Two Knoxville companies capture three of eight national small business awards

Two Knoxville companies – one established, the other a start-up – captured three of the eight awards presented last week during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual celebration of small businesses.

Dan Hurst and the team at Strata-G LLC took the grand prize and $25,000 as recipient of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award,” while Coonhound Camping LLC garnered two honors – “Community Excellence Award” and “Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award.”

The award presented to Strata-G recognizes a small business that exemplifies the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and individual initiative. According to this news release from the U.S. Chamber, “The winner exemplifies success and leadership across business growth performance, innovative business strategies, community engagement, as well as customer and employee relations.”

We spotlighted Strata-G more than seven years ago with this article. Founded in 2002, the company has adopted a philosophy espoused consistently by its President. “By hiring extraordinary people, creating meaningful relationships with our customers, and giving back to the community, we’ve been able to grow deep roots that sustain us,” Hurst said at the time.

That same philosophy was cited by the U.S. Chamber. “With the goal of treating employees and customers the way we want to be treated, Strata-G helps its clients solve challenging technical problems in the environmental, nuclear, and utilities sectors by offering world class engineers, project managers, environmental scientists, and safety professionals. Strata-G is now an organization of approximately 230 professionals working on projects from Washington State to Washington D.C.”

Coonhound was founded in 2017 by a group of outdoor-loving sophomores at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) who had noticed that there were plenty of camping equipment rental companies that would provide the equipment but no enterprise that delivered the equipment or set-up the campsite. The group won $5,000 during the Spring 2018 “Graves Business Plan Competition” hosted by UTK’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Today, the Coonhound team includes Dalton Maddox, Jeremy Piper, Chris Mikulec, and Michael Richards.

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