Businesses come in all shapes, sizes; with unique missions and selling propositions. The one thing every small business has in common is their undeniable position as the lifeblood of local economy. Whether it’s a car dealership, an engineering firm, a bakery or anything in between; their work begins with an idea, a passion and the willingness to take a risk. Companies in the greater Lansing region have amazing spirit and determination to make a big impact … these characteristics hold true among those honored at the annual Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Award Dinner.
GUEST SPEAKER – MARK WINKELMAN
Mark Winkelman is the President of Better Made Snack Foods in Detroit, Michigan.
He has been President since 2011. Prior to that he held several positions at Better Made since joining the company in 1994. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan, and his MBA from Wayne State University in Detroit. He serves as a board member for two human services non-profit organization and is past Chairman of SNAC International, the snack food industry’s trade organization.
Under his leadership, Better Made has strengthened its internal operations and broadened its distribution area. Sales have increased 20% during his presidency despite seismic changes in consumer snack buying trends.
Winkelman resides in the Detroit suburbs with his wife, Wendy and two children.
Better Made was originally founded as ‘Cross and Peters’ in 1930. At the time of its founding, Better Made was one of 22 chip manufacturers in the city of Detroit. Today, Better Made is the only one of those 22 still standing.
The company has grown to use 60 million pounds of potatoes each year for a variety of popular flavors of potato chips and potato sticks. Its vast distribution system also offers popcorn, pretzels, tortilla chips, and pork rinds, and has plans to continue to diversify its product lines and grow the distribution in the future.
Entrepreneur of the Year
This most coveted award sets the bar for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs. The award encourages nominees, and all entrepreneurs, to pursue their goals and attain the level of financial success and notoriety that past recipients have achieved.
Greater Lansing Business of the Year
This award recognizes businesses that have significantly grown in recognition since their start-up days. From impact on the community to financial prosperity, this company will have overcome it all to reach accomplishments.
This category spotlights companies that have not only proven themselves successful in recent years, but have also exhibited an abundance of potential for growth.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
The winner of this award may not look like your typical Entrepreneur, yet they’ve managed to operate their business with the spirit and risk-taking tenacity that is so often admired in traditional entrepreneurship. The winner, or winners, are individuals who think outside the box.
Socially Responsible Entrepreneur
The private judging panel of local entrepreneurs will analyze the philanthropic activity of nominees; considering both their philanthropic activity and ways in which the company fulfills social duties. It is important that our awarded businesses make the world around us a better place.
This award is to be given to a leader in an established company. This could include presidents and CEOs or an individual employee that exhibits strong leadership qualities.
Innovative Company award
This award will be given to a company that has shown tremendous foresight in providing new and innovative products, services and/or systems. This award is for organizations that have thought outside the box and continue to push barriers for a better tomorrow.