Macon Businesses Presented Prestigious Awards at Annual “Salute to Business” Awards Luncheon

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

At the annual Business and Industry Awards Luncheon, A Salute to Business, hosted by the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the Macon Economic Development Commission, awards were presented to the Startup of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Business of the Year and Outstanding Young Business Leader of the Year. More than 200 people attended the event.

The Startup of the Year Award was presented to Dani-Rae & Company. Working together at a local real estate office in 2014 Brittany Smith and Jordan Steinberg would shop online, during their lunch break of course, for jewelry and clothing. Taken aback by the high prices on some items they started to make their own jewelry and sell them online. They soon turned their hobby into a business. They moved out of the basement and now have a store on Ingleside Ave. They did all this while going to college and working two jobs. Owner, Jordan Steinberg accepted the award.

The Small Business of the Year Award was presented to M&R Marketing Group. M&R Marketing began in 2008 from an idea two friends developed at an Arby’s. Through various conversations and opportunities, they sensed a need in the Middle Georgia area for a full-service marketing agency that would create strong relationships with businesses and offer more consistency in their marketing efforts. Most of all, the idea was to do what they love with the people they enjoy doing it with. Two employees grew to 14. M&R works with clients across the country in a wide variety of industries. Owners, Matthew Michael and Nick Rios accepted the award.

The Business of the Year Award was presented to Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (GEC). Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. is an engineering consulting firm with offices in Macon, Columbus, and LaGrange, Georgia. GEC provides consulting in three key areas including: Geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and construction quality control testing. The firm began in 1991 as Geosciences, Inc. In 1999, a corporate restructuring occurred which resulted in the current name and creation of the Macon corporate and Columbus branch offices. Tom Driver, President and Senior Engineer of GEC accepted the award.

The Outstanding Young Business Leader was presented to Shane Gottwals. Shane Gottwals is the co-Founder and CEO of Gottwals Books. Shane Gottwals was born and raised in Macon, attending church at Central Fellowship Baptist Church and school at Central Fellowship Christian Academy. He has a B.A. in English from Mercer University, while spending a portion of his college years at Oxford University in England. Shane has extensive retail experience which has helped Gottwals Books/Walls of Books become one of the largest used bookstore chains in the United States. He is frequently asked to speak at book industry conferences, and he is a notable go-to for bookstore consulting. Shane has been recognized in Georgia Trend magazine as an Outstanding Georgian under the age of 40 and by the Georgia Economic Developers Association as a Rock Star. He is working with United Way to give out tens of thousands of books to kids each and every year. In 2017 and 2018 Gottwals Books gave out 5,000 books to all 1st graders in Bibb, Houston and Peach counties.

All nominees submitted information that was evaluated by a panel of judges. The nominees were ranked on criteria that included their economic impact in the community, the overall workplace environment and proven corporate citizenship, which includes charitable giving and employee volunteers working with charitable organizations.