Nominees for the 2013 Entrepreneur Awards have proved themselves to be successful. They must now await the judges’ decisions to be announced at the awards dinner June 4 at Walker’s Overlook in Walkersville.
Don Linton, founding principal of Linton, Shafer, Warfield & Garrett, an accounting firm, has been named Master Entrepreneur. Linton’s achievements, both in the business world and his leadership in community organizations, earned him the award from the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County.
Linton’s community and business service has made him a role model for other entrepreneurs, from serving on the board of Frederick Community College to being a founding member of the Community Foundation of Frederick County to providing accounting services to private and government entities.
A special category, Fast Growth Start Up Success Story, will be presented to Crossroads Animal Referral and Emergency Care in Frederick. The animal specialty hospital, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is owned by veterinarians Stephanie Phillips and Kelly Gellasch.
Crossroads offers advanced surgery, rehabilitation and pain management, and both veterinarians are board certified and specialists in many medical areas.
In the Youth Entrepreneur category, Big Lawn Shark and Maryland Bio-Fuels LLC have been nominated.
Josh Hogan, 17, graduated from the Frederick County Career and Technology Center landscaping program and worked at Dutch Plant Farm before opening Big Lawn Shark in 2011. He provides a variety of landscaping services and has customers as far as West Virginia.
Wyatt Farmer, a graduate of Catoctin High School, started his business from an FFA project when he and a classmate created a small biodiesel reactor from a water heater. Working at Frederick Tractor Supply, Farmer began making batches of biodiesel and marketing it for use in home oil furnaces. He also offers a waste collection service for restaurants and similar facilities.
In the Start Up category, three nominees will vie for the award.
Jason Jennings and David Morders left a large Wall Street firm to launch Key Financial Group in 2009. The company has grown more than 10 percent per year and provides financial services to a number of Frederick organizations. Jennings said it is important to provide independent, unbiased advice and guidance to clients.
Nicole Knight and Kendra Knight opened Smooch! Studio in 2009. The business offers customized lipstick and lip gloss, as well as foundation, for clients. The owners’ long-term goal is to become a national brand with Smooch! Studios across the U.S.
Savory Spoon Catering Co., owned by Cheryl Thompson, offers menus tailored to make clients’ events special.
The Small Emerging category has six nominees.
Sandy Fouche, broker and owner of Re/Max Results, launched the business in 2004 after years of experience in the real estate profession. Fouche said she opened the office to provide a high level of professional support, education, leadership and more for Realtors to grow their businesses and become entrepreneurs.
Sharon and Charles Riser, owners of The Temple, provide graduates with a career, not just a job. The couple stresses the importance of giving back to the community through fundraising, passing that on to the students at the cosmetology school.
Amir A. Rashidian has more than 13 years of chiropractic clinical experience and is the owner of Mid-Atlantic Chiropractic Center. Besides his successful business, Rashidian has coached other doctors who launched businesses and lectures police departments on stress, exercise, nutrition, and avoiding neck and back injuries.
Tony Brusco, owner of Hometown Harvest, began with the idea of delivering farmers’ market goods to homes. Four years later, he has 13 full-time employees, supports more than 150 growers and producers, and makes up to 950 deliveries a week. The business provides food for Martha’s Table in Washington and to homeless and needy people in Frederick.
Tony Checchia combined his business expertise in real estate and passion for soccer to transform the Frederick Indoor Sports Center in 2009 to include lacrosse, field hockey and flag football, as well as soccer. He remains active in real estate as co-owner of Frederick Land Co. and is active in non-profit and charitable organizations.
Jason Lee started Top Quality Janitorial Services as a window-cleaning business and expanded it to a full-service company. Lee and his employees are actively involved in community projects to help those in need.
Three firms are nominated for the Medium Established category: Connie Phillips Insurance, Lancaster Craftsmen Builders, and Stauffer Funeral Home.
Connie Phillips established her insurance firm in 1986 and has been recognized for her excellence in serving clients. Phillips has been named a Paul Harris Fellow, a prestigious honor from the Rotary Club. Phillips serves on many professional organizations and is active in community groups.
Mark Lancaster worked his way through Mount St. Mary’s University remodeling and renovating homes. He established Lancaster Craftsmen Builders in 1979 and has been honored for the quality of his homes and has focused on energy efficiency and sustainability in construction. Lancaster continues to be active in both professional organizations and community groups.
Stauffer Funeral Home has been successful and expanded to new locations in Frederick County. Doug Stauffer has led his business and given back much to the community.
Two nominees have been named for the Large Established category.
Don Tarleton and James Tarleton, of TNT Services Group, increased business of providing window and door installation during the worst housing market in decades. Don Tarleton said he is proud of the relationships the business has established with customers, something that was not always found in that part of the home improvement field. The Tarletons volunteer with many organizations and his company donates to local charitable organizations.
Randy and Karen Sowers both have a passion for agriculture and created South Mountain Creamery, combining the old concept of the milkman delivery to houses and modern technology for efficient route management. The couple has received honors for their humane treatment of animals, educating the public about the importance of agriculture and distributing food to food banks, and supporting charitable and community organizations.