Tom Walter - Chief Culture Officer of Tasty Catering
Tom Walter is a “serial entrepreneur,” author, speaker and a principal in numerous companies. He is best known as the Chief Culture Officer (CCO) of Chicago-area Tasty Catering, a suburban corporate caterer and event planner that was recently named a Forbes Best Small Company in America. Tom has more than 40 years of experience as an owner and operator in the service industry. He has participated in the startup of 32 companies, is currently active in 9 of those startups, has acquired three and—in a few cases—has terminated businesses in a broad spectrum of markets. Tom remains a principal, investor and advisor for several companies, most of which are part of 80 Nine Holdings and have been co-founded by his staff. Tom is a national speaker and co-author.
Advocate of the Year - Dwayne Hirsch, The Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker
Dwayne is a Real Estate Agent with the Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker in Chicago, Illinois. He specializes in helping sellers, buyers, investors and renters achieve their goals in real estate. An SBAC member since 2011, Dwayne is a Member of the Executive Board, Board of Advisors, Policy and Membership Committees and also the host of the Hyde Park Happy Hour. Widely considered to be among Chicago’s best known networking professionals, Dwayne is committed to advocacy for small business and to the advancement of entrepreneurship in Illinois.
Phillip Zelkowitz Small Business Champion Award - Stephen Ball, MB Financial Bank
Stephen is Senior Vice President and Head of MB Financial Bank’s Business Banking group. He is responsible for products, goals, marketing, training, promotional initiatives, management, and production for all retail banking that pertains to businesses. Stephen has spent his 21 years of banking experience focused on the small business market. Along with his staff of 32, Stephen helps businesses with lending and cash management solutions while providing sound analysis of their financials. Stephen is an experienced public speaker and published author. He has presented at Kent School of Law and various chambers of commerce and networking group events.
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