Meet the Michigan and Northwest Ohio finalists
Congratulations to our region’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® finalists, who were selected by an independent panel of judges based on their demonstration of long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, among other core contributions and attributes. Regional award winners will be announced in June.
Nick Bancroft | AgroLiquid | Saint Johns, Michigan
AgroLiquid’s commitment to promoting and prospering the agriculture industry spans three generations, four countries and all 50 of the United States.
Founded by father and son-in-law team, Douglas Cook and Troy Bancroft, in 1983, AgroLiquid remains a family business both in its ownership and direction to this day. Troy’s three sons, Nick (Chief Executive Officer), Albert (Workplace Development Lead) and Gerrit (Operations Director), are now guiding AgroLiquid with innovative business practices and product lines that will lead the company into the future.
Today, AgroLiquid manufactures plant nutrition products and provides exceptional service to crop operations, both large and small, across the US and the world. Its sales account managers support a network of over 200 independent retail partners and hundreds of highly trained sales representatives. This team of experts helps growers effectively and economically utilize AgroLiquid products for their unique operations.
Dennis Archer Jr. | Archer Corporate Services LLC | Belleville, Michigan
Archer Corporate Services (ACS), a Detroit-based African American-owned minority business enterprise (MBE), is a marketing services company that provides a full spectrum of services, including branded merchandise, B2B and B2C warehousing and fulfillment, print and packaging, consumer promotions, and plastic card manufacturing. Helmed by founders Dennis Archer Jr. and Mike Carr in 2004, ACS leverages over 4 million square feet of warehouse space across 22 facilities in 12 geographies. ACS provides core services to Fortune 500 enterprises and has earned a reputation for performance excellence. It is a trusted partner to some of the world’s leading brands, delivering operational improvements, technological innovation and consistent cost saving. The greatest advantage of ACS is its people, whose goal is to know their clients’ business, within core ACS service offerings, better than they do. That knowledge, when combined with the depth and breadth of industry experience ACS brings, allows the company to execute with excellence, lower clients’ costs and enhance their marketing programs’ effectiveness.
Kelly Preston | Capital Steel & Wire | DeWitt, Michigan
Capital Steel & Wire creates and fosters long-term, fully engaged business partnerships with its customers and suppliers. Founded in 2001 by President Kelly Preston, Capital Steel & Wire is an innovative manufacturer, distributor and supplier of steel bar and wire products. The company is a proud jobs provider to 75 employees at two manufacturing facilities in Mason, Michigan, and its headquarters in DeWitt, Michigan. Capital Steel & Wire takes pride in supporting businesses through its core values: honesty and integrity, accountability, customized service, on-time delivery, flexibility and adaptability, immediate response time, efficiency, and a commitment to its customers. The company provides innovative solutions, on-time delivery and exceptional, cutting-edge steel products.
Aniema Ubom | Care First Rehabilitation | Beverly Hills, Michigan
Care First Group Living & In-Home Services Inc., DBA Care First Rehabilitation, is a leading provider of subacute and post-acute rehabilitation services for people with brain, spinal cord and medically complex injuries, illnesses and other challenges.
Some of its services are designed to take a generalized approach, while others consider serving multiple, specialized aspects of a person’s wellbeing. An example would be the Neurological Cognitive Day Treatment Program, normally billed in 15-minute increments. By combining the focus of numerous disciplines, including a physician, behavioralist, rehabilitation therapists, personal trainers and nurses, a plan is crafted to address all medically identified deficiencies in a daily regimen. The typical results are multifunction clinical benefits in both cognitive and physical function. Services include:
- Residential rehabilitation
- Neurocognitive day treatment
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech-language pathology
- Case-focused attendant care an around-the-clock, one-to-one format
- Medical needs transportation
- Behavioral counseling
- Recreational therapy
Bruce Smith | Detroit Manufacturing Systems | Detroit, Michigan
Based in Detroit, Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS) is a minority business enterprise (MBE)-certified contract assembler, serving several industries. Employing roughly 1,500 people, primarily from underserved areas, DMS builds and ships over 2 million large-scale products per year. It is dedicated to creating an environment where everyone can be the boldest, best, most authentic version of themselves. DMS achieves this by creating a culture of service to enrich lives, rise together and give back, while delivering products and services that delight its customers. DMS does good work so it can do good works.
Tom Saeli | Duro Last Division of Holcim Solutions and Products LLC | Saginaw, Michigan
Duro-Last manufactures and sells a full line of commercial PVC roofing systems, including accessories, with 10 plants around the United States and customers throughout North America.
Kenneth Kelly | First Independence Bank | Detroit, Michigan
First Independence Bank (FIB) currently manages depository relationships with several municipalities and municipal departments throughout the Metro Detroit area. This bank was established to serve the financial needs of its community, its businesses and its citizens. FIB envisions a partnership with the community to assist the bank in realizing its goals. The vision of bank ownership is to become a beacon for capital accumulation for individuals and business entities while delivering quality financial services.
Min Kyu Kim | Kimchi Box | Northville, Michigan
Kimchi Box is chain of fast casual Korean restaurants created during the pandemic that currently has eight locations in Michigan.
Edi Demaj and Etrit Demaj | KODE Labs Inc. | Detroit, Michigan
KODE is a smart building software company that delivers an enterprise platform for all building uses. It is integrated with all core buildings systems, IoT and other operational systems and software, normalizing all data and providing a way to visualize, control and analyze all data inside of a building. Using KODE’s advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, clients can operate various parts of their buildings autonomously.
Angela Chryplewicz and Carla Ejaz | Lasting Impressions, Inc. | Canton, Michigan
The Lasting Impressions (LI) team provides promotional marketing and advertising solutions for corporate events and trade shows. For over 40 years, LI’s goal has been to provide customers with exceptional service and quality products in a time frame that meets their advertising needs. Every member of the LI team understands that quality is essential, value is the measure and the customer always comes first. Today, LI continues to sustain a strong focus on improving quality along with a relentless commitment to customer satisfaction. Committed to being the best-value resource for all advertising specialty needs, LI elevates its customers’ success and satisfaction by anticipating their needs and being the easiest company to do business within the industry.
The LI team advantage includes:
- Fulfillment program management
- In-house decoration capabilities
- Inventory and closeout purchasing options
- E-store development
- Rush service
- Value-added brands
Steven Riggs | LynxDx, Inc. | Ann Arbor, Michigan
LynxDx is on a mission to improve patient care through cutting-edge technologies such as MyProstateScore 2.0, a noninvasive, genetically data-driven prostate cancer screening solution that provides highly accurate, stratified risk assessment insights to guide clinical decisions and improve the patient experience. LynxDx is also a leading COVID-19 diagnostic testing provider in southeastern Michigan working to improve community health.
Nezar Akeel | MAXPRO Fitness LLC | Rochester, Michigan
MAXPRO was established with one belief: Fitness can be enjoyable and accessible to people worldwide. The company’s fitness solution offers a comprehensive digital experience, including workout tracking, coaching and gaming, along with the MAXPRO portable cable system, which incorporates patent-pending PowerClutch technology. MAXPRO has quickly built a global community of over 25,000 customers in 56 countries in just two and a half years since starting product shipments. Its success is attributed to its promotion of freedom, fitness and fun.
The company was featured on Shark Tank in December 2021 and holds the record as the highest first-year revenue company to appear on the show’s 13-year run. Nezar Akeel, the founder, received two offers before accepting a deal on the show. MAXPRO’s impressive growth over the past two and a half years is a testament to the quality of its products for not just fitness enthusiasts but also people with disabilities due to its safety and ease of use, military personnel for its portability and effectiveness, and for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Zach Booker | Mentavi Health / ADHD Online | Grand Rapids, Michigan
Mentavi believes all patients should have access to an affordable assessment across a spectrum of mental health needs. With a proven model of separating assessment from treatment, holding the company to rigorous clinical standards, and streamlining care, Mentavi helps patients take control of their lives. It provides 24/7 access to its asynchronous assessment from anywhere. Mentavi has a growing network of doctors and therapists to offer to its patients and works with most health care systems across the nation. Mentavi encourages collaboration between providers and the patient’s care team to enable the best possible outcomes for the patient. Empowering patients to choose where to obtain ongoing treatment is a key component of its service model. Mentavi is proud to offer resources across all 50 states!
Katie Bigelow | Mettle Ops | Sterling Heights, Michigan
With the vision of “warfighters serving warfighters,” Mettle Ops is able to provide superior support in program management, engineering, cybersecurity, 3D printing and business development. With over 30 years of combined military service, Mettle Ops is acutely aware of the obstacles facing the warfighter and therefore can provide products and services with industry ingenuity and practicality.
Fiscally conservative, the company champions its expertise to bring exceptional results. Mettle Ops is certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE), Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), and U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Certified. It is also NIST 800-171 compliant and AS9100 Certified by PJR.
Mettle Ops guarantees predictability in pricing, dependability with stated deliverables and transparency in risk management. As warfighters serving warfighters, its mission is to help save soldier lives on the battlefield, and Mettle Ops lives its values of grit, tenacity and transparency.
Michael Aubrey Jr. | Mission Veterinary Partners | Southfield, Michigan
Mission Veterinary Partners is an owned and managed network of general practice animal hospitals with a common goal of providing best-in-class care to companion animals. MVP hospitals provide wellness exams, senior pet care, vaccinations, oncology, ophthalmology, surgery, nutritional counseling, allergies and dermatology, and microchipping via over 330 hospitals located in 35 states.
Tarolyn Buckles | Onyx Enterprise, Inc. | Detroit, Michigan
Established in 2007, Onyx is an award-winning woman- and minority-owned, WBE, MBE, DBB, DHB, DBE, NEORSD, 8a Certified Small Business firm headquartered in Detroit. It is also a registered business (Federal ID 20-8769643) in Michigan, Ohio and Georgia and is in good standing. Onyx has been in businesses for fifteen years providing engineering consulting, project management, construction management, and permitting services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms and contractors.
Stacy Fox and David Di Rita | Roxbury Group | Detroit, Michigan
Roxbury is a Detroit-based real estate development and investment firm founded in 2005 by principals David Di Rita and Stacy Fox. The firm specializes in complex real estate and economic development projects primarily in Detroit. The firm has played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of the city’s downtown and, since its initial founding, has developed a wide range of projects across the city. While Roxbury’s projects encompass a wide range of uses, including residential, commercial, governmental and mixed use, over the last decade, its portfolio has increasingly focused on the development of hospitality properties.
Jason Harper | RXA, LLC | Ann Arbor, Michigan
RXA is a leading data science consulting company that provides data engineers, data scientists, data strategists, business analysts and project managers to help organizations at any stage of their data maturity. RXA accelerates analytics roadmaps, helping customers accomplish in months what would normally take years. It provides project-based consulting, long-term staff augmentation and direct hire placement staffing services. RXA customers also benefit from a suite of software solutions that have been developed in-house, which can be deployed immediately to further accelerate timelines. RXA is proud to be an award-winning partner with leading technology providers and is the 7th fastest growing company in Michigan and No. 1 in Ann Arbor, according to Inc. magazine.
Ali Dirul | Ryter Cooperative Industries | Highland Park, Michigan
The mission of Ryter Cooperative Industries (RCI) is to accelerate the adoption of solar-powered energy systems in underserved communities worldwide. RCI has supported and expanded the growth of advanced energy in Michigan by creating partnerships with companies and nonprofits that understand the importance of sustainability and clean energy. Through these partnerships, it has impacted the lives of many throughout metro Detroit by providing pathways of instruction to those interested in becoming gainfully employed within the clean energy arena. RCI cares about its community and has a commitment to provide clean energy solutions not only to residents but also to businesses and municipalities. The company prides itself on creating efficient, scalable, robust solutions that positively impact its clients.
RCI believes that sustainability is key in today’s world. It has taken on projects that make great impacts within the city of Detroit from the installation of solar streetlights to keep residential areas safe to installing solar charge stations with Wi-Fi access so residents could charge small devices and handle business online.
Dr. Tyler Wall | SD Bullion | Sylvania, Ohio
Founded in 2012, SD Bullion provides customers with a full line of investment-grade gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins and bars. Since inception, SD Bullion has twice hit Inc. magazine’s list of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States. SD Bullion did all this while staying true to its original mission of offering the absolute lowest prices on gold and silver bullion, guaranteed.
Ime Ekpenyong | SGRX | Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
SGRX is a privately held, woman- and minority-owned health care organization that provides pharmacy and insurance benefit management services to government programs, health plans and employers throughout the US. The company also offers a prescription savings program to underinsured/uninsured individuals. SGRX is Headquartered in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, SGRX has satellite offices in Detroit and Nashville and has been in operation since 2001.
Mark White | Shape Corp | Grand Haven, Michigan
Founded in 1974, Shape is private, family-owned business that was built on the foundation of innovation and a strong, people-oriented culture. With approximately 4,000 team members worldwide, Shape is a global leader in automotive safety and crash management, with 11 manufacturing sites worldwide.
Danny Ellis | SkySpecs | Ann Arbor, Michigan
SkySpecs is simplifying renewable energy asset management by offering purpose-built technologies and services that help its customers deliver industry-leading productivity, efficiency and returns. Every day SkySpecs helps customers unlock the power of their data so they can make confident, informed decisions. The SkySpecs team brings deep industry experience and a willingness to get its hands dirty to first understand and then solve customer problems on the ground.
Tamira Chapman | Storehouse In A Box LLC | Farmington, Michigan
Storehouse is an award-winning company specializing in monetizing brands through end-to-end product design, prototyping, manufacturing services and fund-raising. The company was recognized as the 8th Fastest Growing woman-owned company by the Women President’s Organization (WPO) and J.P. Morgan Chase in 2022 and is proud to be a certified NMSDC MBE and WBENC WBE. Storehouse serves over 100,000 customers monthly and employs over 80 employees and contractors with more than 70,000 square feet of fulfillment space while donating millions to nonprofits annually.
Storehouse serves various clients, including Fortune 500 organizations, brand licensing agencies, nonprofits, membership organizations and educational institutions. Its expert teams are dedicated to tailoring Storehouse services to meet the unique needs of each sector, providing custom merchandise and fundraising products. The company’s innovative business models help organizations and businesses generate sustainable revenue streams, drive growth, and elevate relationships and moments. As a social enterprise company, Storehouse is committed to giving back to the community and making a positive impact.
Pat Bowe | The Andersons, Inc. | Maumee, Ohio
The Andersons, having been named to Forbes’ 2023 list of America’s Best Small Companies and as one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity 2023 by Newsweek, is a diversified company rooted in agriculture that conducts business in the commodity merchandising, renewables and plant nutrient sectors. Guided by its statement of principles, the Andersons is committed to providing extraordinary service to its customers, helping its employees improve, supporting its communities and increasing the value of the company.
Matt McAlear | The McAlear Group | Maumee, Ohio
The McAlear Group comprises three diverse companies within three different industries: Service Spring Corporation, Draincables Direct, and Innovative Machine & Manufacturing. In total, The McAlear Group is a fast-paced growing company with jobs in manufacturing, production, sales, accounting, marketing, IT, maintenance and engineering. All companies are family owned and operated by Matt McAlear and family.
Maria A. Marin | Unlimited Recycling, Inc. | Richmond, Michigan
Unlimited Recycling provides comprehensive solid waste recycling, composting and disposal services to commercial, industrial, governmental and institutional facilities:
- Recycling programs: office paper, corrugated boxes, scrap metal, industrial plastic, glass, wood pallets and containers
- Solid waste roll-off rentals: 10, 20, 30 and 40 cubic yards
- LEED disposal management
- Front load dumpster service: 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 cubic yards
- Composting: food wastes, compostable utensils
- Document shredding: on-site and off-site destruction
- Universal wastes: fluorescent bulbs, batteries, mercury, ballasts and electronic equipment
- Equipment rental/leasing/sales: compactors, balers, carts, drums, packaging materials
- Training, education and program management: housekeeping, employees and facility occupants
Varchasvi Shankar | V2Soft, Inc. | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Established in 1998 in Michigan, V2Soft is an award-winning technology services company focused on building innovative solutions to address industry challenges and help the bottom line of its customers by leveraging the company’s local and global delivery centers. V2Soft’s world headquarters is in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with offices in eight locations in the US and operating in seven countries.
V2Soft is a minority business enterprise (MBE) certified by NMSDC and MMSDC. It is also a Corporate Plus member and a member of Georgia, Florida and Dallas/Fort Worth councils. V2Soft has strong quality processes and is ISO 27001 certified, CMMI level 3 and HIPPA compliant.
V2Soft has several prestigious accolades from customers and the industry, including NMSDC’s 2022 National Supplier of the Year Award! Its strategic services capabilities and offerings include:
- Application services: AMS, ADS, web and mobile
- Testing services: automation and AI testing
- Digital services: digital commerce, digital transformation, blockchain, IIoT and cloud
- Data and analytics: big data and AI/ML
- Workforce management services: staff augmentation (on-site, offshore, flexible and contract) and co-location services
Vickie Gould | Vickie Gould International, LLC | Brighton, Michigan
The mission of Vickie Gould International, LLC DBA Life Changing Energy (LCE) is to raise the world vibration one healer at a time. LCE provides education and certification programs in chakra and crystal healing, sound therapy, and business growth for spiritual entrepreneurs. It serves healing practitioners, yogis, massage therapists, Reiki masters, transformational leaders and spiritual guides. LCE’s online store provides the best healing tools, instruments and accessories for those in the healing arts, especially those who have gone through its programs.
Mike Harris | Worksighted | Holland, Michigan
Worksighted provides managed technology services, including infrastructure management, end-user support, cloud services, cybersecurity and digital transformation to companies throughout Michigan and beyond.