Indian River Chamber honors local companies

news release

The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the achievements of 18 local companies at its annual Industry Appreciation Awards luncheon on October 28, at the Indian River State College Richardson Center.  A list of the 2021 award recipients is posted on the Chamber’s economic development website

Richard Giessert, Vice President of Marine Bank & Trust, opened the event, welcoming guests and serving as Master of Ceremonies. Terry Schlitt, owner of TE Schlitt Engineering and Chair of the Awards Committee, announced the architectural awards.

Helene Caseltine, the Chamber’s Economic Development Director, explained “our Industry Appreciation Awards program is an important component of the Chamber’s overall business expansion program and our goal of job creation.  “We like to recognize our local businesses that have made a positive impact in our community during this difficult past year, either through architectural enhancements or by way of community involvement and economic impact.” 

The Chamber and its Awards Committee seek out nominations throughout the summer. Committee members then vote on completed nominations, based on select criteria for each category.

There were 18 awards handed out at the event, beginning with the Company of the Year award.  This recognizes local businesses that stimulate the Indian River County economy, make contributions back to the community, provide quality year-round employment, and have an overall positive impact on our county.

The large Company of the Year was presented to Quail Valley Golf Club, River Club and the Pointe. Quail Valley is a private country club that was established in 2000. The club employs 260 off-season workers and 320 in-season. Quail’s 3 locations generate well over $2-million in payroll and property taxes each year, and spends even more than that annually on capital projects and equipment, sourcing their purchases locally.  The motto at Quail Valley is “We Serve”.  All Team Members are very involved with mentoring students by creating internships and work experiences for students that are interested in the Hospitality Field. Quail Valley Charities, Inc. was formed in 2001 to support Indian River County children’s programs that benefit their education and well­being. To date, over $9.3 million dollars granted to 37 different organizations to support the children in Indian River County. The Quail Valley Charities Team also participated in the Tunnel-To-Towers Event on September 11, 2021. Kathy Mulvey, CEO, and Martha Redner, Membership Director and Executive Director of Quail Valley Charities, accepted the award.

Molinari Pools, with 31 employees, was recognized as the Chamber’s Mid-sized Company of the Year. Established in Indian River County in 1996,  Molinari Pools the company provides pool maintenance, repairs and renovations. The company has seen a steady increase of sales and market share over recent years. The bulk of its purchases, over $1.8-million per year, are made locally. Molinari Pools recently joined the Chamber, and is active in many other professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels.  The team at Molinari Pools volunteers their time and actively supports a number of local charitable groups, such as the Women’s Refuge, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Glendale Christian School, the Salvation Army, and the Angel Tree Organization. Joel Molinari, Jr., CEO of Molinari Pools, accepted the award.

The Chamber’s Small Company of the Year went Lulich & Attorneys, with offices in Sebastian and Vero Beach. Lulich Attorneys has been serving Indian River County for over 35 years, making them one of the longest-established full-service law firms in the county. Even through a pandemic year, Lulich Attorneys saw its sales and revenue increase 200%. The team of attorneys and staff provide legal services in a multitude of areas, including real estate, personal injury, estate planning, family law, immigration, business law, and criminal defense. Employees are happy to volunteer their time and services to our community. Over the past year, Lulich Attorneys donated more than $10,000 to local charities, including: Little Birthday Angels; Caring for Catastrophes; and the Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach.  Jordan Lulich, a Partner with Lulich & Attorneys, accepted the award.

With similar criteria as Company of the Year, the award for Veteran-Owned Business of the Year went to Marc J. Richard, the owner of Postal Connections.  Marc opened his business in 2010, and provides a variety of retail pack and ship options to his customers.  Marc served 9 years in the U.S. Army, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. Postal Connections is very active within our community, with Marc serving as an  Ambassador with the Indian River Chamber, and on the Board of Directors for Feed the Lambs. He is also actively involved with the Vero Beach Christian Business Association. The Chamber was honored to present its 2021 Veteran-owned Business of the Year award to Marc Richard and Postal Connections.

The Chamber’s Minority Business of the Year was presented to Julie Keller, President of KSM Engineering.  As defined by Florida Statute, a minority business is one that is 51% owned by a person who is a member of a particular racial, ethnic, or gender makeup or national origin.  KSM was founded in 1990, and focuses on geotechnical and construction material testing and engineering.  The firm has 30 employees who are considered part of the family, which sets them apart from many of their competitors.  KSM has seen a 43% increase in revenue this past year, with a 20% increase in market share.  They’ve expanded their service area into the Space Coast and Palm Beaches, as well as expanding their engineering services.  KSM is certified as a Women Owned Business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.  They are members of the Sebastian Area Chamber of Commerce, and are involved in a number of state and national trade associations. The firm is also involved with Home Aid – and national organization that provides housing and programmatic facilities for those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

The Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes firms less than five years old that show increased growth and a true entrepreneurial spirit, while overcoming challenges and becoming a good corporate citizen.  The Chamber’s 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year went to Janice and Steve Milesic, owners of Mattress Market.  The couple opened their first store in 2019 and now operate four stores, from Melbourne to Jensen Beach.  It is a family-owned business, with non-commissioned sales people – which translates into a non-stressful, relaxed and no hard-sell type of buying experience.  In just two years, the company’s gross revenue has quadrupled and staff size increased from two to eight people.  As the pandemic hit, Mattress Market had to re-group and re-align how they operated such a hands-on type of business. They were able to keep their sales staff employed by scheduling private one-on-one visits with their customers. The company has assisted the Buggy Bunch, CareNet and made donations to Oceans Unite Christian Centre in support of the new House of Transfiguration.

Architectural Recognition awards were also presented, highlighting new construction and renovations.  Award criteria includes the impact on the immediate area; the building’s unique features; and the building or project being “user friendly”.  The following architectural projects were recognized:

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Commercial Building Construction

Small – Vittorios Plaza, on Oslo Road

Mid-Size – Corporate Air, at the Vero Beach Airport

Large – Vero Orthopaedics, on Indian River Boulevard  

New Non-Profit Building Construction

Small – The Arc Group Home for Fragile Adults

New Government Building

Small – Beachland Elementary School/Single Point of Entry

Mid-Size – Indian River Charter High School’s Charter Hall

Large – Jackie Robinson Training Complex

New Project Construction

Vero Glass & Mirror – on Old Dixie Highway

COMMERCIAL RENOVATION

Commercial Building Renovation

Small Mainland – Metamorphosis Hair Salon, off 14th Avenue

Small Beachside – Ryder’s Gourmet Market, on Cardinal Drive

Large – Girard Equipment, at the Vero Beach Airport

Non-Profit

Small – The Buggy Bunch, on 21st Street

COMPANY OF THE YEAR

  • Large (over 75 employees)

Quail Valley Golf Club, River Club and the Pointe – award accepted by Kathy Mulvey, CEO, and Martha Redner, Membership Director and Executive Director of Quail Valley Charities

  • Mid-size (25-75 employees)

Molinari Pools – award accepted by Joel Molinari, Jr., CEO

  • Small (less than 25 employees)

Lulich & Attorneys – award accepted by Jordan Lulich, a Partner in the firm

VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

Postal Connections – award accepted by Marc J. Richard, Owner

MINORITY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

KSM Engineering & Testing – award accepted by Julie Keller, President of KSM

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Janice and Steve Milesic, owners of Mattress Market

ARCHITECTURAL RECOGNITION AWARDS – below and next page

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Commercial Building Construction

Small – Vittorios Plaza, on Oslo Road

Mid-Size – Corporate Air, at the Vero Beach Airport

Large – Vero Orthopaedics, on Indian River Boulevard 

New Non-Profit Building Construction

Small – ARC Group Home for Fragile Adults

New Government Building

Small – Beachland Elementary School/Single Point of Entry

Mid-Size – Charter High School’s Charter Hall

Large – Jackie Robinson Training Complex

New Project Construction

Vero Glass & Mirror – Old Dixie Highway

COMMERCIAL RENOVATION

Small Mainland – Metamorphosis Hair Salon, off 14th Avenue

Small Beachside – Ryder’s Gourmet Market, on Cardinal Drive

Large – Girard Equipment, at the Vero Beach Airport

Non-Profit

Small – The Buggy Bunch, on 21st Street

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