6 community leaders, up-and-coming small businesses honored by Greater Fort Wayne

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Greater Fort Wayne Inc. held it’s awards Thursday night and honored six community leaders and an up-and-coming small business.

The awards, presented as part of GFW Inc.’s Annual Meeting event, were given to:

  • GFW Inc. Women’s Network Champions of Change Awards – Leslee Hill and Rachel Tobin-Smith: Established in 2019, these awards recognize leaders who go the extra mile to mentor and empower women in Allen County.
  • GFW Inc. Chairperson’s Award – Barb Smith: Established in 2015, this award honors GFW Inc. board members for outstanding accomplishments and performance to help promote the organization’s mission and vision.
  • GFW Inc. Service Award – Patrick Dooley: This award honors exemplary service to GFW Inc. and dedication to Allen County’s economic growth.
  • Elected Official of the Year – Indiana Rep. Matt Lehman: This award honors exceptional efforts by elected officials to build a stronger community—and grow jobs and wages—by creating the best environment to attract and retain talent and business.
  • Maclyn Parker Swagger Award for Community Vision and Leadership – Tom Kelley: This award is given to an individual who exemplifies the persistence and will to make Fort Wayne-Allen County a thriving community by being a strong advocate for economic development.
  • Small Business of the Year Award – Three Rivers Distilling Co.: This award celebrates the success of small businesses and honors their contributions to Allen County’s economic growth. To win, the business must be a Greater Fort Wayne Inc. investor in good standing, located in Allen County, have been in business for more than 5 years, have 50 or fewer full-time employees, have revenue between $500,000 and $5 million in 2020, and be an independently owned and operated, for-profit entity.

“We’ve seen so many people—and so many companies—rise to the occasion in the past year to continue building our community’s momentum. These award winners went above and beyond,” said John Urbahns, CEO and president of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “We’re proud to serve a community that’s full of people who are committed to making a positive impact.”

About 400 people gathered for the event at the Grand Wayne Convention Center.

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