Spirit of the Entrepreneur Finalists Announced for the November 13 Gala Event

Spirit of the EntrepreneurSan Bernardino, Ca– The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino has announced the 38 finalists for the 2019 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards to be held on Nov. 13 in Riverside.

The award winners will be announced at the black-tie gala at the Riverside Convention Center. Now in its 17th year, the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards event has honored the top business leaders of the Inland region since its inception in 2003.

This year, 33 entrepreneurial companies were selected from a pool of over 200 nominees. The 38 semi-finalists participated in a reception on Sept. 25, where they interacted with the event judges. Event judges consisted of past Spirit Award recipients. The reception was sponsored by RP&B CPAs.

Immediately following the reception, the judges convened to select the finalists, who will compete for the Spirit of the Entrepreneur awards in 11 different categories. Winners will be announced at the event.

Entrepreneurial finalists for 2019 include:


· Pacific Capital, Chad Willardson – Corona

· Poindexter Consulting Group, Vikita Poindexter – Murrieta

· VIRTEK Company, Virgal Woolfolk – Menifee


· Avalon Shutters, Inc., Bob Marcynyszyn – Perris

· The Sash Company, Inc., Angelique Barnum – Upland


· High Light Electric Inc., Erwin Mendoza – Riverside

· Klatch Coffee, Heather Perry – Rancho Cucamonga

· QC Manufacturing, Inc., Dane Stevenson – Temecula


· 8 Bit Brewing Company, Chris Keyson – Murrieta

· Arcade Coffee Roasters, Stephen Hasemeyer – Riverside

· buzzbox beverages, inc., Rod Vandenbos – Indio

· Muscle Bar LLC, Nicola Fakhoury – Alta Loma


· Extreme Plates, LLC, Cris and Mindy Follett – Yucaipa

· Protech Staffing Services, Inc., Leo Castaneda – Riverside

· Sunergy Construction Inc., Jonathan Mitchell – Corona


· Benchmark Transitions, Jayne Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed. – Redlands

· Kelly Smile Dentistry, Dr. Kelly Hong – Victorville

· Riverside Family Physicians, APMC (RFP), Tarek Zaki Mahdi, MD – Riverside


· Do It American MFG Company, LLC, Jon Armstrong – Corona

· Royal Interpack North America Inc., Radhika Chawla – Riverside

· Warren Packaging Inc., Phil Warren – Ontario


· Digital Dental Leaders, Eric True – Menifee

· United Transmission Exchange, Karen Mason – San Bernardino

· VeneCacao Chocolateria, Stephen M Heinemann – Riverside


· Acorn Technology Services, Mickey McGuire Jr. – Riverside

· Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC and Custody Queens, Kristen A. Holstrom & Dayn A. Holstrom – Corona

· Ruff & Ready Moving LLC, John Ruff – Temecula

· Social Catfish, LLC, David McClellan and James Meyers – Murrieta


· Education through Imagination, Ryan Rainbolt – Redlands

· Karla Adams Club, Karla Adams – Riverside

· Premier Solar Cleaning, LLC., Adam Fuller – Murrieta


· Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center, Carrie Ridgway – Riverside

· Unidos Por La Música Nonprofit, Oscar Ayon – Ontario

Attendees can book tickets online with direct seat selection for the 2019 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards gala event at http://www.spiritawardsie.com. Attendees have the selection choice of pre-show standard reception or the VIP reception. Ticket prices for the black-tie event range from $135 to $175 each. Full-table discounts are available.

Spirit Awards Event Features:

  • Commencing at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13, attendees can experience either a Gala or VIP reception, three-course dinner, stellar event entertainment, awards presentations, and for select parties, an exclusive after-party!

  • The “Best of the Best” award. Sponsored by Best, Best & Krieger
    One company chosen from among the award recipients that best exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit will take home the additional 2019 Best of the Best award.

  • The Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition Sponsored by City National Bank, an RBC Company
    Witness featured business pitches from the Top 5 student finalists. Audience members cast their votes for the best business idea through a live voting poll to determine which students will win the cash prizes. These Top 5 students will have competed in a semi-qualifying event that is held one week prior to the Spirit Awards gala in order to gain those top positions. A truly unique aspect to our awards program that celebrates and supports student growth and involvement.

  • Entertainment
    Upcoming entertainment guest stars are always an anticipated reveal during the gala. Past events have included top-flight entertainment such as: Rock Legend Eddie Money, Ekenah Claudin-Transcending Box, and Greg Adamson- Facing the Music Performance Art.

  • VIP Reception Sponsored by City National Bank, an RBC Company
    Treat yourself to a luxurious experience only available to VIP ticket holders. The 2019 Spirit VIP Experience includes access to the exclusive pre-show VIP reception with hosted wine bar, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and preferred access to showroom seating for the gala presentation as well as top section seating for the main event while you enjoy specialty selected cuisine for your three-course dining experience.

Proceeds from the Spirit of the Entrepreneur event benefit the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship established by Mike Stull, director of Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino.


The Spirit of the Entrepreneur event is presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) and the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration at CSUSB and sponsored by a wide range of local organizations including:

PLATINUM SPONSORS – Best Best & Krieger LLP, Southern California News Group, Bank of America, Inland Empire Magazine, and the Inland Empire Business Journal.

GOLD SPONSORS – San Bernardino County EDA, City of Riverside, US Bank, Wilson Ivanova CPAs, Wells Fargo, Altek Media Group, Chase, Riverside County EDA and Entrepreneur High School.

SILVER SPONSORS – Varner & Brandt LLP, CDC Small Business Finance, The Community Foundation, SmartSyt, Pacific Premier Bank, Tangram, City of Ontario, and Roark Financial Solutions Inc.

JUDGING RECEPTION SPONSOR – Roorda, Piquet & Bessee, Inc.


AFTER PARTY SPONSOR – Leadership Dimensions, Inc.

For more information about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities please contact Mike Stull (909) 537-3708 or via email [email protected]

About the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship

Located 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.

For more information about IECE, visit www.entre.csusb.edu.

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