Monday, March 9, 2015

Recap of the ACG BOLD Awards

Recently, I attended the third annual ACG BOLD Awards. Some background: ACG is the Association for Corporate Growth, and ACG Minnesota is the area’s premier mergers and acquisitions organization. Its membership includes corporate executives, private equity investors, investment bankers, and other mergers and acquisitions intermediaries.

The BOLD Awards recognize “Minnesota organizations and individuals who demonstrate innovative and imaginative efforts to positively impact the community and grow Minnesota.” There are four award categories—Small Corporate, Middle-Market Corporate, Large Corporate, and Non-Profit—and nominees must have demonstrated innovative approaches and BOLD ways to address challenges in their respective market.

Nominees are judged on criteria including Innovation, Talent Management, Growth, Collaboration, and “Daring BOLD.” More than 60 companies were nominated for the 2015 BOLD Awards, and the winners are….

  • Small Corporate: Surgical Science. Established in 1999, Surgical Science is a developer of virtual reality surgical simulation training systems for medical professionals. The company’s first product, LapSim, provides best-in-class procedural simulation for appendectomy, advanced suturing, gynecology, bariatrics, and more. Recently, the company unveiled its TeamSim creation, the industry’s first interprofessional simulation trainer. 
  • Middle-Market Corporate: Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop. Founded in southern Minnesota by Dan and Angie Bastian, Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop is one of the country’s fastest growing natural popcorn brands. Angie’s popcorn and puffs are certified gluten-free, made with non-genetically modified ingredients (with no effect on taste!), and come in some pretty fun packaging. The products can be found in natural food, grocery, club, and mass retail stores nationwide. Angie’s was also the winner of the overall grand prize, the “Boldest of the BOLD” Award.  
  • Large Corporate: ABRA Auto Body & Glass. Founded in Fridley in 1984 and currently headquartered in Brooklyn Park, ABRA is a nationally-recognized leader in collision repair, paintless dent removal, and auto glass repair and replacement. ABRA has exhibited impressive growth in recent years, fueled primarily by the acquisition of existing facilities and the continued construction of new locations. Currently, ABRA has over 270 company-owned or franchised centers in 20 states. 
  • Non-Profit: Pinky Swear Foundation. Formerly the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, the Pinky Swear Foundation recently rebranded itself to honor the pinky-swear promise made between a father and son. Founded by Steve and Becky Chepokas in 2003 in memory of their son Mitch, the Pinky Swear Foundation helps children with cancer and their families by providing support for basic needs. For the past 12 years, the Pinky Swear Foundation has hosted the largest children’s fundraising triathlon in the U.S., and has provided more than $4.5 million in financial assistance and quality of life support. The Pinky Swear Foundation is currently undergoing expansion into 11 new markets across the country. 

These four BOLD Award winners showcase entrepreneurship and inspiration at their best, and it was enjoyable to spend an evening hearing their stories. For more information on ACG Minnesota, see here, and mark your calendar for next year’s ACG BOLD Awards on February 23, 2016. 

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