Prince William Chamber of Commerce
PW Business News

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Innovation, Community Involvement Recognized at 2012 Business Awards

Prince William Chamber Business Awards Honor Local Businesses

 Prince William, VirginiaA spirit of community pride was evident as the twelve winners of the 2012 Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Awards were honored last evening at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. Winners of the 2012 Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards, sponsored by Cardinal Bank, were also announced. Nominees included businesses large and small from a variety of industries, showcasing the diverse organizations that blend to make Prince William one of the top regions for job creation and economic growth in the nation.  Northern Virginia Community College was the Presenting Sponsor of the event. Alex Orfinger, Publisher of the Washington Business Journal, served as master of ceremonies.

“How do you energize a community?” Orfinger asked the crowd of over 200 business leaders gathered for the awards. “You nurture a culture of innovation. We need to celebrate the successes of our small businesses, but also their entrepreneurial spirit. The future and the spirit of our region lies in the ability to nurture entrepreneurs.” He went on to note that the Washington Business Journal likes to write about growing businesses; businesses creating more jobs, such as the ones being honored that night.

Jobs creation, innovation and business growth were topics that showed up repeatedly in the narratives of each award winner.  From the 21 nominees, 12 were selected as award winners based on a combination of factors including industry achievements, community involvement and their ability to meet eligibility requirements. 

“We have all heard the success stories of our region—the Prince William area is a national leader in jobs creation, prosperity and quality of life.  Tonight, we showcase the people behind those successes.  It is an honor to do so,” said Chamber President & CEO Rob Clapper.

“Our strength comes from our members.  We celebrate everyone in the room today for working to making Prince William a great place to live, work and play,” added Chamber Chairman Lucy Beauchamp. 

Pictures from the event can be found at  The 2012 Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Award winners are:

2012 Business Awards:

Community Outreach Award- Alpha Pets, Inc.

When Jen Jones opened Alpha Pets, Inc. in 2009, she vowed that when the company became successful, it would give back.  Through both individual and collective efforts, she has made good on that promise, encouraging staff to hold food and clothing drives and to team up to raise funds through events such as the Polar Bear Plunge supporting Special Olympics. Jen manages social media as a volunteer for the Arc of Greater Prince William and Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS).  When ACTS had to close its food pantry due to lack of supplies in October 2011, it was she who shared the news on Facebook.  The news went viral, creating a flood of community support that allowed the pantry to reopen two weeks ahead of schedule.   

Home-Based Business of the Year- Conquer the Clutter

As professional organizers, it is only natural that Maria and Scott Spetalnik laid out a five-year plan before starting their business in January 2011.  By the end of the first year they had already met their Year 3 goals.  Conquer the Clutter helps people organize while maintaining a sense of dignity and ownership of the process.  A company specialty is dealing with hoarders. They offer instruction to police departments and other agencies in how to best deal with such cases. 

Innovative Practice/Partnership Award (private sector)- Defense Holdings, Inc.

The mission of Defense Holdings, Inc. is to provide innovative and timely technological solutions that can better the lives and improve the safety of people worldwide.  Its two major product lines—metal fiber brushes and photoluminescent (glow in the dark) coatings. The brushes have increased the reliability and reduced maintenance costs of machines ranging from military submarines to wind turbines.  The photoluminescent coatings, first developed to increase visibility on the propellers of military aircraft at night, have now been adapted to create egress markings that require no electricity and increase safety when people need to exit a building or vehicle quickly in the dark. The paint is used in buildings worldwide including the Pentagon.

Innovative Practice/Partnership Award (public sector)- FlightWorks, Inc.

Based at Manassas Regional Airport, FlightWorks is one of the few aviation companies equipped to handle the complex transportation needs of the intelligence and defense communities.  Operations have included “on demand” flights from Kabul for the Counter Narco-terrorism Technology Program Office and providing air support for reconnaissance missions in North Africa.  While flying in challenging conditions to keep our country safe, FlightWorks also manages to hold a platinum safety status reflecting that their company is accident free. 

Business of the Year (up to 5 employees)- ImagineDesign

In 2003 Patrick King moved to the DC area and launched ImagineDesign, also meeting his future wife and business partner, Rebecca Vaughan-King.  Today, ImagineDesign is an award-winning, full-service marketing communications firm.  In the last year alone, the company has grown revenue by 35% and landed its first international client, Rolls-Royce.  Community service is integrated into the business plan; in the form of pro-bono work, fundraising and volunteer time, supporting organizations such as the American Red Cross and ACTS. 

Business of the Year (6-15 employees)- First Virginia Community Bank

First Virginia Community Bank saw a market opportunity at the start of the financial crisis, opening its first branch in Fairfax in November 2007, with a Prince William branch added in 2008.  With money to lend and a laser focus on customer service, the bank has experienced growing success.  A third location opened in 2011 and assets have grown to over $270,000,000. Senior Vice President Jim Elliot credits this achievement to the personalized service offered by the staff.  The bank also takes the “community” in its name seriously, with employees and board members supporting a number of not-for-profit organizations including the Ronald McDonald House and Northern Virginia Family Services Organization. 

Business of the Year (16-34 employees)- OFFIX

How does a company maintain a 94.5% retention rate?  According to Offix LC founder Steve Valenta, the secret is creating long-term value and guaranteeing great service.   Offix leverages technology to streamline processes for its more than 5,500 business clients.  Smart use of technology also allows the company to accomplish more with less staff, increasing profitability.  Offix takes its dedication to service beyond customers, encouraging staff to volunteer and give within the community. 

Business of the Year (35+ employees)- QMT Windchimes

QMT Windchimes is constantly evolving its offerings and processes while staying true to its core values of making the best product it can, responsibly utilizing both material and human resources.  The raw material for QMT products is 100% US sourced, with chimes manufactured and hand tuned in Manassas Park.  All employees enjoy a full array of benefits and flexibility.  In 2011, QMT gave more than $89,000 in cash donations and $17,500 worth of product to charitable organizations and schools. 

New Business of the Year- Prince William Living Magazine

Elizabeth Kirkland and Rebecca Barnes turned their passion for the Prince William community into Prince William Living, a glossy lifestyle magazine celebrating the people and places of Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  Since first hitting the stands in January 2011, the magazine and its online counterpart have earned praise. Growth has been steady in the first year; circulation grew by 20% and its Facebook page boasts nearly 2,000 fans.

Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards:

The Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards, named for the late wife of Virginia Senator Charles Colgan, are given in two categories: Arts & Education and Health & Human Services. Awards are given to non-profit organizations that are making a significant impact on the communities of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. Each award is accompanied by a check for $1,000 to help the recipient continue the work they are doing to improve the local quality of life.The winners of the Agnes L. Colgan Awards are:

Arts & Education- Greenwich Presbyterian Church Quilting Team

The members of the Greenwich Presbyterian Church Quilters are giving more than blankets when they donate their handmade quilts; they are giving the gift of comfort.  “These quilts help to provide a comforting environment that will promote healing,” said Missy Good of Fauquier Health Foundation.  The group members get together twice each year to assemble quilts using donated materials and new, high-quality batting to ensure that the quilts will last for years. This year, they donated 50 quilts to organizations such as CASA and Capital Hospice and anticipate making even more next year to meet the rising demand. 

Health & Human Services- Vision with a Purpose

Vision With a Purpose provides free vision screenings to disadvantaged families, along with free prescription eyeglasses, given the same day if possible. The organization is currently focused on serving students at Title I schools in Prince William and homeless shelters in Northern Virginia, with plans to expand the service as they grow.  This year, Vision With a Purpose screened 157 students at Mary F. William Elementary.  Of those screened, 46 were identified as needing corrective eyewear and were either given glasses that day (if available) or a voucher to purchase prescription glasses for only $30.

Prince William Chamber Membership Awards:

Behind the Scenes Individual Award- Debbie Bennett, Bennett, Atkinson & Associates, PC

Debbie Bennett has lent her accounting expertise to the Chamber for eight years now, working behind the scenes as treasurer.  In that time, she has spent countless hours helping to prepare for the 2010 merger, overseeing two audits and providing training to financial staff.  Additionally, Debbie sits on the Prince William Chamber Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Finance Committee.

Behind the Scenes Business Award- Best Western Battlefield Inn

Best Western Battlefield Inn has become a go-to spot for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, hosting a number of events and meetings. The hotel has been responsive to requests with a short turn around, and to working with the Chamber to ensure the best value for food and service. Owner Bill Conway and general manager Tammy Bragg have both gone above and beyond to accommodate staff needs, such as leaving the set up in place for the full three days of the January membership event, saving Chamber staff much time and effort. 

Chamber Member of the Year- Sheri Winesett, ActionCOACH business coaching

Sheri led a team during the Chamber’s recent Membership event, rallying them to bring 82 new members into the Prince William Chamber in just 2 days.  She was responsible for crafting a five-year strategic plan for the new Chamber following the 2010 merger that led to its creation.  ActionCOACH business coaching was also the first company to sign on as a tenant at the Chamber’s Gainesville Business Resource Center

“We are proud to honor and recognize these business and community leaders who truly represent the best of Prince William,” said Debbie Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber. “This year’s winners make significant contributions to the high quality of life we enjoy through direct support of cultural arts, education and quality of life initiatives in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.”

Kitchen Gourmet & a Company of Caterers catered the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. Additional sponsors included Comcast as the Chamber’s Business Growth Vision Partner; MTCI-Management & Training Consultants, the Leadership Sponsor; Table Sponsors ExecuTech Strategic Consulting, Prince William County Economic Development and QMT Windchimes; Spotlight Sponsors BB&T; First Virginia Community Bank; R.E. Daffan, Inc. and Whitlock Wealth Management. The Media Sponsor was Washington Business Journal. To read about the winners and view event photos, visit or



 About the Prince William Chamber of Commerce:

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is the largest voice for the business community in the Washington, DC Metropolitan region. Together with our nearly 2,100 members that represent over 70,000 employees, we work to create an environment where business and people thrive.  To accomplish this, we focus our efforts in the key areas of business growth, economic development, advocacy, education and community outreach.  In this way, we are building a solid foundation for the success of our business members and our community. For more information, visit our website at or call the Prince William Chamber at 703-368-6600.