• 72°
The Madison Record
The Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship has announced the 2022 winners in Entrepreneur of the Year.

Madison executives, youth among 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year winners

MADISON – Deal makers, change makers and dream makers compose the individuals who have won the 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year awards, presented by the Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship.

* Dave Bristol, Entrepreneur of the Year – Works as President and CEO of Acquisition Integrations LLC. This top-level award goes to an individual in business for more than three years and has succeeded in sustainability, strategic direction and community involvement.

Bristol’s career began as an Army Aviator and acquisition professional; he served 27 years. In 2015, he founded his SBA-certified HUBZone and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. Bristol quickly recognized the importance of relationships throughout the Department of Defense and industry sectors.

* Paul Finley, Joanne Randolph Entrepreneur Champion of the Year – Serves as Mayor of Madison. A small business owner, Finley understands challenges that face these companies.

Madison was ranked no. 1 in niche.com’s “Best Places to Live in Alabama.” Exponential growth involves managing infrastructure and other demands. “We appreciate all Mayor Finley does to support this growth, small businesses and to keep Madison’s quality of life a priority,” spokesperson Lisa Mays said. stated.

* Belle Buerhle, Youth Entrepreneur of the Year — Awarded to student in grades K-12 who has founded a business. Buerhle’s journey started with the Madison CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) in her senior year. A figure skater for 10 years, Buerhle disliked the snack market’s lack of healthy, tasty options. She transformed her protein snacks into a business, Burly Bites.

Buerhle has sold her snacks at farmers markets and fitness centers. She plans to pursue entrepreneurial studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

* Bailey Erickson with Wafel Bitte, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Awarded to entrepreneur in business for one to three years with success in sustainability and growth. Erickson founded Wafel Bitte with daughter Alexis Hope Nichols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Founding the business allowed Erickson to demonstrate to her daughter about taking an excellent idea and transforming it into a business.

The mother-daughter team experimented with recipes for the authentic taste of a true Belgian waffle. They grew Wafel Bitte by selling at markets and catering “to make the world happier ‘one waffle at a time,’” Mays said.

* Maria Troupe with Wine & Design, Creative Entrepreneur of the Year – Awarded to nontechnical entrepreneur with focus on retail, arts, entertainment or culinary. Maria Troupe founded Wine & Design to fill a need for Madison’s entertainment options.

Encountering challenges during renovation, she cut costs to confirm that she could operate the business. She has focused on offering diverse services and “strives to continually be in the know on the latest trends in crafting . . . and collaborates with small businesses monthly,” Mays said.

* Sandra Cepeda with Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, Government Contracting Entrepreneur of the Year – New award that highlights the significant role that government contracting entrepreneurs play in the area’s economic ecosystem. Cepeda started her own company in 2001 after working in engineering and management for Department of Defense.

Using this on-the-job knowledge, Cepeda provided engineering support to the Army’s Software Engineering Directorate. “Sandra has steadily expanded her company to meet customer needs; she continues to strive to meet God’s will. She believes in true servant leadership, encouraging others to (reach) the best of their abilities,” Mays said.

* Lee Marshall with Kids to Love, Non-Profit Entrepreneur – Non-profit leaders “must possess an entrepreneurial spirit to grow their organization. Lee Marshall truly began her journey (with) adoption into foster care at age two,” Mays said.

Kids to Love provides emergency assistance to foster families, houses school supplies and Christmas gifts and supports about 13,000 people annually. Marshall believes that leaders must communicate that “everyone knows they have a seat at the table and a voice that will be heard,” Mays said.

* Buddy Lockwood with Artemis Shielding, Veteran Entrepreneur — Granted to outstanding military veteran with entrepreneur pursuits in North Alabama. After military service, Lockwood wanted to continue to make the world a safer place. He now protects people from hazardous effects of lead and radiation.

Lockwood applies the same principles he learned as a military leader. He trains “the team to his left and right to do his job,” Mays said. “He believes one of the best lessons is to lead from the front . . . never ask someone to do something that you’re unwilling to do.”

* Chris Crosson with Crosstek Construction, People’s Choice – This public decided this award. The winner is a local entrepreneur who applied for an award and received the most votes on AL.com.

After starting his business in a garage, Crosson has grown the venture to include three full-time project managers with a corporate office in seven years. Approximately 80 percent of his business comes from referral/repeat clients. Treating customers with respect and honesty is critical in the construction industry. “He has adopted a new strategy . . . to pause growth to provide the best possible customer service,” Mays said.

* Adyre Mason with The Veggie, Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Must live in North Alabama. Mason’s work will be submitted to Small Business Administration’s “Small Business of the Year” national award by the Women’s Business Center. Chef Mason, Owner and Executive Chef of The Veggie, began entrepreneurial work in 2017 after losing her mother. “She used her grief as a catalyst to reinvent herself through her business in her mother’s honor,” Mays said.

Doctors revealed that a healthier, plant-based diet could have helped her mother’s chronic issues and prevented strokes. Mason hopes to help others in eating better, even prolonging their lives. “When things have gotten tough, she has always . . . worked to promote her strengths to the local vegan community,” Mays said.

For more information, visit catalystcenter.org.

 

Madison

Barnie, a facility dog, reassures students at Madison elementary

Bob Jones High School

Teens can overcome ‘summer slide’ with MCS resources

Madison

Judge Frank Barger reminds voters to be prepared for the primary election

Madison

Local movie, “Dark Entities”, premieres with fanfare this Saturday

Madison

Madison Public Library and others throughout county going fine free

Madison

Huntsville Museum of Art to offer free museum admission on May 29

Harvest

Learn to harvest, preserve herbs at Master Gardener’s workshop

Madison

Locals rally to help Old Black Bear’s Sneed rebound from house fire

Bob Jones High School

Bonnie Howard, Madison Elementary’s ‘Teacher of the Year,’ promotes collaboration

Madison

Asbury’s annual car and truck show returns Saturday

Madison

School board bids farewell to board member Luis Ferrer

Madison

Johnson masters learning curve as Madison elementary’s top staffer

Madison

May 24 Primary Election Guide – A look at the candidates for the District 5 U.S. House seat

Business

Boeing hosting in-person career event in Huntsville on May 24

Madison

“3rd Thursdays on Main” in downtown Madison starts this evening

Madison

Students can stop ‘summer slide’ in curriculum comprehension

Harvest

May 24 Primary Election Guide – A look at the Madison County Schools superintendent and school board races

Madison

Alabama Veterans Museum in Athens receives $1 million grant

Madison

Madison man dies in wreck on I-65

Madison

Craig, Rainbow’s ‘Teacher of the Year,’ promises students ‘best education’

Madison

Termite swarming season begins in Alabama

Madison

14-year-old passenger dies in one-vehicle wreck

Madison

Alabama Jubilee returns May 28-29 at Point Mallard Park

Madison

James Clemens and Bob Jones named CLAS Banner schools

x