Fast 15 Award Winners Share Stories of Success, Perseverance

by Dec 22, 2020

The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced the 2020 Fast 15 MVP award winners today, December 22.

“In a typical year, the Fast 15 Awards highlight businesses with exceptional revenue growth,” Executive Director Pat East explains. “But 2020 was anything but typical, so we decided to do things a little differently.” The Mill paused the business awards program. Instead, it added a new category for MVP individuals and solicited nominations from throughout the community. The 15 winners hold a variety of positions across very different businesses and organizations. All were nominated for their ingenuity, drive, and leadership in making things happen, no matter what the obstacles. “Especially in challenging times, these folks inspire us with their energy and their achievements,” East says. “And we need a little inspiration this year.”

The 2020 Fast 15 winners are:

  • Jennifer Borland, Director of Research Programs, Rockman et al
  • Kyle Caird, Global Visual Brand Manager, Cook Medical
  • Megan Cox, CEO, Genie Supply
  • Stephen Crane, Editor, Herald-Times
  • Kurtis Cummings, Founder & President, Switchyard Brewing Company
  • Cory Hawkins, Program Specialist, Banneker Center, City of Bloomington
  • Anne McCombe, Business Relationship Manager, MetroStar Systems
  • Jennie Moser, Opera Singer, Founder & CEO, Stagetime
  • Molly Nagy, Director of People Operations, Brainlabs
  • Dana Palazzo, Engineer, Chexology
  • Ben Swanson, Cofounder, Secretly Group
  • Becky Throckmorton, HR Manager and EEO Officer at Weddle Bros. Construction
  • Geng Wang, CEO and Cofounder, Civic Champs
  • Jason Whitney, Associate Vice President, IU Ventures, & Executive Director, IU Angel Network
  • Markay Winston, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, MCCSC

Each winner was asked to share how they personally found success in 2020. A common theme emerged of making a team or community impact. Tech CEO Geng Wang found great success for his business, but also found time to create a separate nonprofit. “The Helping Hands project was formed to assist seniors and immunocompromised individuals with everyday tasks that have become difficult due to the pandemic,” he says. “Although this project was not intended to generate revenues, I believed the project was crucial to stand in solidarity with the community and further form a tighter bond among employees wanting to make an impact. To date this philanthropic initiative has helped over 700 individuals across the Bloomington community.”

Winner Markay Winston of MCCSC notes, “There is no road map for this type of crisis. Our schools teach children with varying abilities and needs, and we had to quickly figure out how to provide meaningful learning opportunities over a computer for all students. . . The fact that we have given each other and ourselves just a little grace during this unpredictable journey is the real success of 2020!”

Cory Hawkins summed up her work simply: “I want to have an impact that my daughter and her generation can be proud of.”

To read all the stories from the winners, visit https://dimensionmill.org/fast15-awards/