Chamber Honors Diverse Group of Businesses

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce selected a wide range of companies and organizations for its annual Business of the Year Awards last month.

The Large Business of the Year Award went to Crime Prevention Security Systems, which has provided security and entertainment services locally since 1975.

The chamber named The University of Florida Performing Arts as the Best Overall Small Business. The award recognized the organization’s role in bringing performances, educational efforts and outreach programs from throughout the world and attracting visitors who patronize local hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

The Growing Our Own Award went to Banyan Biomarkers. The company is developing blood tests, based on UF research, to diagnose traumatic brain injury.

The recipient of the Gainesville to the World Award was SumTotal Systems, which provides employee training and career development software. The company operates in more than 150 countries, and half of its employees are overseas. Originally from California, SumTotal has grown steadily since it merged with Gainesville-based MindSolve Technologies in 2006. Its corporate headquarters is now in Gainesville.

Carpet Systems Plus received the Best Minority Business Award for the second year in a row. The company is growing through its construction cleanup and water restoration services.

Two companies tied for The Leading Women’s Enterprise Award—IndepenDance Studio, founded by Mary Knestrick, and Student Maid, founded by Kristen Hadeed. This is the second year Student Maid has won the award.

The Commitment to the Environment Award went to Parisleaf Printing and Design. The company has planted 7,000 trees, both locally and through international partnerships, to offset its environmental impact, and it uses wind power in making its products.

The Children’s Home Society of Florida received the Community Cultivator Nonprofit Award. It serves 18 counties, and helped about 7,500 children and members of their families last year.


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