Finalists have been announced for the 12th annual Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards Gala on Nov. 13, celebrating the top business leaders in the region by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino.
The black-tie gala will be held at the Riverside Convention Center. The Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards event has honored the top business leaders of the inland region since its inception in 2003.
“This year’s finalists are an impressive group of very innovative companies,” said Mike Stull, founder of the event and director of IECE. “They truly are unique and represent the entrepreneurial mindset and spirit that this event celebrates.”
The program will feature awards given out in nine categories, the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2014 “Best of the Best” award. This honor will be presented to one of the nine recipients who best exemplifies what it means to be an entrepreneur in terms of taking risks and building a successful enterprise that creates jobs and value where none existed before.
Entrepreneurial finalists for 2014 are:
Family Business
Steve and Kathy Nichols, Chino Valley Ranchers, Colton; Sheila Bath, Advance Disposal Co., Hesperia; Ray, Shaun, Nicole (Clesceri) Russell, and Angel Sanchez, Jr., Phenix Technology, Inc., Riverside

General Entrepreneur
Alan Boudreau, Boudreau Pipeline Corporation, Corona; Evan Cohen, Quality Marble & Granite, Ontario; Connie Lightcap, JC Supply & Manufacturing, Ontario

Innovator Entrepreneur
Shannon Illingworth, AVT, Inc., Corona; M. Sharon Rogone, Small Beginnings, Inc., Hesperia; Adel Sayegh, Universal Surveillance Systems, LLC, Rancho Cucamonga

Contract Manufacturing Entrepreneur
Mark Atchison, AMA Plastics, Riverside; Mark Peabody, Peabody Engineering & Supply, Inc., Corona; Cheryl Young & Jennifer Hall, Ejay Filtration, Inc., Riverside

Manufacturing Entrepreneur
Michael Hellmers, ESL Power Systems, Inc., Corona; Jeffrey Lyall, R.W. Lyall & Company, Inc., Corona; Terri Rogers, O.W. Lee Co., Inc., Ontario

Service-Based Entrepreneur
Brad McDermith, Computer Options, Inc., Redlands; B.J. Patterson, Pacific Mountain Logistics, LLC, Ontario; Heather Petersen, National Merchants Association, Temecula

Small or Emerging Enterprise
Hari Dhiman, 88 Spirits Corporation, Ontario; Kenya Mills, Innovative Infusion Solutions, Corona; Gene Sherman, VOCADEMY, The Makerspace, Riverside

Social Entrepreneur
Yolanda Carrillo, Corona-Norco Family YMCA, Corona; Angela Janus, ShareKitchen, Cathedral City Vici Nagel, Academy for Grassroots Organizations, Phelan

Supporter of Entrepreneurship
Tom Flavin and Joe Wallace, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, Palm Springs; Hilda Kennedy, AmPac Tri State CDC, Grand Terrace; Paul Mata, Logos Lifetime Enterprises, Rancho Cucamonga

The finalists and award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges consisting of past Spirit Award recipients. The 27 finalists represent the culmination of a nomination and evaluation process that included more than 130 nominees.
Individual tickets for the Nov. 13 event are $110 per person and tables of 10 can be purchased for $1,000. Special Premier VIP experience ticket packages are also available. For more information or to make reservations, call (909) 537-3708 or visit the event website at www.inlandspiritawards.com.
Commencing at 5:30 p.m., the gala includes a cocktail reception, dinner, special entertainment guests and the awards presentation. All proceeds benefit the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship at Cal State San Bernardino.

About the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship
Located on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship was recognized by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship as having the top specialty entrepreneurship program in the U.S. for 2010.
The IECE offers a wide range of programs and services including academic programs that lead to business degrees in entrepreneurship for undergraduate and graduate students as well as delivering experiential learning and student support programs such as the Fast Pitch Competition. In the local community, the IECE offers existing and aspiring
For more information about the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards, contact Mike Stull at (909) 537-3708 or email mstull@csusb.edu.