Entrepreneurial Award SWC

December 3, 2014   //   News

Twenty three suburban professionals were honored for their entrepreneurial spirit during the 15th annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards hosted by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

More than 125 people lauded the honorees during the annual event at the Danada House Conference Center in Wheaton.

The awards honor people who successfully brought their business dream to reality in six-county suburban Chicago region. The honorees demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship, including willingness to take risk, drive, perseverance and business creativity. Awards are presented in seven categories.

Keynote speaker Tom Walter, founder and chief culture officer of Tasty Catering in Elk Grove Village, told the group that despite the sacrifices an entrepreneur makes in starting and growing his business, the foundation of success lies in assuring a work life balance and making sure family and employees are treated and recognized as partners, “You have partners at home and you have partners at work,” Walter said. “If you can create a loving atmosphere at work built on a strong culture based on altruistic purposes, your company will survive.”

Walter stressed the importance of maintaining a strong relation with family, as they provide the foundation and support to keep an entrepreneur going in tough times.

“If you think this award is just about you, you’re not going to last long,” he added. ”If you’re mindful and you live in the present … and if you tell someone that you love them, and care for them and you thank them for their support to help you get here, you’ll be around for many years as successful entrepreneurs.”

Many of the honorees acknowledged Walters’s comments, thanking family members and business partners as they related their own stories of starting and building their dreams.

Don Roth of AmpliVox Sound Systems in Northbrook, who was honored in the regional spirit category, added that a business’ success lies in “a foundation of integrity, trust and belief in each one of your employees.

“Our culture is one of candidness, openness and belief in each other,” Roth said.

Victor Miceli of Des Plaines Office Equipment, who was honored in the Lifetime Achievement category, urged the honorees to follow his lead in inspiring employees to become involved in reforming Illinois government. Miceli said he has offered his employees additional paid time off during the holidays if they vote this November.

“I told them ‘I don’t care who you vote for, just vote,’ and I want you to send me a picture with the ‘I Voted’ sticker,” Miceli said. “My challenge to all Illinois businesses to do the same.”

Entrepreneurial Spirit: 2014 Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards

Meet the 23 suburban professionals who were honored in the 15th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger
Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards.

Bob Knott and Susie Cummings

SWC Technology Partners, Oak Brook

Nominated by: Elliott Baretz, SWC Technology Partners

Bob Knott and Susie Cummings are president and vice president of SWC Technology Partners, a technology solutions provider which works with middle-market organizations in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Knott was responsible for turning the company around when he joined the firm in 2002, and headed up the management buyout in 2005.

He increased SWC’s offerings to include collaboration platforms, search engine optimization and web design, customer relationship management and unified communications.

The last three years, SWC has made the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the United States.

Cummings did her part by launching the managed services practice for the company while leading the growth of the firm’s EDI practice. The managed services practice has experienced 70 percent growth over the last three years.

Knott and Cummings also spearheaded the company’s program of adopting a school in an underserved Chicago neighborhood and providing it with thousands of dollars in technology support. She also helped create a robotics club to interest students in technology and engineering.

2014 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Honorees

Early Stage

  • Rebecca Gengler, More Polish Pottery, Big Rock
  • Lisa Gregor, Church Street Brewing Co., Itasca
  • Michelle Thompson, Netcycler/Swap.com, Addison
  • Jamie Pritscher and Erin Walter, nuphoriq, Elk Grove Village


  • John Hershey, J. Hershey Architecture, Libertyville
  • Beverly Miller, Tranquility Spa and Wellness Center, St. Charles
  • Prasad Ravi, INOC, Northbrook
  • Susie Cummings and Bob Knott, SWC Technology Partners, Oak Brook


  • Jill Foucre, Marcel’s Culinary Experience, Glen Ellyn
  • Dave Walker, BizHive, St. Charles
  • Mike Wyrostek, Naperville Bites & Sites, Naperville

Lifetime Achievement

  • Victor Miceli, Des Plaines Office Equipment, Elk Grove Village

Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs

  • Priscilla Cordero, Small Business Development Center, Governors
  • State University, University Park
  • Norman Roth, Roth Sales Enhancers, Libertyville

Regional Spirit

  • Don Roth, AmpliVox Sound Systems, Northbrook
  • Roch Tranel, Tranel Financial Group, Libertyville

Young Entrepreneur (under age of 40)

  • Jeff Galas, OnPurposeGrowth, Downers Grove
  • Jamison Ori, Rosebrook Pools Inc., Libertyville
  • Jennifer Villarreal, Sales from the Heart, Schaumburg
  • Haider Saba & Tim Walter, iMotorsports, Elmhurst

This story was originally published in the Daily Herald Business Ledger.