University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

Family Business & Entrepreneurship Celebrated at UVM

Thomas Wheeler and Family from A.W.Brown Pet & Garden Store accept their award

The Livak Ballroom at the Davis Center was packed on Friday afternoon for the 2nd celebration of entrepreneurship & family businesses.  The celebration featured the University of Vermont (UVM) Family Business Awards, sponsored by the School of Business Administration.

Four awards were given out to recognize UVM alumni or Vermont based family businesses that have overcome the challenges of succession to achieve lasting success, and have demonstrated a commitment to creating sustainable business through leadership and innovation.

“Each winner has an inspirational story marked by solid growth in revenues and profits in highly competitive markets” said Dr. Pramodita Sharma, of the School of Business Administration.  “Good old fashioned hard work and strong community involvement, is deftly combined with an innovative approach to stay at the leading edge of their industries. While the competition was fierce, the four winners we honored drew unanimous votes from our judges.” 

The winners were: 

A.W.Brown Pet & Garden Store, East Longmeadow, MA - 1st GENERATION ­ UVM graduate led start-up or purchased firm with multiple family members in ownership or operations -

State Garden Inc. / Olivia's Organics, Chelsea, MA - Multi-Gen: US based enterprise ­ UVM graduate led firm that has completed at least one generational transfer within the family -

DiLeonardo International, Warwick, RI - Multi-Gen: Global enterprise ­ UVM graduate led firm that has completed at least one generational transfer within the family -

Dakin Farms, Ferrisburg, VT - Vermont Legacy Achievement Award ­ Vermont based family business recognized for outstanding and long lasting success -


The judging panel evaluated nominations and selected the winners based on the following criteria:

1. The financial success of the company,

2. Governance structures,

3. Contributions to the community and industry,

4. Demonstrated innovative business practices or strategies.


The 2013 judges panel comprised of:

A huge thank you to everyone associated with the awards, and see you next year!