Lehigh Valley Business, which hosted the event, announced the Hall of Fame honorees and the Business of the Year finalists in each category during a program offered by presenting sponsor Highmark Inc.
Monogram Custom Homes of Coopersburg earned the Business of the Year award for companies with one to 25 employees, followed by EcoTech Marine of Hanover Township, which took the Business of the Year award for the 26-100 employees category.
Brown Daub Kia of Easton pulled in with the Business of the Year award for 101-plus employees and Heintzelman Funeral Home Inc. of Hellertown and Schnecksville won the Corporate Citizen of the Year award.
The Emerging Business of the Year award went to XiGo Nanotools of Bethlehem, a firm that creates new tools for the nanomaterials industry. Finally, Thomas E. Young, M.D., owner and medical director of Young Medical Spa of Center Valley and Lansdale, earned the Executive of the Year award.
The companies were recognized for their “outstanding business leadership,” said David A. Schankweiler, CEO of Journal Multimedia, which publishes Lehigh Valley Business.
During his opening remarks, Schankweiler said the Hall of Fame concept was designed to celebrate the achievements of these leaders.
“Each has been an agent of change and source of inspiration,” said Schankweiler.
The Hall of Fame honorees included: Albert Boscov, chairman/CEO of Boscov's Department Stores; Lee Butz, chairman of the board for Alvin H. Butz Inc., and Elmer Gates, co-founder and lead director of Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley.
Before presenting the first Hall of Fame honoree, Schankweiler said Boscov raised the bar for community development, spearheaded the redevelopment of Reading and turned Boscov's into the largest privately-held store in the nation.
“Boscov's is back,” said Alfred Boscov, age 83. “We're bigger and we're better, and I'm alive, which is good. We've had four of the best years of our history.”
Butz spoke about how Gates and Boscov both played major roles in developing communities and talked about how the construction management firm will revitalize Downtown Allentown with the rise of the hockey arena.
“In five years, you won't recognize Downtown Allentown and that's going to be a huge benefit to everyone in the Lehigh Valley,” said Butz.
Gates said his award was a tribute to the greatness and goodness of America, where anyone can start anywhere and go anywhere in business. He also spoke about the importance of making good on commitments.
“Without integrity, you have nothing,” said Gates.
Judges included Kutztown University President Dr. F. Javier Cevallos; Laura Eppler, director of marketing for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Buddy M. Lesavoy, partner of Lesavoy Butz & Seitz; and Lou Pektor, regional executive director of Ashley Development Corp.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as a major sponsor of the event, while supporting sponsors included Lehigh Valley Carpenters Union Local #600 and Concannon Miller & Co.