The Fulton County Economic Development Corporation will honor county businesses at its 2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on April 25, but the window for submitting nominations is closing.
Four Business Excellence Awards will be presented at the banquet in Founders Hall in Archbold – Business of the Year, Retail Excellence Award, Industry Excellence Award, and Community Leadership Award. The awards are given to recognize the importance of the county’s business community; to encourage innovation, business excellence, and good corporate citizenship; and to afford businesses the opportunity to be recognized for their excellence and success.
The banquet’s keynote speaker will be John Bacon, an author, award-winning sports writer, college instructor, radio and television sports personality, and public speaker. A former sports writer for The Ann Arbor News and The Detroit News, Bacon covered the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and has covered international sporting events for The New York Times and ESPN and Time magazines.
In 1998 and 2000, he was included in the Notable Sports Writing category in The Best American Sports Writing competition. In 2011, he was named “Speaker of the Year” by the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International, and in 2014 he was awarded the PRNDI prize for nation’s best commentary by National Public Radio.
With the exception of the Business of the Year award, which is limited to FCEDC members, award nominations can be submitted for any or all of the categories. Businesses within the county area can be nominated or can nominate themselves, at no cost. Individuals or businesses submitting nominations don’t have to belong to the FCEDC.
The deadline for nominations, however, is Friday, March 15. Applications can be found on the FCEDC website at https://fcedc-ohio.com.
An FCEDC committee comprised of Fulton County residents reviews the nominations and selects award recipients. Winners will be announced at the annual meeting and banquet, which is open to everyone.
FCEDC Executive Director Matt Gilroy said the awards “are less about competition between businesses and more about recognizing the efforts that so many put forth each and every day.” He said winners are usually recognized for an outstanding event the previous year, such as expanding their businesses and giving to causes.
“The recipients all share something in common, whether they are a business or an individual – they love their community and are passionately dedicated to making their community better,” he said.
Gilroy said the FCEDC’s main challenge is attracting added workforce to produce goods and services local businesses can sell. “While that is a challenge, it also is an example of how strong the local economy continues to be in Fulton County,” he said.
The FCEDC, formed in 2014 and currently with 102 members, has an “economic development pipeline” that includes numerous projects designed to attract new business to Fulton County and to help those already located here to expand, he added.
Despite the fact that the largest site the FCEDC markets in the county for a new business is only 160 acres, “we have an outstanding workforce here, our transportation infrastructure is excellent, and there are places throughout the county that have excess capacities for the various utilities that businesses need,” Gilroy said.