Tulsey goes to pizzeria owner
11-20-2009, Tulsa World - Laurie Winslow
http://www.tulsaworld.com/busi . . . 20_46_E1_Inacer73052

Blake Ewing of Joe Momma's Pizza wins the popular online vote for top entrepreneur.
In a ceremony that mimicked the Oscars and MTV Music Awards, 11 category winners of the second annual Tulsey Awards received a golden bronze Driller statuette Thursday evening in recognition of their entrepreneurial spirit.

Nearly 500 people attended the awards ceremony at the historic Cain's Ballroom downtown.

Blake Ewing, the owner of Joe Momma's Pizza, received the most votes, 1,200, and was named the 2009 Tulsey Entrepreneur of the Year as a result. He also won in the category for Restaurateur.

The Tulseys are an outgrowth of the Mayor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, a business-model competition that attracted more than 85 contestants.

That contest, which kicked off in April and lasted about nine months, included a rigorous process in which some entries received coaching to hone their business models. Spirit Award winners were announced Tuesday.

The Tulseys, by contrast, is a publicly driven contest in which nominations are submitted online in several different categories. Voting, which was open to everyone, began in mid-October and ended at midnight Nov. 4.

More than 90 nominations were made for the Tulseys, and more than 14,000 votes were cast. That represented an increase from last year, which had about 64 nominations and more than 8,500 votes.

Libby Auld of Elote Café and Catering was a dual winner this week.

She won a Tulsey in the "green category," recognizing her for simultaneously targeting and creating relationships between economic development and environmental sustainability in her business.

Auld also received the Spirit Award's "Skunk Whisperer" honor, which will provide her with six months of service from an advisory board made up of Spirit Award judges and coaches.

The sponsors of the 2009 Tulseys were Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Community College, the University of Tulsa, the Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Lobeck-Taylor Foundation.


Entrepreneur of the Year — Blake Ewing, Joe Momma’s Pizza

Civic — George Kaiser, George Kaiser Family Foundation

Emerging — Melanie Menry, 918moms.com

Entertainment — Ben Sumner, “Up Late With Ben Sumner”

Franchise — Chester Cadieux, QuikTrip Corp.

Green — Libby Auld, Elote Café and Catering

Interactive — Natasha Ball, TashaDoesTulsa. com

Legend — Charles Kingsley, Pediatric Dental Group

Restaurateur — Blake Ewing, Joe Momma’s Pizza

Serial — Gavin Manes, Avansic

Young — Jonathan Conneely, Bootcamp Tulsa