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Business of the Year Awards Honor Outstanding Lehigh Valley Companies

By Colin McEvoy on December 16, 2014

Steve Follett (center), president and CEO of the Follett Corporation, one of the award winners, along with presenter Don Cunningham (right), president and CEO of LVEDC. (Photo by Keith Muccilli)

Steve Follett (center), president and CEO of the Follett Corporation, one of the award winners, along with presenter Don Cunningham (right), president and CEO of LVEDC. (Photo by Keith Muccilli)

Some of the most accomplished and respected businesses in the Lehigh Valley were recognized last week as part of the third annual Greater Lehigh Valley Business of the Year awards presentation.

Nearly 400 attendees came out to Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks for the December 9 ceremony, organized by Lehigh Valley Business and co-sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). Four companies and one executive were selected by an independent judging panel among nearly three dozen nominees.

“Each winner has a strong commitment to their customers, employees and the Greater Lehigh Valley,” said Mike O’Rourke, Lehigh Valley Business publisher. “We are proud to celebrate their success.”

The Forks Township-based Follett Corporation of Easton received the top honor, being named Business of the Year in the category of more than 100 employees. The law firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., was awarded in the 51-100 employees category, and the Emmaus-based American Millwork & Cabinetry won among companies with 1-50 employees.

GreenStar Solutions was chosen as Emerging Business of the Year, and John T. Yurconic, president of the John Yurconic Agency, was named Executive of the Year. In addition, three business leaders were inducted into the Lehigh Valley Business Hall of Fame: Jack Wilson, founder of the Bethlehem biopharmaceutical company ABEC Inc.; Jack Gulati, owner of the Reading Royals ice hockey team; and Jeff Parks, who is retiring this year as president of Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest.

“Nearly 70 percent of the Lehigh Valley’s job growth is created organically from our existing companies or start-ups,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. “This event and these awards represent the best of our businesses and business leaders during the last year. We are fortunate to have these companies and these people working here and investing in the Lehigh Valley.”

The Follett Corporation, a manufacturer of ice machines, ice dispensers and medical-grade refrigerators and freezers, has been expanding in recent years. It undertook a 25,000-square-foot expansion to its 131,400-square-foot Easton facility last year, which the LVEDC assisted in financing, allowing the company to retain its more than 300 employees and add 50 new jobs. Follett also signed a lease this year for a new 73,000-square-foot facility in Bethlehem.

“This award is a tribute to the hard work of all Follett employees, and I was proud to accept it on all of our employees’ behalf,” said Steve Follett, company president and CEO.

Norris McLaughlin & Marcus is one of the largest law firms in the region. With offices in Allentown, New York City and Bridgewater, N.J., it specializes in a wide range of practice areas including bankruptcy, business, criminal, economic development, environmental, malpractice and municipal law.

“We are deeply honored to have received this award and we thank the distinguished panel of judges,” said Matthew Sorrentino, an attorney and managing partner with the firm. “It is a reflection of the dedication, professionalism and hard work of our attorneys and staff, and, most importantly, a testament to their care for each other, our clients and our community.”

See below for a full list of all of the nominees in each category:

Business of the Year (101+ employees)

  • Andesa Services
  • Bennett Automotive Group
  • Follett Corporation
  • Nazareth Pallet Co. Inc.

Business of the Year (51-100 employees)

  • Barry Isett & Associates
  • INetU
  • Keystone Fire Protection Co.
  • Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A.
  • Strahman Valves, Inc.
  • The Frederick Group
  • Trifecta Technologies, Inc.

Business of the Year (1-50 employees)

  • American Millwork & Cabinetry
  • Bridgeway Academy
  • Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, Inc.
  • EPS Financial
  • Klunk & Millan Advertising
  • Liquid Interactive
  • ProtoCAM
  • Spark
  • Wolper Information Services

Emerging Business of the Year

  • Beirne Wealth Consulting
  • Dennie’s Resurfacing
  • GreenStar Solutions
  • Jerdon Construction Services LLC
  • Le Femme Boutique, LLC
  • LifeAire Systems
  • Sarbari
  • Senior Safety Net, LLC

Executive of the Year

  • Ken Abboud, president of ACI
  • Peter Fisher, president and CEO of Health Network Labs
  • Thomas Riddle, president of Valley National Financial Advisors
  • John Smith, vice president of Forino Co. L.P.
  • John T. Yurconic, president of the John Yurconic Agency

Hall of Fame Honorees

  • Jack Gulati, owner of the Reading Royals ice hockey team
  • Jeff Parks, president of ArtsQuest
  • Jack Wilson, founder of ABEC Inc.
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