUPPORT HUMAN CAPITAL – Provide an atmosphere which gives their employees opportunities for growth
• EVIDENCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS BY NOMINEE TO AID COMMUNITY-ORIENTED PROJECTS – Civic leadership must be shown through the giving of time, talent and resources to the betterment of Marion County
• KEEP GROWING – show a minimum of 15% increase in annual gross sales or income


The Start-Up Award recognizes a startup company, in business for less than three years which has developed into an outstanding, thriving business.  The company should demonstrate enthusiastic vision, a clear commitment to doing business in Marion County, innovative product(s) and/or service(s), increased jobs, increased sales, ability to overcome adversity and positive impact on the community.
Award Criteria:
• GROWTH IN NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES – impact of the business on the job market.
• INCREASE IN SALES AND/OR UNIT VOLUME – an indication of growth.
• INNOVATION OF PRODUCT OR SERVICE OFFERED – illustrations of the creativity and imagination of the originator of the business and/or subsequent manager.
• RESPONSE TO ADVERSITY – examples of problems faced and the solutions taken to resolve them.
• EVIDENCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS BY NOMINEE TO AID COMMUNITY-ORIENTED PROJECTS – through the use of personal time and/or other resources.

Non-Profit Business of the Year
Recognizes a non-profit organization in Marion County that has a significant impact on the well-being of our community over the past year. An Award of Excellence will be issued to a 501(c) organization that demonstrates meaningful achievement, community involvement, innovative business approaches and unique programs and services provided. In addition, the organization must keep administrative costs down while investing in employees, services, and programs.

Award Criteria:
• GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY– initiatives addressed by your organization; adherence to mission.
• EVIDENCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO AID COMMUNITY – benefits of service and how they set organization apart.
• FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY – quantitative results of initiatives, spending at least 80% of budget on program expenses.
• HISTORY OF VOLUNTEER EFFORTS – substantiation of volunteer involvement from the community.


Please contact Diana Schwartz by phone: 352.629.8051 or email: Diana@OcalaCEP.com.