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Businesses think small, win big at resort fete

Citizen Staff

12 modestly sized firms and one exec are honored as Tucson’s backbone.





Twelve of Tucson’s small businesses and one business leader stepped into the spotlight last night to accept awards for their efforts in the past year at the fifth annual Wells Fargo Copper Cactus Awards.

The event, at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, put the spotlight on Tucson businesses with 250 or fewer employees. The winners were selected from 33 finalists.

“They represent the best of small business in our area. And that is saying something, because small business is big business here in Tucson, throughout Arizona and to all of us at Wells Fargo,” Patrick Yalung, regional manager for Wells Fargo of Greater Arizona, said, adding that the Arizona Department of Commerce defines 98 percent of all the companies in the state as small.

Copper Cactus Awards are given in three categories, with four winners in each, based on their size.

The Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Leader Award, given in conjunction with the event, was given to Howard Stewart of AGM Container Controls.

Stewart, whose company was nominated in each of the three categories, said one of the keys to his success is his love of the business.

“I look forward to coming to work,” said the manufacturer of packaging to control humidity. “On the weekends, when I’m away from work, I’m thinking about the business. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than exactly what I’m doing right now.”

Copper Cactus Awards were given to the following businesses:

• Business Growth

1-19 employees: Dakotacom.net

20-49 employees: Pepper-Viner Cos.

50-99 employees: Beyond Bread

100-250 employees: Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital

• Community service

1-19 employees: Funtasticks Family Fun Park

20-49 employees: Chestnut Construction

50-99 employees: Joe Cristiani’s Mobile Communications

100-250 employees: Bookman’s

• Best place to work

1-19 employees: Sterling Capital Mortgage

20-49 employees: Hammel & Co. (CPAs)

50-99 employees: AGM Container Controls

100-250 employees: Buffalo Exchange

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