Most business professionals who were honored during the 2009 Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in November had been informed of their award in advance. The exception was the winner of the final award, the prestigious Davenport-Longenecker Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Advocacy.
Debbe Skutch, director of the Center for Family & Privately Held Business at The University of Toledo College of Business Administration, was quite surprised when she was introduced as the recipient.
Especially since she served on the executive committee for the event.
“With planning for the event with the executive committee and all the activities surrounding the College of Business Administration dedication of the Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement in November, it escaped me to ask who would win, and no one brought it up,” she said.
“I was surprised, honored and very humbled. Throughout the induction ceremony, I had been thinking about the 2009 Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame honorees and how being family and privately held businesses played a vital role in their success. They are people who do a lot for business in the region.”
As does Skutch.
The Davenport-Longenecker Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Advocacy is given annually to an individual selected for a lifetime of positive impact on this region’s business community. The recipients have influenced the success of many others and have established a legacy of making a positive contribution to this region’s vitality. The award is named for Larry Davenport, one of the founders of the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and Dr. Clinton Longenecker, UT professor of management.
“This award is really a validation of the work of the Center for Family & Privately Held Business. It’s the center and its members that are being recognized,” said Skutch, who has been with the program since it was established 18 years ago. The center started with 50 members and now has 128.
“I can’t think of a more deserving individual to receive this award than Debbe Skutch,” said Dr. Thomas Gutteridge, dean of the College of Business Administration. “Debbe has worked tirelessly over the years to enhance the success of family businesses in northwest Ohio. Now she is adding another dimension, privately held businesses, to the portfolio for which she is responsible at UT’s business school, and I know they also will benefit from her talents.”
“I have the best job ever,” Skutch said. “I have the privilege of working with some of the best of UT and the family and privately held business sector. “
She credits having mentors and access to entrepreneurs and family business owners as critical elements of the center’s success.
“We realized early on that the expertise is within our membership, and the center has remained member-driven. We’ve facilitated their sharing and learning from each other at programs, symposiums, affinity groups and more,” Skutch said.
“The center is about relationships,” she added, “and when you get the right people with the right people, that’s when good things happen.”
The Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was presented by Rocket Ventures and Launch, programs of the Regional Growth Partnership, and sponsored by Gorillas & Gazelles LLC in partnership with UT and Bowling Green State University.