The Columbia Chamber of Commerce announced the five finalists for the 2007 Small Business of the Year, and the Columbia Women’s Network announced the winner of the ATHENA Award in conjunction with the Business Conference & Showcase on Tuesday.

The winner of the business award will be announced in May during the Small Business Week luncheon.

The finalists and principal owners are:

• Athena R. Anthony Development Corporation, 6150 S. Sinclair Road, Rob and Christi Wolverton

• Image Technologies of Missouri, 20 Business Loop 70 E., Lynda and Steve Baumgartner

• Les Bourgeois Vineyards, Rocheport, Curtis Bourgeois

• Paternity Testing Corporation, 300 Portland St., Kim Gorman

• Sydenstricker Implement Corp., Mexico, Mo., Eddie Sydenstricker

The winner of the ATHENA Award is Stephens College President Wendy Libby, who was nominated by past winners Vicki Dunscombe of Boone County National Bank and Susan Stalcup-Gray of Isabel’s Country Mustard.

The Athena Award recognizes individuals who excel in their field, participate in the community and inspire and lead women to achieve to their full potential.

Libby, who was credited with Stephen’s dramatic turnaround, said all she really wanted to do when coming to Columbia in 2003 was “to inspire women.”
Pat Hostetler of MBS Textbook Exchange and the Athena Award winner in 2005, announced the award and said afterward that Libby “has made Stephens become much more of a part of the community. As soon as she arrived she became involved. The former president didn’t really connect with Columbia.”

Libby is a board member in the Chamber of Commerce, Regional Development Inc., or REDI, and United Way of Central Missouri. Boone County National Bank Chairman Steve Erdel said in a video testimonial broadcast during the award ceremony that when Libby arrived, Stephens had a $3.5 million annual deficit, declining enrollment and a deteriorating campus. Now, enrollment is up 46 percent and campus buildings are being renovated.

“She has enriched our community with her leadership,” Erdel said.

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