Originally Posted Online: May 15, 2013, 3:48 pm
Last Updated: May 15, 2013, 4:31 pm

Chamber honors Small Business Excellence Award winners

Comment on this story

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce CEO Tara Barney, center, stands with the Small Business Excellence Award winners at St. Ambrose University in Davenport on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. HAVlife's Mike Vondran and Brenda Burns-Vondran accepted the non-profit SBEA award, Sandstrom Coating Technologies employees Rick Wahlig, Mark Lousberg, Nichole May, Heather White, Jed Redell, Tony Wirth and Russ Burt accepted the award for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and Genesis Systems Group employees Chuck Keibler, LeAnn Cary, Teri Behrends and Andrea Petersen accepted the SBEA award for local businesses that employ between 51 and 250 employees. Wednesday's award ceremony marked the second year that the Quad Cities Chamber has given the Small Business Excellence Awards.

The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce named winners of this year's Small Business Excellence Awards Wednesday at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

HAVlife accepted the nonprofit SBEA award; Sandstrom Coating Technologies won the award for businesses with fewer than 50 employees; and Genesis Systems Group accepted the SBEA award for businesses that employ between 51 and 250 employees.

Wednesday's awards ceremony marked the second year that the Quad Cities Chamber has given the Small Business Excellence Awards.

VIDEO: Meet the honorees

Following are profiles of the 15 nominees.


dphilms imaging services

Dphilms imaging services is a creative boutique in The District of Rock Island. For more than 20 years in the business, this production studio has a diverse clientele including the History Channel's American Pickers.

With a staff of five people and a pool of talented freelancers, dphilms opted to open as a boutique structure to reduce excess overhead and equipment, but most importantly to differentiate itself as a fun and creative studio. Its mission is to be consistent and creative and "make the client's jaw drop" in ways never imagined. The studio has done work for health-care providers, small businesses and nonprofits.

Owned by Phil and Shelly Dingeldein, they define their success as retaining customers and attracting new ones because of hard work and a creative drive. When the economy dropped in 2009, many businesses suspended marketing initiatives. Dphilms moved forward despite the downturn and new clients were acquired because they were prepared to plow a new path into an unknown future.

Today, dphilms is up against the ever-changing technological advances available to consumers. Tools that were once available only to professionals are now available to everybody. Social media also has impacted the industry, but the key to surviving is developing and delivering products that are polished, focused and that stay within a budget.

Innovation and creativity are the foundation of this small business. From scriptwriting, video shooting, editing and effects, dphilms tailors every project with the client's needs in mind while motivating, educating and captivating the intended audience. Unlike companies who produce a true tangible product, dphilms does not have the luxury of "design once and produce many." The company is constantly looking for ways to stay on top of the game with new techniques and creative advancements.

Over the years, dphilms has worked directly with Quad-Cities-based nonprofits and for-profit organizations. These include The Quad Cities Chamber, The Network, The District of Rock Island, the Student Hunger Drive, Tudi's Tribe, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, MidCoast Fine Arts, and Friends of Off-Road Cycling (FORC).

Dphilms is not your traditional corporate organization. With its diverse working conditions, project challenges and size of the business, the creative boutique has a flat structure where there are no titles and accountability is the heart of the organization. Success is constantly revolving for this small business.

Address: 2227 3rd Ave., Rock Island. Phone: 309-788-3456. Web: dphilms.com. Employees: 5.

Redstone Content Solutions

Redstone Content Solutions is a gold level value-added reseller and systems integrator for Oracle Corporation. Specializing in enterprise-class software consulting, development and support, its areas of expertise are WebCenter content, web experience management, and customized training.

Located in Davenport, Redstone's clients are among Fortune's top 2,000 organizations. The company continually strives to achieve its goals of stream-lined business processes, reduced risk and cost, revenue optimization, and knowledge retention.

Redstone began as an idea that became a vision by John Klein and Jason Stortz. They opened their doors in 2009 and since then the company has rapidly grown, providing organizations with the tools necessary to secure, accumulate and disseminate knowledge. Today, with 16 employees, Redstone continues to empower customers by providing technology solutions.

Known in the industry for its unparalleled technical competence, Redstone's stature is demonstrated in case studies, annual training survey data, online webinars and invitations to speak at industry conferences. It has a solid reputation with clients, Oracle and partners.

As the first North American pillar partner for WebCenter Content, a technology suite that allows customers to consolidate unstructured information on a low-cost content management system while "content-enabling" business processes, Redstone recently acquired Application Development Framework specialization. These designations have provided the company with exclusive access to Oracle's executive, product development, management and marketing personnel. Specialized partners often are recommended by Oracle and preferred by customers. Redstone is a member of the Oracle's Early Adopter program, which gives it exclusive access to pre-releases of WebCenter software.

Redstone's goal is to earn three additional specializations during the next two years. Each specialization mandates a number of company employees to prove their competency through rigorous testing in disciplines, sales, implementation and support. The company's plan also includes having two offices with 40 employees, establishing five strategic university relationships and creating multiple customer references across WebCenter Content, Portal and Sites.

Success at Redstone is measured by the success of its clients. Its employees and management believe that full collaboration increases the value of the organization. Great emphasis is placed on making substantial investments in employee development by providing advanced training. The philosophy is that free-thinking fulfills expectations of quality of work.

Redstone takes ownership of the community it lives in by being involved. Employees and management contribute talents and money to nonprofits and dedicate a minimum of four hours of company time per community outing, such as its recent involvement with Cafe on Vine. The company also assists area schools and organizations and provides leadership for updating and upgrading information-technology curriculum.

Address: 2323 W. 63rd St., Davenport. Phone: 563-355-1558. Web: redstonecontentsolutions.com. Employees: 16.

Sandstrom Coating Technologies

Sandstrom Coating Technologies is a privately-owned industrial coatings manufacturer that produces a variety of coatings, adhesives and solid-film lubricants. Among industries served by this Port Byron company are aerospace, automotive, military, agriculture, weaponry, medical, railroads, cosmetic, flooring, electric, signs and scoreboards.

Established in 1946 as a paint manufacturer, marketing its own brand of interior and exterior paints, pool paints, and specialized plaster-repair compounds, Sandstrom later began the private-label manufacturing of paints for major retail chain stores such as Sears, True Value and Ace Hardware.

Over time, Sandstrom shifted its focus to industrial coatings and specialized dry-solid-film lubricants. In 1960, the company developed the first military-specified dry-film lubricant called 9A, a market segment where it still is an industry leader today.

One of Sandstrom's biggest honors was having every NASA Apollo mission use its products. The products have been used on space shuttles, the International Space Station and SpaceX. Its latest generation of the solid-film lubricant, which was developed by Sandstrom 50 years ago, is used on U.S. military rifles, weapon systems and nearly every car and truck made in America.

The development of the Sandstrom Accredited Application Network (SAAS) has been an innovative move on behalf of the company. The use of strengths in conjunction with network members has allowed the company to recognize customer concerns on current products and provided a way to recognize current market needs. This network allows Sandstrom to focus on volume markets within their core competencies; identify emerging market opportunities; increase visibility to current and potential customers; and increased sales.

Sandstorm's strategic plan uses their vast experience with solid-film lubricants and military specifications and applies that technology to commercial aviation and weapons industries. It has long-standing relationships with aerospace companies and defense contractors and continuously develops new products to meet their needs.

The management at Sandstrom credits its success to its talented staff made up of 20 employees. From collaborating with them, to encouraging the idea of taking ownership of their areas of responsibilities, the company fosters an environment that promotes and rewards initiative.

Community involvement is a top priority for Sandstrom. The management and employees serve on various boards and volunteer in many organizations. Those include Make-A-Wish Foundation, Living Lands & Waters, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Bettendorf Rotary.

Address: 224 Main St., Port Byron. Phone: 309-523-2121. Web: sandstromproducts.com. Employees: 20.


Terrostar is a web design and Internet marketing agency in Bettendorf that was established by entrepreneur Tom Terronez. At the age of 19, he opened up his business in 1999 with one employee and one customer. His plan was to help companies grow their online presence by building functional and visually appealing websites.

Since then, his company has grown to nine employees, recently adding an Internet strategist and front-end developer to help address an increased workload and to add Internet marketing. Terrostar continues to help companies grow their business through custom website design, search-engine optimization and functional applications. The goal is to help companies bridge the gaps in their strategic growth plans through online marketing.

Terrostar's challenge today not only is competing with similar companies, but with those who have a do-it-yourself mindset. The company works to educate businesses on the differences and has implemented a plan for social-media marketing. To stay ahead of the market and to look for opportunities, the Terrostar team brainstorms ideas while keeping tabs on industry news and events.

Solely owned by Mr. Terronez, Terrostar attracts and retains quality employees. The company hires based on word of mouth using friends, family and the Quad Cities Chamber as resources. Management philosophy is to have employee morale be in the forefront, making it the key to longevity and excellence. Almost described like a small version of Google, Terrostar provides a friendly and fun work environment.

Terrostar plays an active role in the community. Employees volunteer at organizations that include Junior Achievement, Family Resources, Bettendorf Rotary, Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber, Family Museum and WQPT. The company also donates a minimum of one website to a nonprofit organization every year.

With the changing times, Terrostar plans to expand into services it currently does not offer. Its growth strategy involves doubling in size in the next 12 months. Its company success is based on teamwork, and it most recently was recognized as the "Best Place to Work in the Quad-Cities" by the 2011 Young Professional's Network.

Address: 3565 Utica Ridge Road, Bettendorf. Phone: 563-355-7174. Web: terrostar.com. Employees: 9.

Werner Restoration Services Inc.

Werner Restoration Services Inc. provides emergency cleanup in the event of fire, sewage backup, water, flood, storm, and mold damage. Locally owned since 1988, this company offers exclusive ultrasonic and electronics cleaning, which allows for more damaged contents to be salvaged.

Werner believes in differentiating itself from the competition through creativity and innovation. It added two new services, reorganized its continuing-education program and introduced guerrilla marketing tactics to build brand awareness. Continuing education has helped Werner grow. Employees can earn credits and learn in areas of interest. They attend classes three to four times a year. The company also trains its employees in the latest trends of cleaning services to better the staff at every level.

Dry-ice blasting and soda blasting were two major investments made by the company. Dry-ice blasting allows for quick and efficient cleaning during mold remediation while soda blasting allows for efficient cleaning and deodorizing following a fire.

In the past year, Werner has exceeded projected sales, completed the largest project in the history of the company and expanded its service radius. The company credits its management style of valuing each employee and continually improving company culture. A recognition program and employee events help with that culture.

Werner Restoration plans to expand its line of services in the coming years. Plans to add a wash system that can restore soft contents will make the company a full-service restoration company. To open up new opportunities, Werner has also put a loss and catastrophe response action plan in place. Specific positions, step-by-step guides, documentation and equipment have been included in the plan. In addition, a semi-trailer can serve as a rolling warehouse that would take a crew of 50 to 75 technicians where needed. This opens up opportunities to respond at a national level.

Social responsibility is valued by Werner. The company participates in several community programs. President Ken Werner and the staff have been a house captain for Rebuilding Together in Geneseo where they assist a family with a needed house improvement. The company also adopts a family in Geneseo and raises money to donate gifts for families in need. Other volunteer programs include Junior Achievement, Kings Harvest Soup Kitchen and Run With Carl.

Address: 102 Innovation Way, Colona. Phone: 309-792-0912. Web: wernerrestorationinc.com. Employees: 40.


Elliott Aviation

Elliott Aviation began as a small grass airstrip in DeWitt, Iowa. Today, the company is a full-service center with products and services that include aircraft sales, avionics installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair and overhaul, paint and interior, and aircraft management.

Elliott Aviation serves the business aviation industry nationally and internationally with facilities in Moline, Des Moines and Minneapolis.

Founded in 1936 by Herb Elliott, a flight instructor, the small business serviced and sold aircrafts. Elliott Aviation then moved to the Davenport Municipal Airport and in 1961 moved to Moline. It built its headquarters in 1982. The company expanded to custom interior-design services, woodworking and cabinetry, avionics installation and modifications in 2003. By 2007, it expanded with a new paint and interior design center for aircrafts.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation family-owned business that sells Beechcraft and services a full line of 10 new aircraft models. In addition, its growing business continues in the sales of preowned planes. Its expansion of refurbishing and reselling those aircrafts has proven to be a growing segment of its business. Elliott is an authorized service center for Hawker, Beechcraft and Embraer. The one-stop shop completes nose-to-tail repairs, upgrades aircrafts, and leads the industry in Garmin G1000 retrofit installations.

Teamwork and innovation has helped position Elliott Aviation for long-term growth. The company plans to expand in the coming years and hire 50 new positions at the facility to help meet an increase in demand for serviced aircraft. A strategic recruiting plan has been developed along with a retention program to focus on hiring local employees and veterans. The expansion will allow the company to position itself in the industry with the King Air platforms and grow into more aircraft configurations.

Elliott Aviation believes in community service. A proud supporter of United Way, employees also participate in Casual for a Cause which involves quarterly donations to local charities like the River Bend Food Bank, Kennedi's Kisses, Marine Moms of the Quad-Cities, Toys for Tots, HAVlife Foundation, and Ride with Kelly Foundation. The company also participates in Junior Achievement and supports the American Red Cross, Newspapers in Education, Iowa College Foundation and local police benevolent associations. In addition, it sponsors the Quad City Air Show.

Address: 6421 74th Ave., Milan. Phone: 309-799-3183. Web: elliottaviation.com. Employees: 240.

Estes Construction

Estes Construction began as a small company in 1970, designing and constructing commercial buildings and high-end homes in the Quad-Cities. Today, headquartered in downtown Davenport, it builds industrial, health care, commercial and educational facilities.

The growth and success is credited to the company's vision to be recognized by clients, the community and employees for its advocacy, leadership value and responsiveness.

The Estes mission is to be the preferred builder and employer of choice. The company works closely to integrate and collaborate with owners and architects during the design phases and to provide quality work with savings and value to the customer.

Based on its high standards, satisfied clients and continuous improvement, Estes credits its success to its highly engaged employees. Each employee undergoes a five-year training program. Working closely with St. Ambrose University, the company trains its employees on ethical business practices.

Because of a highly competitive construction market, Estes differentiates itself through innovation, both internally and externally. Collaboration, creativity and the ability to embrace new trends has allowed the company to grow despite a decline in construction volume. Estes believes in the "collective IQ," which is the ability of groups to be more innovative than individuals.

The management philosophy of Estes is to focus on dynamic people and inspire culture by providing a great client experience. The result produces successful outcomes. The company developed and trademarked an integrated project delivery system called Client Centered Collaboration, which focuses on creating a collaborative team on projects with owners, architects and subcontractors. Employees learn to be creative, seize opportunities and collaborate to solve problems. The construction company just received a "best in class" ranking according to the recent Construction Financial Manager Association Survey, placing it in the top quarter nationally of companies its size.

Estes Construction has a corporate commitment for community involvement. Each year, Estes donates more than $100,000 to local organizations. Additionally, employees are often found volunteering in the community. The company has been involved with Family Resources, Scott County Family Y, Quad City Arts, Skip-a-Long Child Development Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Illowa Council and Boy Scouts of America, Hand-in-Hand, and Niabi Zoo.

Address: 131 W. 2nd St., Suite 400, Davenport. Phone: 563-322-7301. Web: estesconstruction.com. Employees: Approximately 100.

Genesis Systems Group LLC

Genesis Systems Group is a recognized leader in robotic systems integration. The Davenport-based company specializes in robotic factory automation for welding, cutting, adhesive application, assembly, machine tending, nondestructive inspection and water-jet cutting.

The 160-employee company has installed more than 4,300 robotic systems and has its products in 40 states and 14 countries.

Its engineered systems are used in manufacturing a diverse range of products that include automobiles, construction and agricultural equipment, office furniture, trucks and trailers, lawn and garden equipment, recreational vehicles and aerospace components. The company's 106,000-square-foot facility in the Quad-Cities has three bays for manufacturing and staging of automated systems, a robotic and system training area and general office space for engineering and administrative service. Genesis also has a service support center in Rochester Hills, Mich. The company formed a joint venture called Genesis ICESA Systems to serve Mexico and Central America. Genesis ICESA System is located in San Juan del Río, Mexico, and in 2012 expanded to form Genesis System Group in Nagoya, Japan.

Genesis' technical leadership is demonstrated by 27 patents that have been published. The company led the industry in developing pre-engineered system platforms. It has an international reputation for solving difficult robotic-automation challenges worldwide. In 2012, Genesis developed a spot-welding line to weld Metra railcars for the city of Chicago, and broke into the aerospace market doing nondestructive robotic inspection of composite parts for SpaceX.

As Genesis Systems Group expands into a global market, its focus continues to be on customer service. Plans for the future include continued development with carbon fiber components in nondestructive robotic inspection. Abrasive robotic water-jet markets also are a major focus. A team was established to work on vertically integrating the company with special and proprietary manufacturing processes. It hopes to triple profits in the next five years.

The robotics company strives to be the employer of choice and is dedicated to its employees and their professional growth. It offers a mentoring program that pairs a strongly respected employee to help a new hire, allowing both to grow. The on-the-job training facilitates getting employees up to speed and helps with employee retention. Genesis also supports continuing education, and tuition reimbursement is available for its employees. Both programs improve morale and create a positive work culture.

Genesis Systems Group has a commitment to citizenship and volunteerism. To date, the company has helped 838 families in the Quad-Cities with food and clothing. It is a proud supporter of United Way and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In addition, employees participate in Junior Achievement.

Address: 8900 Harrison St., Davenport. Phone: 563-445-5600. Web: genesis-systems.com. Employees: 159.

Republic Companies

Republic Companies is a third-generation family-owned business that offers services in the fields of energy management; electrical, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration distribution; and sign support products. With facilities in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and a sales office in Rock Island, the company has grown to become one of the largest independent distributors in the upper Midwest.

In the early 1950s, Republic was one of the first Midwestern distributors of window air conditioners and whole-house forced-air furnaces. Later, the company was at the forefront of residential whole-house air conditioners. By the 1990s, the growing company introduced the DuPont "SUVA" line of refrigerants and was one of the first distributors in the nation to establish a regional refrigerant-recovery center.

In addition to introducing new energy-saving products and solutions like geothermal, evolutionary lighting and energy control solutions, and digital power monitoring, Republic has built an HVAC distributor network for more than 100 York and Luxaire dealers.

To meet the growing needs of its customer base, Republic added an in-house marketing department to offer services to contractors and to develop technical training programs that cover topics such as product application, financial planning, sales expertise and social-media opportunities.

The company continues to focus on new innovations and products while maintaining excellent customer service. For those whose success is highly dependent on getting the right parts, products and knowledgeable technical support in a timely manner, Republic strives to deliver on time. It is crucial the company stays on top of new trends and cutting-edge technology to provide the best products and stay competitive. The management and staff are continually trained to keep on top of the latest advancements in the industry.

Republic believes in retaining quality employees. Development and training are key to the company's success, but providing a supportive family environment is also important. Republic continually challenges the team to raise the bar and aspire to be "best in class."

Republic stands behind its community by encouraging employees to get involved. Organizations that are supported by the company include the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Red Cross, Junior Achievement, Kiwanis, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Good Samaritan, and the Give Warmth campaign.

Address: 737 Charlotte St., Davenport. Phone: 563-322-6204. Web: republicco.com.

Valley Construction

Valley Construction has been owned and operated since 1925 by the Hass Family. One of the largest and most diversified contractors in the Quad-Cities, this family-owned operation offers asphalt and concrete paving, underground utilities, site development, grading, and commercial and industrial buildings.

Headquartered in Rock Island, the construction business serves the bistate area in the private and public sector. The company's Power Division performs and pursues work nationwide in the nuclear-power industry.

With a commitment to its clients to deliver the highest levels of integrity and accountability for all its work, Valley Construction strives to put quality and safety in the forefront of every project. At the same time, this company is dedicated to providing its employees a safe environment with fair compensation, equipment and training, and opportunities to advance. Its safety record is among the best in the industry. From a client's perspective, a safe project gets done on or ahead of schedule and budget.

A commitment to safety allows Valley to attract and keep a quality workforce.

In a business where contractors come and go, Valley Construction has a long history of honesty and integrity. The Hass family believes in supporting the community that it lives in. Its leadership stems from high-profile board commitments to institutions like Junior Achievement and volunteer activities at local homeless shelters, churches and schools. Both owners and employees volunteer at organizations such as Bethany for Children and Family, YMCA, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Quad-Cities, and have made a strong commitment to United Way.

Valley Construction's plan is to expand its building division and general-contracting client base. It also continues to expand geographically by seeking out clients nationwide, particularly in the nuclear-power industry.

In addition to expanding its client base, Valley Construction continues to make an investment in equipment and people. Employee retention is important, and an open-door policy is the philosophy that makes this business a success. Talent management efforts include regular review of a compensation program and emphasis on hiring people not for what the company is now, but what it aspires to be.

Address: 3610 78th Ave. W., Rock Island. Phone: 309-787-0292. Web: valleyconstruction.com.


Child Abuse Council

The Child Abuse Council (CAC) has been dedicated to strengthening families and children for 35 years. The nonprofit organization offers programs in prevention, treatment and education in efforts to eliminate child abuse and neglect in the bistate area.

With offices in Rock Island, Muscatine, Maquoketa, Clinton and Dubuque, the CAC is affiliated with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and Prevent Child Abuse in Iowa. The United Way-funded agency focuses on the development of services for first-time parents and interventions for young children who are victims of family violence.

Most recently, the CAC's new-parent services has established a relationship with the Quad City Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees to meet the needs of a growing and diverse community. The expansion of the program into a new demographic area has brought about new challenges, which have been met with specialized training for employees.

With new opportunities for growth, the CAC continues to focus on quality improvement and looks for innovative opportunities to increase community support to lessen reliance on government funds, which have decreased over time. With the leadership from its 10-member board of directors, community-based fundraising has allowed the agency to diversify its revenue. Two new contracts were established with the state of Iowa to increase revenue by $350,000 to allow for additional staff and resources to support the growing needs of the agency.

The CAC has focused on strengthening its technology to track service activities and collect data to reflect program successes with a performance management system. Also, it has expanded its social media and electronic communications to increase its visibility and gain customer relationships.

The employees of the CAC make the agency strong through their unique skills and interests that are matched to their positions to better facilitate programs and assist every customer. The management philosophy is focused on leadership and value-based decision-making. Employee recognition and professional development bring value to every staff member.

The CAC takes pride in its community involvement and being a strong supporter of the United Way campaign. The staff also participates in the United Way Day of Caring and other community organizations such as Kiwanis.

Address: 400 16th St., Rock Island. Phone: 309-786-1466. Web: childabuseqc.org. Employees: 45.


HAVlife was founded in memory of Hunter Aaron Vondran to fund musical, artistic and athletic resources for students who may not have the resources to participate otherwise. The nonprofit organization was named after Hunter, a student who played both football and soccer, in addition to excelling academically and musically. Today in his honor, HAVlife helps those students who may have financial struggles but still want to pursue activities and interests.

For the past seven years, HAVlife has worked with area schools and other nonprofit organizations to provide scholarships to students to cover sports equipment costs, musical instrument rentals, lessons and summer camps. The organization has raised more than $350,000 to allow students to pursue their talents.

Focused on youths between the ages of 10 and 15, HAVlife increases exposure to community influences and enhances the development of a positive and confident approach to citizenship. With its focus on making an impact on youths during a critical time in their lives, the organization faces challenges of getting people to understand that the organization seeks out new opportunities to fund students and prevent lost potential. The organization wants to switch mentalities on its goal of not helping "at-risk youths," but helping "potentials." It will not discriminate in its services to youths.

Funded by donations and fundraising events, the organization is driven by a dedicated board of directors and volunteers who are constantly looking for opportunities to raise money. Each year organizers hold two signature events: Martini Shake Off and a golf outing, which both draw local businesses and the community together to help raise money. HAVlife is financially strong and growing in awareness and support. Revenues have grown in the past five years, and the grant amounts distributed increase yearly.

HAVlife's progress is measured by sharing success stories. For example, the organization's mission is served when a student receives a college scholarship because HAVlife helped with the cost of private music lessons or paid for the fees of attending football camp.

Address: 230 E. 2nd St., Davenport. Phone: 563-355-2200. Web: havlife.org. Employees: 0 (all volunteers).

John Deere Classic

The John Deere Classic brings the world's best golfers to compete in the Quad-Cities, bringing worldwide visibility to our community. It is one of 36 regular-season events on the PGA Tour, and it is estimated that $25 million flows into the local economy during the week of the tournament.

Since 1971, the event has served as a charitable-giving opportunity to numerous organizations, and last year brought in a record $6.79 million (raising the total amount raised to $49.08 million). It also provides John Deere, one of the community's largest employers and leading corporate citizens, with a multitiered marketing program aimed at enhancing its brand identity and sales while supporting local charities.

The John Deere Classic's reach continues to grow every year through creative advertising, corporate hospitality products and events such as alumni day for the universities of Iowa and Illinois. This year, the plan is to include a women's initiative aimed at welcoming more women to the tournament and the game of golf.

In order to continually attract the world's best golfers, the Classic has made it easy for the players to travel to the British Open. The event charters a 767 aircraft that delivers the players to Scotland or England by noon the next day.

With a staff of six full-time employees and summer help, the management philosophy of the John Deere Classic is to establish for its employees and outside associates a strong vision with the expectation that it is to be achieved in a principled, competent, creative, professional and as cheerful a manner as possible. It is a decentralized organization that depends on groups of volunteers to take ownership and professionally present all aspects of the tournament, including transportation, operations, phone, electrical, scoring standard bearers, caddies, player services and finance.

Address: 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline. Phone: 309-762-4653. Web: jdclassic.com. Employees: 6 (plus seasonal).

Quad City Animal Welfare Center

The Quad City Animal Welfare Center (QCAWC), once known as the Humane Society of Rock Island County, first opened its doors in 1977. Dedicated to a no-kill philosophy, the Milan-based facility operates solely on donations. It provides shelter to homeless animals, offers a spay and neuter program, and humane education.

The center accepted and found homes for more than 600 animals last year. Along with the spay and neutering services, the center offers a high-quality pet clinic open to the public. These medical services allow families to give their pet affordable veterinarian care. Last year, 3,000 animals were spayed or neutered at the center.

Through the center, more than 300 senior citizens adopted pets at no cost to them. Studies have shown that pets benefit older adults and as such, the center provides this program free of charge to those 62 years or older. At the time of adoption, the senior also receives a coupon to be used for a free heartworm test.

Another special program the QCAWC provides is education in the schools, teaching young people to be humane and compassionate to all beings. More than 50 schools participated in Iowa and Illinois. The impact of all the programs through the center has helped save the lives of hundreds of animals.

As a nonprofit organization that stands out in the community for its no-kill philosophy, the QCAWC does not receive any government funding and has been successful in providing a low-cost wellness clinic for pets in the area. The biggest challenge facing the center is the physical location of the building. With the help of an advertising campaign and social media, awareness of the center and its services has increased.

Financially, there are two endowments set up for growth. There are two events held once a year. One is a trivia night in March, which raised $7,000 last year; and the other is the Mutt Strut, which raised $18,000.

The QCAWC has an open-door management style. The team accepts suggestions from staff and volunteers to enhance all the programs available at the center. Everyone makes humane and ethical decisions.

The shelter is very involved in the community. The staff and volunteers attend Boy and Girl Scout meetings, church functions and other community events to educate the community about pets and being responsible and teaching bite safety.

Address: 724 W. 2nd Ave., Milan. Phone: 309-787-6830. Web: qcawc.org. Employees: 21.

Quad City Arts

Quad City Arts has enriched the bistate area with programs in the performing, education, visual and community arts since 1970. What began as the Quad City Arts Council and the Visiting Artist Series, evolved to the single organization that has grown in the Iowa and Illinois Quad-Cities.

Dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad-Cities area through presentation, development and celebration of the arts, the organization offers several programs such as the Performing Arts in Education, which presents a visiting artist to young students through 165 educational outreaches and public concerts. Area schools receive study guides for the performing artists and then prepare the students for the performance.

The Community Arts program employs youths and professionals to work together on projects in the community such as dance and designing murals. The programs work with cities and businesses to produce public art. The Visual Arts program displays the work of local artists at the Quad City International Airport and other community venues. This program includes a consignment gallery representing dozens of area artists.

Quad City Arts is a community-based organization that embraces collaboration above competition. More than 50 artists are featured each year, and the nonprofit sells work from 100 local and regional artists. More than 52,000 students experience the Visiting Artist program each year and its grant program supports projects by artists in other nonprofits that will touch more than 93,000 area residents.

Despite federal funding and public-education cutbacks, this nonprofit is in the process of researching and creating new opportunities. It has established that the community benefits from the arts, and it is constantly looking for ways to save and raise money. Small innovations include process improvements such as creating online forms and developing core programming like a recent sculpture made of driftwood on the lawn of an area library or a jazz trio team performing at school assembles.

Quad City Arts is market driven and believes in collaboration with the community. Staff and volunteers sit on committees at the Figge Art Museum, Downtown Partnership and Quad Cities First. The staff volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and all support the United Way. The nonprofit also participates in community events like the St. Patrick's Day Parade and contributes dozens of Festival of Trees gift baskets for the silent auction and raffle prizes at fundraisers for other nonprofits.

Address: 1715 2nd Ave., Rock Island. Phone: 309-793-1213. Web: quadcityarts.com. Employees: 6.