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Entrepreneurs

2010 CEA Winners: Where Are They Now?

By Staff Reports, posted May 4, 2018
Coastal Entrepreneur winners from 2010 (File photos)

CMS TOOL & DIE INC.
COMPANY: CMS Tool & Die Inc. is a full-service precision CNC machine shop with a wide variety of manufacturing capabilities.
YEAR FOUNDED: 1986
EMPLOYEES: 10
UPDATE: “After 19 years in business in Durham, the decision to move the business to New Hanover County in 2005 seemed questionable, as the move was from an industrial area to a tourist location. It has proved to be an excellent move and the business has thrived. We have continued to make parts for our old customers, such as Duke Medical Center, and have acquired new global customers, such as Honeywell.”
A CHALLENGE: To compete with larger employers, “we do our best to make our employees feel like they are part of the business – part of a family. We are lenient on time off and offer a comfortable, pleasant work environment with an open door policy to management.”
PHOTO: Nick Chambliss, president

CORTECH SOLUTIONS INC.
COMPANY:
Cortech Solutions Inc. sells equipment and software for neuroscience research.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2000
EMPLOYEES: 8
UPDATE: “In 2015, we were fortunate to be able to acquire the assets of Source Signal Imaging, a software company in San Diego that had been our supplier for several years. We have invested in redesigning and reestablishing the presence of their flagship product, EMSE Suite (ElectroMagnetic Source Estimation). . . . We have also used this opportunity to establish a West Coast presence.”
A TOP TIP: “Realize that you do not have to win every deal. Let your competitors have the impossible customers who ask for the world and are never satisfied."
PHOTO: Lloyd Smith, president and CEO

CUCALORUS
ORGANIZATION:
Cucalorus is a foundation that runs the annual Cucalorus Festival, including the film festival and connect conference.
YEAR FOUNDED: 1994
EMPLOYEES: 5
UPDATE: “The emergence of the foundation’s multi-disciplinary and multi-industry focus has led to a sweeping transformation - both internal and external - that signals a new era for Cucalorus. The external transformation could be seen at last year’s festival with a new logo and a new way of understanding the festival’s innovative events. In 2017, the Cucalorus Film Festival became the Cucalorus Festival with three main components: Film, Stage and Connect. This public-facing rebrand introduced a new way of understanding the festival’s evolution from a showcase of film into a multidisciplinary exploration of innovation and creativity spanning nearly every industry.”
PHOTO: Dan Brawley, chief instigating officer

DIGIEFFECTS LLC
COMPANY:
Digieffects LLC develops visual effects software for video editors and filmmakers.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2007
EMPLOYEES: 1
UPDATE: “Digieffects has not been able to grow to the level originally envisioned. However, it’s not dead yet either! At the moment it is functioning as a lifestyle business providing passive income to the owner.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Digieffects suffered from a lack of capital to properly grow the business.”
PHOTO: Robert Sharp, owner

HOLT OIL CO.
COMPANY: Holt Oil Co.
YEAR FOUNDED: Founded as Crystal Oil Co. in 1930
UPDATE: According to the company’s website, Holt “currently operates 11 retail convenience stores, seven Subway franchises, and leases out 11 retail convenience stores. The company has a distributorship of three brands: Exxon, BP, and Liberty.” The website says Hannah Holt is the current owner.
PHOTO: Hannah Holt and Bill Holt

KIDS MAKING IT
ORGANIZATION:
Kids Making It Inc. is a nonprofit that serves at-risk youth by teaching them woodworking and other skills.
YEAR FOUNDED: 1995
EMPLOYEES: 10
UPDATE: “In the years since our CEA award, we have continued to receive national and regional awards and recognition.”
GROWTH AND INNOVATIONS: In 2011, “we had a number of young graduates who kept coming to the shop every day, as they could not get a job and weren’t going to college. They needed a job, and a pathway into the workforce – so we started the Apprenticeship Program to fill this need.” Other programs include introductory woodworking classes, summer jobs and skilled trades. The organization will soon be breaking ground on a 4,300-square-foot addition to its shop to implement the skilled trades program full-time.
PHOTO: Jimmy Pierce (left), founder

LOADMATCH LOGISTICS, NOW A.R.C. TRANSIT INC.
COMPANY:
LoadMatch Logistics, now called A.R.C. Transit Inc. (ARC), is a third-party logistics firm specializing in over-land movement of international ocean shipments from ports and rail terminals throughout the U.S.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2006
EMPLOYEES: 49
UPDATE: ARC successfully completed a name change and re-branding in 2016 from LoadMatch Logistics and has been named to the INC 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies several times.
A CHALLENGE: “One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was capital. We were growing so fast, we were burning through money faster than we could collect. Thankfully, we found a lender that was willing to listen to our story, assess our needs and develop a product that allowed us to take advantage of future growth opportunities.”
PHOTO: Gary Winstead, CEO
 

N2 PUBLISHING
COMPANY:
N2 Publishing produces neighborhood publications.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2004
EMPLOYEES: 230
UPDATE: “N2 was honored with the CEA award in 2010 – the year we accomplished producing 100 magazines in a single month and reached $1.5 million in sales… Flash forward eight years and N2 now produces 950 monthly neighborhood publications and has reached annual revenue of $137 million. Our quick growth has landed us on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America every year since winning the CEA award…[Another award] we’re particularly proud of is being named the fifth-ranked company for Top Culture by Entrepreneur last year. That’s No. 5 in the nation.”
PHOTO: Duane Hixon, CEO
 

PROFICIENT LEARNING
COMPANY:
Proficient Learning provides learning and performance solutions to pharmaceutical and life sciences clients.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2005
EMPLOYEES: 35
UPDATE: “Our revenue doubled from 2010 to 2017, and we project a significant increase in 2018. Along with our revenue increase, we doubled the size of our team, from just 15 employees in 2010 to 35 employees today. . . . In 2015, we kicked off an incubator launch of the mCoach SaaS platform, which is an app we designed for field sales managers. . . We are now working with more than 30 of the top 50 life sciences companies, have worked on more than 90 projects, and we have an abundance of ongoing mCoach sales cycles and client prospects.”
PHOTO: Pam Marinko, CEO 
 

ROGO
COMPANY:
Rogo provided low-cost video surveillance software using common web cameras connected to a personal computer.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2008
UPDATE: David Shucavage, who was CEO of Rogo, said the company “did not succeed in raising the capital we needed and ceased to exist.” Founder Cyrus Chipman, the products inventor, has moved on to create a digital patient engagement startup called Pep Talk Health, Shucavage said. Meanwhile, Shucavage returned full time to his retirement planning business Carolina Retirement Planners in Wilmington.
PHOTO: David Shucavage and Cyrus Chipman

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