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Gwinnett Chamber recognizes small businesses with Pinnacle Awards | PHOTOS

Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year Awards were bestowed Friday on John Lehmberg of Make It Loud, left, with company COO Cliff Tillery, Matt Hyatt of Rocket IT, second from right, and Lyn Wright of Plumbing Distributors Inc., right.

Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year Awards were bestowed Friday on John Lehmberg of Make It Loud, left, with company COO Cliff Tillery, Matt Hyatt of Rocket IT, second from right, and Lyn Wright of Plumbing Distributors Inc., right.

Matt Hyatt got the fancy crystal trophy, but the real winner of the Gwinnett Pinnacle Awards’ top-prize is his staff at Rocket IT.

Hyatt picked up the 2014 overall Gwinnett Small Business Person of the Year Award Friday from the local Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s very exciting, absolutely. I can’t deny that,” Hyatt said of the award going to his growing IT service business. “I get the pleasure of accepting the award on behalf of the efforts of a lot of people. … We have a great team.”

Twenty-five companies were applauded for their efforts at the annual awards, which recognizes small business leaders.

“These risk-takers and innovators are the ones who create jobs and provide much-needed services for our community, creating a better quality of life for everyone,” said Carla Carraway, the Gwinnett Chamber’s board chair, who noted that 90 percent of the Chamber’s members are small businesses. “These are the leaders who are laying the foundation for a bright future of opportunity. For this, these small business owners and non-profits deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

With Hyatt winning the award for mid-size employers, John Lehmberg of Make It Loud was named the Small Business Person of the Year in the 1-9 employee category, and Lyn Wright with Plumbing Distributors Inc. took home the prize in the 100+ employee cateogry.

At Friday’s event, held at Sonesta hotel in Duluth, the Chamber also recognized top local nonprofits. The Overall Nonprofit Pinnacle Award went to Creative Enterprises, while the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center also received recognition. Creative Enterprises received a $1,000 donation from Service First Roofing for its prize.

For the fourth year, the Chamber’s Partnership Gwinnett effort joined with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center and others to name its Amazing Entrepreneur.

The pre-venture award went to 4Luv Beauty, while the winning business plan for an existing business went to Black Mermaids Handrafted Soaps and Products.

“Everyone knows entrepreneur means broke and trying to make it,” said Denise Zannu of Black Mermaids, who received a $5,000 prize. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes we need the support.”

In addition to RocketIT, Make It Loud and Plumbing Distributors Inc., 22 other companies were names to the Chamber’s Pinnacle Top 25. Those companies include: Aaron Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning; Ace Truck Body & Truck Repair; Action Awards; bella fiore salon; Boyce Design and Contracting; Breda Pest Management; CablesAndKits; Cornerstone Financial Partners; Dentistry 4 You; Dexter’s Farm; Duluth Animal Hospital; Fox Building Company; Green Financial Resources; Hire Dynamics; LeCraw Engineering; PartnerTech; Signarama Buford; The Work Spot; Wages & Sons Funeral Homes and Crematories; and Willis Mechanical.