Five businesses and nonprofits were honored for their efforts during Aspire Johnson County’s annual awards ceremony Thursday.

Elevated Marketing Solutions, Door Services of Indiana and Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial took home Business Success awards, while CMS Corp. received the inaugural Diversity in Business Award and Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County received the inaugural Green Business Award. The recipients were announced and honored by Aspire, the county’s chamber of commerce, during the Celebrate Aspire event at The Garment Factory in Franklin.

Business Success

The Business Success Award recognizes organizations that demonstrate qualified success in one or more of the following areas: growth and stability, commitment to quality, creative solutions to challenges and entrepreneurial spirit. It is subdivided into three categories: for-profit businesses of 1 to 9 employees, for-profit businesses with 10 or more employees, and nonprofits, according to Aspire.

Finalists for the for-profit businesses of 1 to 9 employees award were Aphrodite Esthetics, ASAP Payroll, Hoosier Shooting Academy and the winner, Elevated Marketing Solutions. The company is “not a dot com marketing company but rather a dot solutions agency,” said Leeanne Lollar, the 2024 chair of the chamber’s board of directors, who presented the company with the award.

Elevated’s reporting process identifies what is working, what is not and what they are going to do about it. With their data-driven strategies, employees can “take emotions out of the decision-making process,” Lollar said.

2022 was a difficult year for Elevated regarding staffing, yet the company still saw an almost 3% increase in annual sales from 2021 to 2022. From 2022 to 2023, annual sales increased 46.7%, she said.

The company’s workforce is also virtual, and consistent coaching on how to work for clients and with teammates in a virtual environment has helped with the company’s retention and growth, Lollar said.

Door Services of Indiana received the for-profit business with 10 or more employees award, beating out The Garrett Companies, Texas Roadhouse and VisionQuest Eyecare. Door Services is a small, locally owned, women’s business enterprise that distributes and services commercial frames, doors and hardware. Through strong leadership and strategy, they overcame obstacles created by moving from Indianapolis to Franklin and increased their annual sales from 2022 to 2023 by 74%, Lollar said.

The company also created an environment that fosters motivated, engaged and productive team members. Company officials initiated quarterly incentives and employee benefits training, and team-building events to promote a healthy workplace culture, she said.

They made the “bold decision” to not use voicemail. Door Services’ estimators and project managers personally call customers and talk with them directly, Lollar said.

“Their goal is to support $4-6 million in revenue per year by providing quality products to fit their customers’ needs, budgets and construction schedule. Their current backlog for 2024-2025 is approximately $11 million,” she said. “Knowing their business philosophies and culture, we understand why they have been so successful.”

Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial received the nonprofit award, beating out fellow finalists Allies Inc., Disabled American Veterans Department of Indiana and Resources of Hope. Modern Woodmen is a financial services organization built to help families and communities, Lollar said.

2022 brought challenges in growth for the organization, as a decision to restructure internally led to a short-term setback resulting in a decrease of 55% in annual revenue. Modern Woodmen overcame this challenge through direct clear communication, critical hiring and a firm conviction in developing processes, she said.

Organization officials piloted a program designed to help onboard and train new associate financial representatives. They have been able to increase the retention and success rates of their first- and second-year advisors, as well as increase their client/member base by 77%, Lollar said.

Overcoming the 2022 challenges, Modern Woodmen has seen an increase of 113% in annual sales from 2022 to 2023. They’ve also reached their highest ranking amongst the entire organization, ranking 21st out of 78 firms, Lollar said.

Beau Jackson, managing partner for Modern Woodmen, thanked his employees who were able to do “so much” for the community. Modern Woodmen is excited for their future, he said.

“We’re excited about the future and what we’re able to do as financial advisors for you and our members, and, through that, what we’re able to do for the organizations and people that make our county a better place to live,” Jackson said.

Diversity in Business

New this year, the Diversity in Business Award recognizes businesses that have harnessed diversity within their workforces and have actively taken the lead to promote and champion the business case for diversity within their community or their industries. Bargersville Wellness, BOLDAviation/BOLDFlight, Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. and Hirons were among the finalists, with CMS Corp. taking the top prize.

CMS is a construction contractor with “design-bid-build and strong self-performance capabilities” in mechanical, piping and fabrication work, Lollar said. Diversity at CMS is woven into who they are as a company, with all three of their owners coming from ethnically diverse backgrounds, she said.

Additionally, 29% of their staff team hail from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds and nearly one-third of their team members are women.

“This sets a new standard for the construction industry,” Lollar said.

CMS holds quarterly celebrations featuring cuisine and traditions from various team members’ cultures. They also have staff participate in multi-generational and diversity, equity and inclusion training yearly to combat “unconscious bias” and collaborate with all team members in the most effective way possible, she said.

“Through their training programs, resource groups, and outreach initiatives, CMS provides the tools and resources needed to help everyone reach their full potential,” Lollar said. “They have created a culture where everyone has a voice and can thrive, which is the key to unlocking the full potential of their team.”

Green Business

Aspire’s Green Business Award is also new for 2024, celebrating a company that demonstrates qualified success in more than one of the following areas: social and environmental responsibility, climate justice, green living, or green products. Finalists were Bargersville Wellness and Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, which won the award.

Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County’s ReStore, located in Whiteland, provides an “environmentally responsible way” to keep reusable materials out of landfills while also raising funding to build future homes. Since the opening of the ReStore in 2016, the organization has diverted 1,300 tons of materials from landfills, Lollar said.

The ReStore also does donation pickups, which are “strategically” mapped out to utilize the most efficient routes for trucks, saving fuel pollutants, she said. Items that do not sell are stripped of all metal parts to be recycled; they also sell recycled paint, which is sometimes used to paint houses built by Habitat.

Last year, ReStore made 847 pickups throughout Johnson County. In the first quarter of 2024, they have already made 229 pickups and are on pace to surpass 2023’s total, Lollar said.

While the store makes a “very minimal profit,” they have hit $2 million in gross sales since opening in 2016, she said.

“ReStore works to continue Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to sustainable and responsible building practices,” Lollar said.

Habitat’s efforts wouldn’t be possible without the help of the community, and Restore wouldn’t be successful without their donors, said Lee Ann Wilbur, executive director.

“We just really appreciate our community and we thank you,” Wilbur said.

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