Meet the nominees for the 2022 People’s Choice Award

It’s that time of year again!

The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship is allowing readers to vote for their favorite entrepreneur for the 2022 People’s Choice Entrepreneur of the Year Award, to be presented at the 7th Annual Entrepreneur Awards. The winner will be recognized, along with other award categories, on Feb. 25 at 11 a.m.

The awards honor the skill, courage, and determination it takes for entrepreneurs to create a business out of an idea.

Scroll through the nominees below to meet all the candidates. You can vote for them in a poll here. The voting will close on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 11:59 p.m.

Janna Peterson

Janna Peterson

57 North Hampton

6 years in business

“I’ve always believed that the best way to tackle a problem is by getting to the source. Everything that I do, from 57 North Hampton to my volunteer work, stems from that belief, that I can empower others to empower themselves and together, we can be the solution.”

Dave Bristol

Dave Bristol

Dave Bristol

Acquisition Integration, LLC

7 years in business

“As an entrepreneur, I have chosen to commit my resources to continue serving the great men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and to invest in their mission. I enjoy the challenge and success of solving problems in business that benefit those in the defense of freedom.”

Kirsten Clark

Kirsten Clark

Kirsten Clark

Alabama Cohosh Collaborative

2 years in business

“My work has been driven by a passion for supporting pregnant people in Alabama, regardless of their pregnancy outcome. I want to see pregnant folks surrounded by all the love and support that they need on their journeys and will keep putting in the work to make that vision happen.”

Alex Brazelton Boyd

Alex Brazelton Boyd

Alex Brazelton Boyd

Alex and Company LLC

10 years in business

“Alex Brazelton-Boyd is on a mission to educate and empower her clients to build generational wealth with real estate. Based on her passion and excellence, Alex was one of three Realtors nationwide chosen by NAR for an exclusive documentary entitled ‘The Way Home.’ She is nationally ranked in the top 50 on social media. Alex is ‘The Way Home.’”

Erica DeSpain

Erica DeSpain

Erica DeSpain

All Things Madison

2 years in business

“I am equally passionate about both connecting businesses with customers within close proximity as well as connecting residents with the resources that are hard to find and/or right in their backyard. I am motivated by the opportunity to show that Madison is one of the most desirable places in the country to live and help others discover why.”

Michael Portera

Michael Portera

Michael Portera

Amarok, Inc.

2 years in business

“One of the best feelings in the world is to be able to give someone a job. What is even more rewarding is to watch them thrive in it. I hope to be able to continue doing this for many more people in the future.”

Tiffany Crenshaw

Tiffany Crenshaw

Tiffany Crenshaw

Animal House Photography (AHP)

3 years in business

“My desire when I pick up my camera goes far beyond taking a ‘nice picture.’ I aim to flood your senses with real, raw, emotive images that leave you breathless. To blanket North Alabama homes with photographs documenting beautiful and vulnerable moments that will be treasured for years to come.”

Buddy Lockwood

Buddy Lockwood

Buddy Lockwood

Artemis Shielding

5 years in business

“Once my service to the Nation was complete I wanted to continue to make the world a safer and better place. Now that I have families that work for me it motivates me more than anything to see them happy and grow. I’m proud to be their boss and friend and I do not take it for granted I have a great team. Without them we would not be us!”

Alka Bhargav/AUM Foundation

Alka Bhargav/AUM Foundation

Alka Bhargav

AUM Foundation

6 years in business

“I have been that single parent who lived below the poverty line. I don’t want to see another woman go through what I went through. AUM Foundation’s pathway 2 Success program is designed to help each girl who goes through it, reach economic independence and be empowered.”

Michele Kochoff Platt

AVNIK Defense Solutions, Inc.

16 years in business

“Why I do what I do is to help people. My motivation that powers my entrepreneurship journey is the ability and freedom to have an impact on others.”

Sonya Bailor

Sonya Bailor

Sonya Bailor

Bailor Group LLC

3 years in business

“In corporate and as a fractional executive I learned I could make historical growth on small and large brands. I launched this consultancy to make greater impact, helping more companies at a time. Growth Strategy is how we think, it’s what we do. And it’s what we do very well.”

Juneil Bettis

Juneil Bettis

Juneil Bettis

Bettis Financial

5 years in business

“The reason I serve people and companies in the finance industry is not just because I have a passion for it but because it is my God given purpose. It’s not an easy task but it’s always worth it. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I wake up wanting to help transform money mindsets, build financial confidence, and help people create a financial strategy that works for them. My vision that motivates me on my journey as an entrepreneur is seeing the lives of the people we serve transform right before our eyes. And that is what makes me want to continue to help people live better financially.”

Lauren Gowins

Lauren Gowins

Lauren Gowins

Bold Agency

3 years in business

“Entrepreneurship takes bravery, something that would be impossible for me to maintain without the clients and team I get the privilege of working with. My creative fire is fueled by a passion to grow a company built on transparency, creativity, and commitment to serve them.”

Brailynn Camille Granville

Brailynn Camille Granville

Brailynn Camille Granville

The Ausome Kid

2 years in business

“I want to show special kids like me that they can do anything they want to do and be anything they want to be. Some days I want to be a superhero, other days I want to be a ballerina. Today, I am a warrior. Tomorrow, I can be something else if I want to.”

Dr. Cynthia Videau

Dr. Cynthia Videau

Dr. Cynthia Videau

C.Beyond Marketing Resource Center, LLC

7 years in business

“Honestly, I’m truly believing I’m living out my God given purpose. Every time a client is shocked by how beautiful their site and brand it, it truly blesses my heart. When I see the growth of my clients and their success following their launches, it makes what I do completely worth it.”

Liliya

Liliya

Liliya

Lilly Eurasian American Cuisine

9 years in business

“Proven method is not following other people or business models. The true proven method is one you prove.”

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Canadian Bakin

2 years in business

“The love we’ve received from the community is what keeps us pushing forward through the challenges. Two years into operating Canadian Bakin, we are still awed by the people gathering in our shop, exclaiming over a sandwich or coffee they love, and striking up friendships with us and our team.”

Maike DeMaria

Maike DeMaria

Maike DeMaria

Capabilitix

2 years in business

“Making a difference for the organizations I worked with and support them in their achievement.”

Sandra Cepeda

Sandra Cepeda

Sandra Cepeda

Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, Inc.

20 years in business

“As a Christian, I am compelled to consider an employee’s purpose and ponder how CSSA can help them live God’s plan. I provide opportunities to employees to leverage the gifts/talents God has given them to make a difference for our customer and ultimately, for God’s glory.”

Jocelyn R. Frazier

Jocelyn R. Frazier

Jocelyn R. Frazier

Chef Jocelyn’s Kitchen, LLC

3 years in business

“As a mother of 3 sons ages 5, 19, and 20 are my all…my reason I keep on pushing, no matter what, they power me to never stop. My success is no fluke. Rather, it is the end result of taking some very intentional steps. The most important of which was making the decision to focus on unlocking my own dreams and aspirations instead of continuing to help others unleash theirs. My goal is to inspire others to know they can achieve anything they want to do, even if it seems impossible; it just takes prioritizing the steps you need to take and getting vulnerable with yourself and your dreams.”

Steve Trash

Steve Trash

Steve Trash

Concrete Dream Inc – Steve Trash

39 years in business

“The most beautiful sound in the world is laughter, but the most beautiful sound in the universe is… the laughter of a child.”

Clark Crosson

Clark Crosson

Clark Crosson

CrossTek Construction

7 years in business

“At CrossTek Construction we work with clients to turn their remodeling dream or idea into a reality, and also work closely with homeowners to keep projects on or under budget.”

Carla Stiles

Carla Stiles

Carla Stiles

Designedbycarla

20 years in business

“Our passion has always been to build business-to-business relationships with small to medium-sized businesses. The evolution of marketing has been an incredible journey from when I started until today. Value is our personal approach, hospitality, relatability, with decades of expertise and knowledge as a full-service marketing team.”

Essence Nesbit

Essence Nesbit

Essence Nesbit

Designs by Essence

4 years in business

“My entrepreneurship journey started as a way to make ends meet for my family and has blossomed into the excitement of seeing others happy. Our mission is to lighten the load for our clients and give them an event that will last a lifetime. Yes, your event may only last a few hours, but the memories and feelings, they stick forever!”

Christy S. Brown

Christy S. Brown

Christy S. Brown

Dipped Sweets Boutique

7 years in business

“We live in a world where life can be challenging so we desire to bring our light to our beloved community through Art, Food, and Memorable Experiences that bring that bring family and friends together.”

Bhrea D. Jefferson

Bhrea D. Jefferson

Bhrea D. Jefferson

Effect Essentials & Co.

1 year in business

“I do what I do because I want people to have a quality of life, peace. Covid has taken a toll on a lot of people’s mentality and if my products help you sleep better, think better, relax or look better my journey was all worth it.”

Michael Whitley

Michael Whitley

Michael Whitley

EngeniusMicro

15 years in business

“I want EngeniusMicro to be the leader in taking advanced technologies from idea to product. We are focused on 3D printing of electronics, sensors and nanotechnology and have built a company with the laboratories and people necessary to accomplish these goals.”

Karen Mockensturm

Karen Mockensturm

Karen Mockensturm

Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater & Academy

61 years in business

“My job at Fantasy Playhouse is to create a space where kids can dream about their future, where they learn to tell their personal stories, and master the self-confidence to step into the centerstage of their lives. Watching them shine is the best part of my job.”

Andy Whitehead

Andy Whitehead

Andy Whitehead

FigBrew LLC

1 year in business

“My vision is to make FigBrew a household name, when you think of a coffee alternative I want you to think FigBrew. I want FigBrew to stand for great customer service, amazing product, quality and socially responsible.”

Lisa Y. Grice

Lisa Y. Grice

Lisa Y. Grice

Forever Grateful, LLC

2 years in business

“Our mission and motivation to keep going is to serve food and Lagniappe (little something extra) that will excite the palate and soothe the souls of our community. I’m empowered and commissioned to genuinely love and serve people. My heart’s desire is to be the hands and feet of JESUS!”

Phillip Wendling

Phillip Wendling

Phillip Wendling

GES Inc.

11 years in business

“I want to ensure that I have impacted all the people in my life positively – whether it is with just a smile or something life changing. The foundation of who I am is that I am taking care of other people and that is true success to me.”

Alissa Maasen

Alissa Maasen

Alissa Maasen

HARD KNOCKS RESCUE AND TRAINING

4 years in business

“The motivation that powers HKRT is the ability to heal even after the most intense trauma endured. Healing with decompression, trust, and consistency while giving a routine for the humans and the dogs. We don’t heal just dogs’ trauma. People are able to heal right along with the dog. The connection made on such a deep level between human and dog during this whole process makes it all worth it.”

Holli K. Sealey

Holli K. Sealey

Holli K. Sealey

Holli Kai Image Consulting, LLC.

8 years in business

“This is my calling, I was created to impact the world through helping others achieve the truest level of greatness! Your image, which reaches far beyond clothing starts within.”

Christina Tabereaux

Christina Tabereaux

Christina Tabereaux

Huntsville-Madison County Library Foundation

36 years in business

“I believe in our Library as a great equalizer in the community; one of the last great democratic institutions that levels the playing field by offering free access to endless resources and information for lifelong learning. It is my great pleasure to be a part of making these opportunities available to all of Madison County!”

Claudelle White

Claudelle White

Claudelle White

Impulse Performing Arts Studio

6 years in business

“As a leader in the performing arts world my mission is inspire people in the performing arts in a safe and creative environment where they are able to use their skills to inevitably change and impact the world. Impulse Performing Arts Studio fosters a strong environment for students to develop their skills in the arts while developing leadership, character, integrity, and teamwork skills while in our program. I believe that every interaction we have with those we come in contact with in our performing arts space is an opportunity to inspire and encourage to use their gifts to be world changers.”

Veronica A. Cram

Veronica A. Cram

Veronica A. Cram

InSight Strategic Solutions

2 years in business

“I began my entrepreneurial journey, starting my business Insight Strategic Solutions, to show my daughter that women can be mothers while also achieving success in the business world. I work with small business owners to help bring their company’s financial picture into focus. I use financial data to help owners set and achieve goals, make sure cash flow is healthy, and make educated decisions on company growth. I am honored to be able to assist this community’s business leaders as they work to grow and sustain Huntsville’s vibrant small business community.”

Jason Swafford

Jason Swafford

Jason Swafford

JS Solutions

3 years in business

“Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have any limits or boundaries and allows you to shape your journey the way you want. If you want to be a disrupter in a specific market space and introduce your new ideas then you have that ability. As an entrepreneur I would like to continue building a destination company within Huntsville and are proud to be associated with and hopefully have some fun along the way.”

Junior League of Huntsville

Junior League of Huntsville

Kristina Hendrix

Junior League of Huntsville

73 years in business

“The Junior League of Huntsville is a leading organization of diverse volunteers who want to improve the quality of life throughout our community by training our volunteers to be successful in all that we do.”

Karen Ruffin

Karen Ruffin

Karen Ruffin

Karen Ruffin & Company, LLC

15 years in business

“My mission is to provide realty clientele a smooth and successful home buying or selling experience. With 15 years of expertise and numerous certifications in Real Estate, I am fond of educating consumers on the many facets that these processes entail. Highlights of my services always include: 100% Transparency. Educating on protecting and maintaining investments. Attention to detail and thorough facilitating with every aspect of your buying or selling journey. The business of real estate requires teamwork. I am a leader but very much a team player which includes being a part of other distinguished networks in my licensed areas. This networking allows me to have privileged insight on various local matters that may affect where you plan to move.”

Lee Marshall

Lee Marshall

Lee Marshall

Kids to Love Foundation

18 years in business

“Everyone has a story. Mine begins with being born into foster care. Everyone has a choice how to write the rest of their story. I chose to use mine to transform the foster care system. Every child deserves a loving home. My vision is to work myself out of a job.”

Dr. Brandon Hart

Dr. Brandon Hart

Dr. Brandon Hart

Legacy Health Chiropractic

2 years in business

“My vision is to help others create a relationship with God and to guide them in making healthy choices for themselves and their families.”

Curtis Taylor

Curtis Taylor

Curtis Taylor

Linc Research, Inc.

9 years in business

“I wanted to start a company that would allow us to serve our customer’s needs while also allowing us to serve (and be present) in communities of need. Being a HUBZone company was not my first thought; this was my first thought.”

Destiny Payton

Destiny Payton

Destiny Payton

MaDonni Beauty

2 years in business

“My vision is to help others to go after their dreams and goals with a ferocious tenacity. My motivation comes form being able to lead the way with the being first black owned beauty supply and salon suites in Huntsville and to inspire the masses to join me in the industry.”

Tim Thornton

Tim Thornton

Tim Thornton

nLogic

12 years in business

“As nLogic’s CEO/President, honored to lead 100% ESOP-owned company solving nation’s most technologically-challenging problems. My entrepreneurship model is based on hands-on leadership, calculated risks, and hard work. My passion is to continue earning our reputation for excellence and taking care of our employees, while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to integrity.”

Cori J. Pitts

Cori J. Pitts

Cori J. Pitts

Notshyyy Maid’s LLC

3 years in business

“I chose to be a entrepreneur to provide financial freedom and stability to my family, to be a member in my community directly touching our down and out counterparts. I intend to provide the best hospitality talent in Alabama.”

Turkesa Lanier

Turkesa Lanier

Turkesa Lanier

Party Life, LLC

7 years in business

“The motivation that powers my entrepreneurship journey is being able to sit at tables that I normally wouldn’t have been able to and experience doors continuing to open for me in this position. My vision is to empower other young women entrepreneurs that look like me to be encouraged by my journey and fueled to take the leap themselves into entrepreneurship.”

Patricia Haley

Patricia Haley

Patricia Haley

Patricia Haley Charity INC

8 years in business

“My dad was a cancer patient. When he was diagnosed we went from living in a home to living in low income home. My mom lived all of my life in a mental institution. She could not take care of me, sent me to my aunt. Growing up we did not have much. Now as an adult I want to help others who may have experienced the thing I encountered. For me, it’s about my purpose.”

Iesha Watts

Iesha Watts

Iesha Watts

Quality Care Cleaning Services, LLC; Queendom Care Holistic Day Spa

7 years in business

“The reason for what I do is to build an Empire for my family. I want to leave a legacy for my children and my family. I want my business to outlive me. My reason for this business is to help other families and businesses by giving my time, my talents and services. The reason I do what I do is to empower a blood uplift and celebrate other women.”

Kriss Brown

Kriss Brown

Krisshonna Brown

Queens Prowl LLC

1 year in business

“I do what I do as an entrepreneur because it is my passion. It is my why and because you should never let anyone tell you that you are a statistic and what you will become because of your circumstances at the moment.”

Jordan #ChillCity Moore

Jordan #ChillCity Moore

Jordan #ChillCity Moore

Red Cardinal Effect LLC

5 years in business

“I do what I do simply to show individuals that “It’s Possible”, because it truly is. The #ChillCity motto is, ‘It’s not the belief that everything is going to happen exactly the way you want it to. It’s the belief that everything is happening in your favor.’”

Brett Jones

Brett Jones

Brett Jones

Riley Security, Echo911, Only Easy Day LLC

11 years in business

“The biggest motivation now, is trying my hardest to do what’s right for the people who have entrusted me in this role.”

Nick Lasater

Nick Lasater

Nick Lasater

Rocket City Digital

4 years in business

“The sole purpose of an entrepreneur is the guarantee the future of your employees and collectively guarantee the future of your clients. This is motivation beyond words can describe. We are Creatives for Capitalism and seeing our team thrive and are clients win big; there is no better feeling.”

Crystal Brewer

Crystal Brewer

Crystal Brewer

Rocket City Sewcial

5 years in business

“There are few opportunities in Huntsville for people who want to learn the art of sewing, especially for kids. I enjoy working with kids and seeing their excitement as they create something with their hands and knowing that I am helping to bring sewing to a new generation.”

Lindsey I. Odinma

Lindsey I. Odinma

Lindsey I. Odinma

Sincerely Elle Designs

2 years in business

“My passion is what sets me apart from the rest. My work is not a money grab or burden. It’s what I love to do. I’m proud of my brand aesthetics! I love when I hear a Sincerely Elle bride say, “‘Your designs are clean and elegant,’ or my colleagues stating they know a Sincerely Elle Design when they see it. These are powerful comments that empower me to be even more creative with my next design. Sincerely Elle Designs offers a luxury experience from start to finish.”

Paulette Risher

Paulette Risher

Paulette Risher, Major General, U.S. Army Reserve (retired)

Still Serving Veterans

16 years in business

“For 30+ years my mission was to defend the nation and take care of the troops. While defending the nation is now others’ responsibility, I can still ‘take care of the troops’ specifically those needing help with employment, benefits, and critical life services. It is my calling and my blessing!”

Tiffany Draper

Tiffany Draper

Tiffany Draper

Studio 53

2 years in business

“I love to see people Happy! My hope is that everyone gets to celebrate the special moments in life. My goal in life is to be able to create a special place for you to do that. Let us help you plan your special day.”

Tiara Trudeau-Gullotta

Tiara Trudeau-Gullotta

Tiara Trudeau-Gullotta

Sultry Company

5 years in business

“Everything we do at Sultry Company is for the betterment of our clients, team, and community. Our team takes every opportunity to enrich our clients’ lives through tailored education of sexual wellness and selfcare best practices in a safe, judgement free, and discreet environment. Sultry – A higher level of satisfaction.”

Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

TekFive

15 years in business

“I wish to help provide a long term means of employment, career stability, and career growth to our TekFive team.”

Sarah P. Willis

Sarah P. Willis

Sarah P. Willis

Tennessee Valley Lactation Support

2 years in business

“I have always felt driven to provide what I would anticipate needing myself. For instance, I saw a need for one-on-one lactation support when I had my children. Paying out of pocket for that provision was not foreseen and really wasn’t feasible either. Because I recognized that North Alabama was lacking in this, I decided to create it myself.”

Pauline McFarlin

Pauline McFarlin

Pauline McFarlin

The Dessert Fork

7 years in business

“Being an entrepreneur means envisioning who I want to be every day and showing up as her. It means using my God given talents to make the world a little sweeter for someone each day. Whether it’s someone buying a treat, creating a specially designed cake, or a random act of kindness. it means sharing my best with the world.”

Ted Gulas

Ted Gulas

Ted Gulas

The Gulas Group

32 years in business

“The reason I move talent to the edge of their comfort zone to reveal, release and realize their potential is because the distractions that move individuals, teams, and organizations away from goals and thus I provide a better way to work and play.”

Chef Adyre Mason

Chef Adyre Mason

Chef Adyre Mason

The Veggie

4 years in business

“It pained me to know that a change in diet was a small thing that could’ve kept my mom here just a little longer. I hope that by providing healthier food that’s relatable and removes the stigma of plant-based eating that I can help keep someone else’s mom or loved ones here with them a bit longer.”

Therisa Means

Therisa Means

Therisa Means

TMeans Consulting LLC

10 years in business

“There are two things that truly power my entrepreneurship journey. The first is leaving a financial and moral legacy for my family that lasts for generations. The second is helping people experience the joys of a relationship with Christ both personally and in their businesses. That’s what I’m here for!”

Trevor Grimes

Trevor Grimes

Trevor Grimes

Trevor Grimes Marketing

2 years in business

Y”our Brand Deserves to be Seen & Heard. Your desire to start, build, and grow the businesses of your dreams should not have to feel like you are rolling the dice. I will educate you on how to effectively promote your business so that you not only survive, but thrive.”

Beth Barnby

Beth Barnby

Beth Barnby

Tyrosinemia Society, Inc.

3 years in business

“I walk a journey alone with my children, now I can walk with other families experiencing the same challenging journey and help them. This is a privilege. Without many friends, family, and colleagues in Huntsville, Alabama, this would not be possible, I am very blessed.”

Brienna Hamlet

Brienna Hamlet

Brienna Hamlet

Virtually at Best

1 year in business

“My vision and motivation that powers my entrepreneurship journey is one, my son but two, knowing that people could fail if I don’t live out my life’s purpose.”

Bailey Erickson

Bailey Erickson

Bailey Erickson

Wafel-Bitte, LLC

1 year in business

“Teaching the next generation how to start a business is extremely rewarding!”

Angela Hawke

Angela Hawke

Angela Hawke

WIN (Women Who Inspire & Network)

3 years in business

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of Huntsville and make it the great city that it is. Take that a little further and dig deep into the rich culture and diversity of amazing women who live here, work, here, and who are making a difference by linking arms, supporting each other and engaging in a way where everyone wins. That is the reason WIN (women who inspire & network) was founded and why it still exists today. We are better together.”

Maria Troupe

Maria Troupe

Maria Troupe

Wine & Design

1 year in business

“It was important to offer a creative outlet to the community. We find our events to be therapeutic and calming for some (a way to relax and just lose yourself for a few hours), a good time for others (meet up with friends or coworkers for a girl’s night out) and a night away from care giving duties for others (date night).”

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