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Buckhead Business Association Hands Out Annual Awards

January 22, 2015

Northside Neighbor

A diverse set of four companies and businesspeople was honored Thursday during the Buckhead Business Association’s annual luncheon at the J.W. Marriott Atlanta Buckhead hotel.

David Cummings, owner and founder of the Atlanta Tech Village, received the Bullish on Buckhead Award; the Buckhead Atlanta project, owned by San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan, got the Buckhead Beautification Award; Jenny Levison, owner of six restaurants, won the Buckhead Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and the Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta won the Buckhead Business of the Year Award.

In 2007 Cummings co-founded Pardot, an Atlanta-based marketing automation company which was sold to ExactTarget, an Indianapolis-based marketing software company, in 2012 for nearly $100 million. Later that year he bought the 103,000-square-foot building where the village now sits. Today it is “the largest technology entrepreneurial center in the Southeast,” said David Coxon, the association’s 2015 president-elect and presenter of the awards.

Of his award Cummings said, “I think being honored by the Buckhead Business Association really helps solidify the importance of entrepreneurship and tech entrepreneurship. A lot of people thought this as a strange location to build [the village], but as soon as we opened [it], we were sold out and had a huge waiting list. It shows how much interest there is in this area for tech entrepreneurs.”

Buckhead Atlanta was honored for planting several oak trees and installing landscaping to beautify the development, which opened its first phase in September, with other phases opening late last year, earlier this year and later in 2015.

“They will provide 25- to 30-foot canopies of shade in the summer,” Coxon said of the trees, adding OliverMcMillan will add 130 more trees and more landscaping as newer phases open.

Levison, who owns Souper Jenny, Juicy Jenny and Café Jonah and the Magical Attic, all in Buckhead, plus Souper Jenny locations in Decatur, Brookhaven and west Midtown, was lauded for her entrepreneurial spirit. The last two opened two months ago and this week, respectively. Levison has also authored two cookbooks.

“It was awesome,” she said of the award. “[It was] very unexpected, but I was super honored and it was a great ceremony. ... Buckhead is a very supportive community so I really appreciated it.

“To me it’s really about what a great team I work with because we’ve got almost 50 employees between all the locations. I’m the visionary and they’re the ones doing a spectacular job.”

Legoland won the overall award against fellow nominees Bhojanic, Flywheel, Onward Reserve and Morgan Kylee.

“It feels absolutely fantastic to be recognized,” said Whitney Wilson, Legoland’s marketing manager. “It’s a very particular niche attraction in Buckhead. We felt that we certainly met the qualifications but it was spectacular to be honored and to really feel a part of the community.”

Wilson said the center hosts regular events for charities and other organizations.

“We do monthly events and annually participate as staff in the Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure,” she said. “We also work closely with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with quarterly patient parties where our master model builder goes out to the hospital to work with the kids in the hospital. We also do a minimum of two toy drives a year with Toys for Tots and Children’s Healthcare. We have Merlin’s Magic Wand, our own local charity with Super Hero Sundays with local nonprofits and organizations that carter to disabled and special-needs children.”

To be honored for all awards, businesses must be one to five years old. Brian McGuire, the association’s 2014 president, and a panel of judges helped select the winners.

“I think with the larger awards, it is an opportunity to recognize people who make a difference,” he said. “With David Cummings and the Atlanta Tech Village, technology is something you didn’t think about in Buckhead but in Mid-town and other areas until he came along. Giving out these awards encourages other businesses to do these things.

“With the smaller awards, it is something we do to recognize people that you may not be aware of and the work they are doing here. Before the award winners were selected, I didn’t know about Onward Reserve or Morgan Kylee.”

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