Community Innovators Honored at Gala

by Oct 12, 2021

Monday night sparkled with excitement at The Mill at the Community Innovation Awards. We gathered to announce the 2021 winners of Best Places to Work, the Fast 15 MVP Awards, and the FUSE Business Innovation Awards. This was the first time we’ve celebrated all three awards programs together, and we had a blast!  

The team from the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington accepts their Best Places to Work Award.

“Tonight is about shining a light on some extraordinary accomplishments,” Executive Director Pat East said. “We do this in part because it feels good to recognize excellence and honor our friends and colleagues, but also because we want to spread the news: Bloomington is the heart of creativity, talent, and innovation in Indiana. We’re proud of what we’ve built together, and we’re excited to see how we’ll continue to grow together.”

Jennifer Pearl, President and CEO of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), kicked off the event by announcing the winners of the Best Places to Work. The Best Places to Work awards happen across the country every year to honor businesses that go the extra mile to support their employees, build strong culture, and attract and retain talent. Here in Monroe County, Best Places to Work is in its fourth year of celebrating our community’s top employers. The Mill, The H-T, and the BEDC work together to gather nominations, distribute surveys to employees and leadership at the nominated companies, and compile the results, with special weight given to employee surveys.

The top-ranked company for 2021 was Ardeo Education Solutions. This was the second year on the list for Ardeo, who moved up ten spots. (See all winners and their scores). 

2021 Best Places to Work Winners

  1. Ardeo Education Solutions
  2. Hylant
  3. St John Associates
  4. German American Bank
  5. Bill C Brown Associates
  6. Express Employment Professionals
  7. Weddle Brothers Construction
  8. Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington
  9. Cardinal Spirits

The team from German American Bank accepts their Best Places to Work Award.

Stacy Flynn of New Leaf–New Life accepts her Fast 15 MVP Award.

Next, Chad Giddens from the Herald-Times presented Tonight presented the Fast 15 MVP Awards. These awards recognize those star employees, the MVPs, who drive innovation and growth. Individuals were nominated by their peers, and each nomination was reviewed by a panel of representatives from The Herald-Times and The Mill.  

2021 Fast 15 MVP Winners

  • Leslie Abshier, Resource Development Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington
  • Penny Caudill, Monroe County Health Department Administrator
  • Erik Coyne, Chief Operating Officer, Folia
  • Josh David, Vice President of Student Service, Ardeo Education Solutions
  • Michelle Davis, Visual Content Manager, Cook Medical
  • Maria Douglas, Vice President of Operations, Express Employment Professionals
  • Stacy Flynn, Assistant Director, New Leaf—New Life
  • Hunter Hawley, Founder & CEO, Blueprint Stats
  • Megan Holtsclaw, Financial Center Manager, German American Bank
  • Cy Megnin, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Velocities Region
  • Jaime Miller, Ready Schools Coordinator, RBBCSC
  • Courtney Payne-Taylor, Operations Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington
  • Stacy Sedory, Outreach & Innovation Coordinator, MCCSC
  • Sankalp Sharma, Founder & President, People of IU
  • Kirk White, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, IU Office of the Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Engagement

Finally, Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming for The Mill, presented the FUSE Business Innovation Awards. The FUSE Awards recognize the accomplishments of companies and individuals in Bloomington’s thriving tech scene. Nominations for each category were reviewed by a panel of representatives from The Herald-Times and The Mill.

2021 FUSE Winners

  • Mentor of the Year: Geoff Zentz
  • Company of the Year: Switchyard Brewing
  • Rising Star of the Year: Atlas Solutions
  • Bill & Gayle Cook Entrepreneur of the Year: Melanie Walker
  • Partner of the Year: IU Ventures
  • Newsworthy Event of the Year: Bloomington named Rising Tech City at Mira Awards
  • Community Leader Supporting Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Jane Kupersmith

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! And be sure to check out the special print supplement to the Herald-Times this week for inspiring stories about the winners!