Accepting the J. Alton Wingate Economic Partnership Award is (center) Glenn Weiss, Atlanta president of Northern Trust, which was proudly presented by Grace Fricks, president and CEO of ACE, and Matthew Bozzelli of Southern Company and ACE’s Governing Board Chair.


ACE held its annual awards celebration on Oct. 16 to celebrate small-business owners who have excelled in entrepreneurial leadership as well as its exemplary supporters.

“During this year, we have witnessed the highest demand for ACE’s critical services of loan capital, coaching and connections,” said Matthew Bozzelli, ACE’s Governing Board Chair. “Our mission is to provide opportunity for people and businesses who may be underserved by traditional financial institutions in their efforts to start-up or expand.  We believe that everyone who has the determination to develop their dreams of business ownership should have equitable opportunity to do so.”

“These awards reflect a strong commitment to entrepreneurship, community and service by our clients and business associates, and we are delighted to celebrate their many successes from this past year,” said Grace Fricks, president and CEO of ACE.

The luncheon was made possible through the generous support of ACE’s sponsors: Atlantic Capital Bank, Capital Partners, Invest Atlanta, Northern Trust, PNC, Renasant Bank, South State Bank, Southern Company, and SunTrust. ACE makes its impact because of key partnerships like these.

The awards and award winners announced and honored at the luncheon event included:

Alton Wingate Economic Partnership Award (aka the “Wingate Workhorse Award”) to Northern Trust. Glenn Weiss, Atlanta president, accepted (pictured above). This award honors an organization that has furthered ACE’s mission in a substantial way through contributions or investments.

It’s fitting that this year’s awardee is Northern Trust, who has made the largest investment in ACE totaling $4M enabling us to help many entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses.  In addition to the incredible investment with excellent terms, Northern Trust provides outstanding human capital – Suzette Eliacin, second vice president, private and commercial banking, serves on our Board Loan Committee which authorizes any loan ACE makes over $200,000.

Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Derrick & Dion Mosley, RBG Electrical LLC

(L-R) Bonita Doster, small business loan officer, ACE; Derrick & Dion Mosley, owners of RBG Electrical; Matthew Bozzelli of Southern Company and ACE’s Governing Board Chair.

RBG Electrical was founded by Derrick Mosley in 2003. RBG provides electrical contracting services throughout the southeast and has transitioned from working in the residential industry to the commercial industry over the past few years. They found the keys to success by understanding the importance of building relationships and loyalty. RBG has seen substantial growth due to the experience, passion and determination of both Derrick and Dion.

Commercial Entrepreneur of the Year Award to John & Juanisa Kimbrough, Ms. Niecy’s Home Away from Home Learning Center Inc.

Georgia Representative Kim Schofield (center) stopped by the luncheon to congratulate John and Juanisa Kimbrough, owners of Ms. Niecy’s Home Away from Home Learning Center

Ms. Niecy’s is more than a daycare center, they are a student-focused affordable preschool and learning center that accepts infants, toddlers, preschool and after-school children. John and Juanisa Kimbrough create strong educational foundations for their students, as well as making a difference in their community by creating jobs.  A recent expansion in their AfterCare division has allowed them to have a staff of almost 30 employees, which is making a tremendous economic impact on their southwest Atlanta community.

Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur Award to Deb Rowe, Shenanigans and Bourbon Street Grille

(L-R) Sandy Headley, vice president, ACE; Deb Rowe, owner of Shenanigans and co-owner of Bourbon Street Grille; Matthew Bozzelli of Southern Company and ACE’s Governing Board Chair.

Deb Rowe began her entrepreneurial journey as a dishwasher at Shenanigans Irish Pub in Dahlonega, Georgia and now owns the restaurant.  It has since become the true embodiment of a public house – a gathering place for the local community. From her experience with Shenanigans, she was also able to later partner with another local entrepreneur to launch a second successful restaurant called Bourbon Street Grille. Deb prioritizes community involvement, so Shenanigans participates heavily in local events such as the Hemlock Fest, a local event devoted to protecting the native tree species and the local watershed; Bear on the Square, a festival benefitting a local youth music program; and, donating to the local chamber of commerce supporting events like the Old Fashioned Christmas and Fourth of July celebrations. Her success has also allowed her to support other causes important to her such as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Her community appreciates all she does – she was recently the Grand Marshall of the Gold Rush Parade in Dahlonega and the Mayor has proclaimed July 18th as Shenanigans Irish Pub Deb Rowe Day in honor of the countless hours that she volunteers, her support for great causes, and her contributions to her community, its visitors and guests.

Deb Rowe is the epitome of a completely selfless person. There isn’t enough time to highlight all that she does for others. She runs successful businesses with employees who idolize her, all while giving back every day…..and she is an extremely successful entrepreneur.

Women’s Business Center Client of the Year Award to Rebecca Smith, Salon Honey II

(L-R) Alejandra Diaz, WBC program coordinator, ACE; Rebecca Smith, owner of Salon Honey II; Matthew Bozzelli of Southern Company and ACE’s Governing Board Chair.

Rebecca Smith first came to the ACE Women’s Business Center referred by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. She wanted to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship but did not know how to proceed. She took advantage of all the services offered by the center: one-on-one consultations with a business coach, attended workshops and webinars, used our online tools, and followed our recommendations step by step.  In terms of WBC resources, SHE’S DONE IT ALL!  Four months after first coming to us, she opened the doors of Salon Honey II. She also applied for a loan and is taking advantage of ACE’s Business Advisory Services, always listening to the advice that the ACE staff is providing her along the journey. Salon Honey II is located in Lithonia and currently employs 8 stylists.

Women’s Business Center Partner of the Year Award to The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center – Gwinnett, accepted by Benny StaRomana

Benny StaRomana accepts the Women’s Business Center Partner of the Year Award on behalf of the UGA – SBDC, Gwinnett office.

Sandra Font, director of the Women’s Business Center, presented this year’s Partner of the Year Award to The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center – Gwinnett because they demonstrated dedication to the  needs of minority entrepreneurs, locating sources of capital, and supporting outreach efforts of minority business people around the state.  They are resource partners, along with ACE, to the U.S. Small Business Administration and have collaborated with us throughout the year at expos, panels and other outreach events. We know we can always count on the consultants of this office for referrals, connections to other organizations or just to answer questions that come up.


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