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Chamber honors small businesses with Pinnacle Awards

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Alex Bardi, center, of Bardi Heating & Air, Inc. was named the Small Business of the Year and poses for a photograph with other winners during the Pinnacle Awards at  the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Alex Bardi, center, of Bardi Heating & Air, Inc. was named the Small Business of the Year and poses for a photograph with other winners during the Pinnacle Awards at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Senior Vice President, Membership Services with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Vince DeSilva, left, congratulates Walter Biscardi, Jr. of Biscardi Creative Media, LLC after being named the small business of the year with 1-99 employees during the Pinnacle Awards at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Alex Bardi of Bardi Heating & Air, Inc. reacts after being named the Small Business of the Year as the Gwinnett Chamber honored Gwinnett County's top businesses and non-profits during the Pinnacle Awards at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The Gwinnett Chamber honored Gwinnett County's top businesses and non-profits during the Pinnacle Awards at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.

DULUTH -- What does it take to make a small business prosper?

A packed house of people with proven solutions to the question filled the Georgia Ballroom at the Atlanta Marriott -- Gwinnett Place on Friday during the Pinnacle Awards.

Recognizing those businesses which have been pivotal to economic growth and stability, the event recognized 25 small businesses and three nonprofit organizations which have made a local difference.

Within the group, several winners were selected including awards for small business person of the year, 1 to 9 employees; small business person of the year, 100-plus employees; and overall small business of the year.

Alex Bardi's business, Bardi Mechanical and Bardi Heating & Air, took the top honor. Among its accomplishments: the business doubled its revenues from 2011 and achieved 112-percent growth in 2012.

As Bardi accepted the award, he thanked the Chamber of Commerce, the community "and the most important asset, our employees. It's been a wonderful journey."

Bardi attributed some success to genetics.

"My father gave me the DNA to give me the entrepreneurial mindset, and I thank him for that ... Also, I thank all those aspiring to have persistence and determination. It takes a lot of it," Bardi said.

Others who won included Biscardi Creative Media LLC for small business with 1 to 9 employees and The McCart Group in the 100-plus employee category.

Biscardi, a script-to-screen creation company was recognized for its broadcast programming, commercials, feature films and industrial productions.

The McCart Group is a risk management and insurance agency with more than 40 years in Atlanta and 18 years in Gwinnett County. It's in the top one-percent of independent insurance agents nationwide, according to a news release from the Gwinnett Chamber.

Nonprofits Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett, Operation One Voice and Covenant Counseling & Family Resource Center were each recognized as organizations which contribute to the "vitality of the economy beyond the services they provide the population."

In addition, Palmetto Grant Consulting won $8,000 in the annual Amazing Entrepreneur Contest.

Susan Bacon, founder and president of Palmetto Grant Consulting, said: "Our company seeks to help educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and local governments navigate the grant-writing process, and we hope to use these prizes to continue supporting these entities in and around the Gwinnett community."

The event's master of ceremonies, Johnny Phelps, said all the winners Friday were chosen based on attributes such as "staying power, growth, number of employees and evidence of contributions to the community."

Added Phelps: "Each winner offers a success story, which proves inspirational to all of us."