The inland region’s top business leaders were celebrated and honored at the 16th annual Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards banquet on Nov. 15, held by the Cal State San Bernardino Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. The gala, held at the Riverside Convention Center, had a record attendance of business and community leaders from across the Inland Empire – more than 940 tickets were sold – and featured an evening of awards, entertainment and inspiring stories from a diverse group of innovators and risk takers. Eric Zwigart of RPP Products Inc. in San Bernardino was named the top entrepreneur and received the Best of the Best Award. Zwigart had been honored earlier receiving the general entrepreneur award. The other honorees were:

  • Service-Based Entrepreneur – Malinda Margiotta, ABC Child Care Center, Temecula;
  • Hospitality Entrepreneur – Ana Karina Suchánek, Casks Restaurant Group and Project Boon Inc., Riverside;
  • Social Entrepreneur – Eva Ford, The Greater Hope Foundation for Children, Barstow;
  • Social Entrepreneur – Jennifer O’Farrell, Big Brothers and Sisters of the Inland Empire, Riverside;
  • Food & Beverage Manufacturing Entrepreneur – Eugene Kang, Country Archer Jerky Co., San Bernardino;
  • Health Care Entrepreneur – Dr. Rahmi Mowjood and Dr. Kyle Smart, Cucamonga Valley Medical Group, Fontana;
  • Eco Entrepreneur – Harrie Cohen, Inland Empire Recycling, Ontario;
  • Small/Emerging Enterprise – Angelica (Angy) Lopez, Angy’s Angels Cleaning, Hesperia;
  • Consumer Products Manufacturing Entrepreneur – Mary Meeks, Nature’s Specialties, Corona;
  • Corporate Entrepreneur – Dan Fachner, The ICEE Company, Ontario; and
  • Industrial Manufacturing Entrepreneur – Roger Hayes, Valew Quality Truck Bodies/1954 Manufacturing, Adelanto.

 In addition, Reginald “Reggie” Webb, franchise owner and operator of McDonald’s restaurants, and founder and CEO of Webb Family Enterprises Inc., was recognized with the special Master Entrepreneur Award, given in recognition of an incredible record of business achievement and community involvement. The gala also included the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition where five CSUSB students and future entrepreneurs each delivered a 90-second pitch about their up-and-coming venture idea to the audience and were critiqued on their overall preparation, poise and professional presentation. The top three pitches were recognized and the top student, Nicole Lundquist, walked away with a $4,000 prize for her pitch on SenSavory. Second place went to Alondra Martinez – MistBrella, and third place to Abdoullah Kabbaj – Vibranova. The fast pitch is sponsored by local entrepreneur Garner Holt of San Bernardino. Holt’s company, Garner Holt Productions, is the world’s leading manufacturer of animatronics and animatronic figures.Visit the Spirit of the Entrepreneur website for more information. About the Inland Empire Center for EntrepreneurshipLocated on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) was recently recognized as a Top 35 Global Business School for Fostering Entrepreneurship by AACSB International. 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, IECE offers existing and aspiring entrepreneurs a wide array of business advisory and mentoring services, student internship and consulting resources, and entrepreneurial training programs that help them achieve greater levels of success in their business ventures.Visit the IECE website for more information. For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit