Orange County Business Journal

OCBJ Fetes Six for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Heidi Kulicke Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Six OC entrepreneurs were honored at the Business Journal’s 11th annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards in Irvine.

Wednesday’s luncheon spotlighted individual start-up success stories and the determination of the entrepreneurs honored at the event.

Keynote speaker Joe Kiani--founder, chairman and chief executive of Irvine-based medical device maker Masimo Corp.--encouraged entrepreneurs to surround themselves with people who have areas of expertise different than their own.

“Innovation and invention comes from a little bit of brilliance and a lot of hard work,” he said. “And these entrepreneurs are no exception.”

Honoree Mike Manclark, chief executive of Costa Mesa-based Leading Edge Aviation Services Inc., started his aircraft detailing and painting company at John Wayne Airport in 1989 with five employees. Today the company employs more than 1,000 people and provides painting services to Delta, Continental, Southwest, Air Canada, UPS and others.

Manclark acknowledged the growing pains that come with entrepreneurship.

“Pain spells the first four letters of paint,” he said.

Also receiving honors was Bill Duehring, president of Irvine-based Felt Bicycles, a bicycle manufacturer specializing in bikes designed for triathlons.

Duehring gave credit to his employees. “My whole life has been about teamwork,” he said. “You’re only as good as the people under you.”

Other honorees included:

  • Cynthia Stamper Graff, executive board chairperson of Costa Mesa-based Lindora Medical Clinics, which specializes in healthy weight loss;
  • Tim Gleeson, chief executive of Newport Beach-based Novasyte LLC, a medical device and diagnostic training and support company; and
  • Chief Executive Randy Bishop and President Ken Button of Verengo Solar Plus, which installs solar panels for homes.