Over the past 30 years the Richardson Chamber of Commerce has honored business with a annual luncheon and reception.  This year Richardson businesses and organizations were recognized with eight award following categories: Commercial Real Estate Project, Community Service, Environmental, International, Newcomer, Public/Non-Profit/Education, Entrepreneurship, and Richardson Loyalty.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

Commercial Real Estate Project Award: Raytheon Company Raytheon, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors, broke ground on three buildings totaling 489,000 square feet in KDC’s CityLine development. The cyber security, intelligence and mission support services divisions will move out of their Garland location and relocate to the new Richardson site by the end of 2015. The move will bring 1,700 high-wage technical employs to Richardson, reinforcing Richardson’s position as a major center of technology development in North Texas.

Community Involvement Award: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Since its founding more than 80 years ago, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has made a commitment to core values which include community support and active volunteerism. Its Blue Corps team is comprised of more than 1,280 BCBSTX volunteers who donated more than 16,857 hours of their time in service last year to hundreds of organizations across Texas to fill the gaps in healthcare, education and social services. BCBSTX also has Blue Bear, the company’s health and wellness ambassador who promotes healthier practices among Texans, particularly among young children. Blue Bear's community outreach efforts include visits to children's hospitals, community events, charitable events and more. BCBSTX has been a longtime sponsor of the city’s Wildflower Festival, the Richardson Symphony and many other community events.

Environmental Award: EnTouch Controls EnTouch Controls offers the ultimate in facilities and energy management intelligence with turnkey installation, energy analysis and prompt resolution to help facility management teams while delivering significant savings to the enterprise’s bottom line. It specializes in energy management solutions for service providers, schools and retail/restaurants. This year, EnTouch Controls was selected by Pizza Hut to deliver energy management services to 500 corporate and nearly 6,000 franchise restaurants. Company founder Greg Fasullo has been recognized by the Dallas Business Journal for his success in building high performance companies and creating jobs in the North Texas region.

International Business Award: Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant Afrah began as a bakery in 2002 and has grown to one of the most popular and well-known Mediterranean restaurants in North Texas. It features the family’s southern Lebanese specialties for both lunch and dinner. Owner Ayad Elhorr and his team received some well-deserved national recognition several years ago as a feature on the popular Food Network TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”  Dallas CEO Magazine and DMN Dining Guide reviewers have been awarding them with “Bests” since 2008, including Best Neighborhood Restaurant and the Top 100 DFW restaurants list in 2014. Urbanspoon gives them their highest rating of five stars. A beautiful new restaurant and retail store are currently under construction next to its present location. This will give Afrah almost twice as much space and plentiful parking.

Newcomer Business Award: Associa, Inc. Associa expanded to Richardson in 2014, leasing 60,000 square feet in the redeveloped building owned by Fobare Commercial at 1225 Alma Road. It brought in 600 employees to Richardson, in addition to new hires. Associa is the largest and most respected leader in housing association management, serving more than four million residents, providing customized services designed to deliver measureable value for the home owner associations across the U.S. Under the leadership of its founder, John Carona, Associa has endured enormous industry changes throughout its history and is today recognized as the industry leader. A Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Carona also holds the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) designation and is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the state of Texas.

Public/Non-Profit Educational Award: UT Dallas ATEC Program The UT Dallas Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Visual Arts are generating an unmatched talent pool of digital content designers, researchers, artists and developers right here in Richardson. Many of these students dream of employment in world-famous animation and gaming studios where they develop novel entertainment releases for international audiences. Other graduates hope to join with entrepreneurs to form new companies to produce work for educational, medical, communications, security and engineering applications. Future companies will require digital content and communications experts in all areas of their enterprise. The new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology building on the UTD campus opened this past year. It will showcase the energy and talent of UTD’s productive students and committed researchers and serve as a transparent exhibition showcase for the students’ work in the visual arts, computer animation, game design, digital sound design, mobile applications, e-publishing and social networks. The building’s classrooms, laboratories, studios and conference spaces support new ways to learn and work in a community immersed in innovative practices. The academic programs exhibit UT Dallas’ work as well as the work of our international partners in virtual displays, exhibitions, conferences and network publications.

Richardson Loyalty Award: Fossil Group, Inc. Fossil has been selected for the Richardson Loyalty award in recognition of their 30th year in business and for their ongoing commitment to be in Richardson. Fossil has brought national/international renown to Richardson, creating more than 1,500 jobs and making major capital investments by owning their previous buildings and current headquarters at 901 S. Central Expressway. The extensive renovations and finish out in their new location has taken the building from a taxable value of $13.7 million (2010) to $29 million (2014) and has improved the appearance of the gateway to Richardson on US 75 significantly.

NEW in 2014! Richardson Entrepreneurship Award: DFW Excellerator DFW Excellerator was launched in 2014 through the efforts of Richardson entrepreneur Charlie Chen, founder of DFW Technology, and Jason Liu. This international business incubator and accelerator has facilities for growing technology-based start-up ventures in both Richardson and San Jose, California.  DFW Excellerator offers more than 8,000 square feet of co-working and office spaces for entrepreneurs, start-ups and freelancers with an additional 6,000 slated for phase II. Members of the Excellerator will be part of a collaborative environment, with access to a network of partners to accelerate their business. Their areas of technology focus include: The Internet of Things, hardware/sensors/software technology, international business, TMT, mobile, healthcare and financial industry. Thank you to all those who attended and congratulations to a very worth group of recipients.

Joe Costantino

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About Joe Costantino

In 1999, Joe founded Einstein’s Eyes, providing internet marketing solutions for small to medium sized businesses throughout Dallas/Fort Worth. The company’s services include website development, e-commerce, online marketing, and content development.

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