The Annual Vermont Small Business Association Awards Ceremony was held June 14th at Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. Chach Curtis, CEO of Draker Energy, was honored as Vermont’s 2012 Small Business Person of the Year. Govermor Peter Shumlin and Representative Peter Welch were both in attendance to praise the hard work that entrepreneurs are doing across the state to build the economy back up, while also praising Draker as one of the innovative, clean-energy economy based companies that we should be fostering in the Green Mountains.
Cairn Cross, Managing Director of FreshTracks Capital, and 2011 SBA National Financial Services Champion Award Winner, was offered the opportunity to introduce Chach before he accepted the award. Cairn noted the hard work and consistent effort from Chach to deliver 250% revenue growth in 2011, while the company grew at a torrid rate to 50 employees.
During his acceptance speech, Chach noted that it truly was a “full circle moment” for him, having stood on that same podium 10 years ago when as an employee of Northern Power Systems, he introduced Jito Coleman founder of the company, who won the VT Small Business Person of the Year Award in 2002. Chach went on to thank the Draker team who he said “carry me on their shoulders every single day” as well as company founder AJ Rossman who built the foundation of Draker, while Chach is merely the “caretaker of AJ’s vision” as current CEO. Mr. Curtis also went on to thank FreshTracks Capital and the other Draker investors who funded the Series A Round and “took a huge leap of faith in 2008 to invest their equity capital” in a young but promising opportunity. He also noted that there have been many other local capital and resource providers throughout the state that Draker has tapped into over the years, including but not limited to VEDA, VCLF, Clean Energy Development Fund and VCET.
Chach’s speech was at times touching, first thanking his parents for teaching him that one doesn’t always have to be the smartest person in the room, but if they are hardworking, honest and humble they can go a long way. He also shared a touching moment when he noted that his daughter had stared cancer in the face and has been cancer free for close to a year now, an experience which taught Chach to keep priorities in perspective and that family always comes first.
Offering a look into the crystal ball, Chach suggested that with new business developing in Canada, Japan, China and India, this might not be the last time that the crowd sees Draker up on the Awards podium, positing that the company might be in the running for the “Exporter of the Year Award” at some point in the future. Congratulations to Chach and Draker on a job well done and to the prospects of more great things to come!