August 28, 2014

Live Awards Coverage: Meet a Few Rule Breakers

rule breaker awards 2014

Successful entrepreneurs are risk takers and rule breakers.

And the Rule Breaker Awards celebrate the success of business owners who do things “their way.”

This was the first year for the event.  The inaugural Rule Breaker Awards ceremony was held on June 10, 2014 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City.

Some of the honorees revolutionized their industries, while others created brand new ones.  Awards were given to 17 entrepreneurs in five categories:

  • Technology
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Food/restaurant
  • Service

Special “People’s Choice” awards were also handed to winners based on popular vote in each category, including Matthew Perosi of Jeweler Website Advisory Group and Chris Dyer of PeopleG2.

Mike Agugliaro and Rob Zadotti of Gold Medal Service, a plumbing, waterproofing and HVAC business, believe rule-breaking is the wave of the future. Citing their company as an example, they surprise clients with high levels of service not typically seen in their field. Because of this, Gold Medal set new rules in customer care. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in business this year and had $23MM in revenue in 2013.

Shelley Armato, President and CEO of MySmartPlans broke the rules when she introduced revolutionary technology into construction sites to increase accountability and reduce chaos.  Her business was started in a garage with $15,000. Today, MySmartPlans manages $9 billion in project assets in 27 states.

rule breaker awards 2014

Christina Daves, President of CastMedic Designs and author of PR for Anyone, won the award in the retailer category (revenue under $1MM). She is pictured above (right) along with hosts Barry Moltz and Rieva Lesonsky. Her products give medical boots a better appearance, allowing patients with injuries to “look and heal like a celebrity.”

Daves also received the evening’s top honor as “Rule Breaker of the Year.”

rule breaker awards 2014

Event sponsors Skype, Constant Contact and Nextiva were on hand to honor the winners.

Blake Shepard, senior business planner at Skype said, “Entrepreneurs who create lasting impact do break rules. Skype rewrote the rules by removing barriers such as long-distance cost burdens. Today, Skype is used by hundreds of millions of people with an internet connection to easily work and communicate in real-time, regardless of distance.”

About the sponsors: Constant Contact, Inc. is an online marketing company offering email marketing, digital storefronts and other tools to SMBs and other organizations such an nonprofits. Nextiva is a unified communications platform providing businesses with VoIP hardware, virtual fax lines, PBX trunk lines for SIP Trunking, online portals for management reporting and more. Skype allows users to communicate with peers by voice, video or instant messaging using an Internet connection. Skype reached a record 27 million simultaneous online users in 2011, and in the same year was acquired by Microsoft.

Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, was one of the judges in the process, which began this past winter. I attended the Awards Ceremony on her behalf.

(Pictured in top image, left to right are: Barry Moltz, co-founder of the Awards; Blake Shepard, small business advocate of Skype; Rieva Lesonsky, Co-Founder of the Awards; Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva; Christina Daves, Rule Breaker winner; Mike Michalowicz, Judge;  and Chris Litster, Senior Vice President of Constant Contact.)

Image Credit: RuleBreaker Awards

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Alex Yong


Alex Yong Alex Yong is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and a freelance writer from New York. He focuses on event reporting and other special assignments.

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