GFW Inc. honors local leaders with annual awards

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. Thursday presented its annual awards to leaders from across Allen County. The awards, presented as part of GFW Inc.’s Annual Meeting event, honored six community leaders and an up-and-coming small business.

The winners are:

  • GFW Inc. Women’s Network Champions of Change Awards – Leslee Hill and Rachel Tobin-Smith: Established in 2019, these awards recognize leaders who go the extra mile to mentor and empower women in Allen County.
  • GFW Inc. Chairperson’s Award – Barb Smith: Established in 2015, this award honors GFW Inc. board members for outstanding accomplishments and performance to help promote the organization’s mission and vision.
  • GFW Inc. Service Award – Patrick Dooley: This award honors exemplary service to GFW Inc. and dedication to Allen County’s economic growth.
  • Elected Official of the Year – Indiana Rep. Matt Lehman: This award honors exceptional efforts by elected officials to build a stronger community—and grow jobs and wages—by creating the best environment to attract and retain talent and business.
  • Maclyn Parker Swagger Award for Community Vision and Leadership – Tom Kelley: This award is given to an individual who exemplifies the persistence and will to make Fort Wayne-Allen County a thriving community by being a strong advocate for economic development.
  • Small Business of the Year Award – Three Rivers Distilling Co.: This award celebrates the success of small businesses and honors their contributions to Allen County’s economic growth. To win, the business must be a Greater Fort Wayne Inc. investor in good standing, located in Allen County, have been in business for more than 5 years, have 50 or fewer full-time employees, have revenue between $500,000 and $5 million in 2020, and be an independently owned and operated, for-profit entity.

“We’ve seen so many people—and so many companies—rise to the occasion in the past year to continue building our community’s momentum. These award winners went above and beyond,” GFW Inc. president and CEO John Urbahns said. “We’re proud to serve a community that’s full of people who are committed to making a positive impact.”

The award presentations were part of GFW Inc.’s Annual Meeting event, which celebrated the community’s resilience and accomplishments from 2020 and shared plans for a bright future in Allen County. About 400 people gathered for the event Thursday evening at the Grand Wayne Convention Center.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement.