Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. announced the winners of five annual awards before a record crowd of more than 500 people gathered Dec. 12 at Turnstone. The awards, presented during GFW Inc.’s Holiday Night event, honored four community leaders and an up-and-coming small business. In addition, Ron Turpin was voted the winner of the evening’s ugly sweater contest, held to raise money for GFW Inc.’s Employing People with Disabilities Initiative.

The award winners, recognized for excellence in leadership and vision, were:

GFW Inc. Chairman’s Award – Beth Goldsmith: Established in 2015, this award honors GFW Inc. board members for outstanding accomplishments and performance to help promote the organization’s mission and vision.

GFW Inc. Service Award – New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald: This award honors exemplary service to GFW Inc. and dedication to Allen County’s economic growth.

Elected Official of the Year – Indiana Sen. Travis Holdman: This award honors exceptional efforts by elected officials to build a stronger community — and grow jobs and wages — by creating the best environment to attract and retain talent and business.

Maclyn Parker Swagger Award for Community Vision and Leadership – Wendy Robinson: This award is given to an individual who exemplifies the persistence and will to make Fort Wayne-Allen County a thriving community by being a strong advocate for economic development.

Small Business of the Year Award – TriCore Logic: This award celebrates the success of small businesses and honors their contributions to Allen County’s economic growth. Businesses must be a Greater Fort Wayne Inc. investor in good standing, located in Allen County, have been in business for more than five years, have 50 or fewer full-time employees, have revenue between $500,000 and $5 million in 2018, and must be an independently owned and operated, for-profit entity.

“To grow jobs, wages, and the economy, we need collaboration from all parts of the community, and that’s exactly what these award winners signify,” GFW Inc. president and CEO John Urbahns said. “They are a big part of the incredible momentum we have here in Allen County. It’s our honor to recognize the impact they’ve made on the community.”

In the highly anticipated ugly sweater contest, Turpin was named the winner by popular vote by a razor-thin margin. He defeated eight other competitors on the catwalk, including finalists Patti Hays and Commissioner Therese Brown. The contest raised money for GFW Inc.’s Employing People with Disabilities Initiative, which works with local businesses and social-service providers to open pathways to employment for people with disabilities.

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