Steve Kendrick was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon Thursday.
Kendrick is co-owner of Kendrick Paint and Body, an Augusta business that was founded by his grandfather in 1952.
Building and expanding a small business is impossible without the help of dedicated staff, Kendrick said, and that is who he first mentioned after receiving his award.
“It’s really hard to stand up here and accept this award without all of our technicians, all our employees and all our customers,” he said. “That’s who really makes it happen.”
Kendrick was announced as the winner after a short video with clips of community leaders, peers and customers lauding him for his devotion to customer service, innovation and giving back to his community.
“Steve embodies the characteristics of an innovative and driven entrepreneur who is determined to take his business to remarkable levels,” said Terry Elam, the chairman of the chamber board. “The growth performance and organizational excellence of his company speaks for itself and we are very proud to honor him with this award.”
The award is given to local entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least 12 months, show creativity in the innovation of products or services, have a positive response to adversity, contribute to the community and are a member in good standing of the chamber.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was the keynote speaker, and he said the local, state and national economies are built by people like Steve Kendrick.
“Things are a lot different when you’re in business for yourself, and Steve Kendrick knows what that’s like,” Reed said. “We’re grateful for people like him.”
The Atlanta and Augusta economies affect each other, he said, and it is vital that leaders from all over the state work together to improve the state as a whole.
“What happens in your capital city matter because we’re all partners,” he said. “You have to be a friend to have friends, and Augusta has a friend in Atlanta.”