The stars were definitely out on November 10, as nearly 740 business and community leaders from across the Inland Empire descended on the Riverside Convention Center.  And none shone brighter than SolarMax – whose co-founders emerged as winners of a prestigious 2015 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Award!

Organized by the California State University San Bernardino Center for Entrepreneurship, this annual business competition brings together leadership from the highest performing companies across the Inland Empire, all of whom undergo a rigorous judging process from a panel of accomplished business leaders, including prior winners.  Nominees are evaluated on criteria that includes growth metrics, ability to overcome key challenges, and community involvement.  In other words, you better bring your A-game.

This year some 130 companies were nominated, from which 28 made it to the Finalist round.   Survivors were then showcased at a black-tie gala, with attendees getting a glimpse of each contender through a series of videos showing company employees engaged in work-related activities.

When it was all said and done, leaders from different 10 companies took to the stage to accept their hard-earned hardware at the event many characterize as “the Oscars of Local Business” – and SolarMax CEO David Hsu was one of them.   Although Executive Vice President Ching Liu couldn’t attend due to travel commitments, she shared her enthusiasm and appreciation for the honor.

“We are so proud – and, when I use the term ‘we,’ I’m not just referring to David and me,” said Ching. “I’m talking about our entire company, because you can’t achieve the kind of success SolarMax has experienced without amazing people.  Their insight, work ethic – and perhaps most importantly – their resilience when faced with the challenges every growth company encounters, continues to inspire me.”

All of us at SolarMax shares Ching’s “spirited” thoughts.   Trophies are nice, but it’s what behind those glittering symbols of success that makes them special.   Here’s to building on those accomplishments.

Check out Mr. Hsu's acceptance speech below: