The husband and wife team of Tana and Mike Greene walked away as the winner of the 2005 Trailblazer Award at the 22nd annual Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Awards on Wednesday night.
A crowd of more than 700 people — said to be the largest ever for the awards ceremony = turned out.
The Greenes, who launched staffing firm StrataForce in 2002, beat out other finalists Keith Leudeman of goodmortgage.com and Reginald Bowser of Rollover Systems for the honor.
The Trailblazer Award was launched by the Business Innovation and Growth Council, which merged with the Charlotte Chamber in July. The Trailblazer honor recognizes “high growth entrepreneurial companies that have demonstrated innovation and overcome obstacles to succeed”.
The Greenes owned a franchise as part of a national staffing firm for 15 years before launching StrataForce. They opened an office in Charlotte in 1991. StrataForce’s headquarters are in Cornelius, NC.
Talking about entrepreneurial spirit, Tana Greene told The North Carolina Journal for Women in its December 2004 issue that there is a fine line between growing a businesses and ruining it.
“You can run a business, but you can also run it into the ground,” she told The NC Journal. “You’ve got to run the business like you’re going to sell it tomorrow.”
David Furman, an architect involved in numerous urban revitalization projects in Charlotte, received the Chairman’s Award in recognition of business impact on the community. Furman works with Boulevard Centro
The Ambassador Award, which honors a volunteer’s effort in new member recruitment, went to Hunter Widener, vice-president at Bank of America Corp.
The Chamber also handed out three other entrepreneur awards.
In the 1-10 employee category, Occasions Catering beat out finalists Moonlight Design Group and Pea Organizing Services.
In the 11-35 employee category, The Elevator Channel won over Exervio Consulting and Morehead Associates.
In the 36-150 employee category, Ameritrust Mortgage was selected over All American Roofing and Meta Recycling Services.