The Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal honored local entrepreneurs at an event Sept. 28 at Valencia Country Club.
Rustin Kretz, CEO of Scorpion Internet Marketing, was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year. Next month, Scorpion moves into its new headquarters building on Entertainment Drive, overlooking Interstate 5 at Magic Mountain Parkway.
Founded in 2001, Scorpion has grown to more than 530 employees, including 400 in Santa Clarita. It has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies for the last seven years in a row.
The event was “the first of several events our publication will be hosting in the coming months focusing on different industry sectors and business issues in our valley,” said SCVBJ publisher Jason Schaff.
Erick Arndt was recognized in the category of Entrepreneurial Impact for his work with SCV Startup over the last several years promoting and nurturing the startup community in our valley.
Ajay Kapur, associate dean for research and development in digital arts at CalArts, was recognized for entrepreneurial innovation. He is doing groundbreaking work in musical robotics and electronic instrument design, and founded the Digital Arts expo where artists collaborate and look for new ways to approach art, communication, engineering and design.
Erin Royer-Asrilant, founder of Your Village, an online provider of parenting resources and the first business to emerge from the city’s business incubator, was recognized as an entrepreneurial rising star.
In the category of entrepreneurial mentorship, Tania Mulry, founder of the Steamwork Center coworking space and owner of Digital Detox, was recognized for her work nurturing the entrepreneurial success of others.
Eddie Cole Managing Director of Group 6 USA LLC, which owns and manages several brands in motorcycle and bicycle industries, was recognized for entrepreneurial sustained success. A former professional/factory motocross racer, his businesses include Answer Products, Valencia Sport Group, and Sunline Racing Products.
For his work at PayForward, CEO Steve Marks was recognized for his positive impact on local non-profits and the wider community. His company has developed a system that gives back cash to people who shop at certain merchants and that cash can be translated into donations to benefit local non-profits.
The event also recognized entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses and serve as role models for others in the business community. This recognition was given to Juan Alonso, Le Chene; Nola Aronson, Advanced Audiology; Steven Corn, Newhall Escrow; Kyle Duffy, Optimus Computing; Don and Cheri Fleming, Valencia Acura; Nicholas Frank, Nicholas Aire Systems; Justin Franson, University Foot and Ankle Institute; Kirit Gajera, Canyon Plastics; Quan Gan, Gantom Lighting & Controls; Shelly Jefferis, IsaGenix; David Keesee, Sales Impact Academy and The League; Ken Keller, Strategic Advisory Boards; Taylor Kellstrom, SCV Book Exchange; John Knight, Knight Building Systems; Dylan Lewis, Blue Cloud Movie Ranch; Lindahl Lucas, Lucas Insurance Services; David Medoff, Trimed Inc.; Melissa and Oscar Ramirez, Air Bolt Group; John Shaffery, Poole & Shaffery; Victoria and Andrew Swihart, Swihart Studios; Teresa Todd, Point of View Communications; Daniel Veluzat, Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch and Melody Ranch; and Scott Zimmerman, Corporate Strategies.
The next SCVBJ event, recognizing SCV Business Leaders, will take place Thursday, Dec. 7 at 5:30 P.M. at Valencia Country Club.