Larry Allison Sr. learned Wednesday how much his employees and fellow business owners appreciate and respect him.
Allison and his son Larry Jr. were presented the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce's Phillips-Plankenhorn Small Business of the Year award at the organization's 123rd annual meeting and awards banquet at the Genetti Hotel.
Allison did not know a member of his staff submitted an application for the award on his behalf, but a video prepared for the occasion showed that many people believe he deserved it.
Larry Allison Sr., right, and Larry Allison Jr. of Allison Crane and Rigging receive the Small Business of the Year Award Wednesday at the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce’s 123rd annual meeting.
Timothy J. Keohane, left, director of the Small Business Development Center at Lock Haven University, introduces Anna Griffith of Discovery Machine Inc. with the Emerging Business Award Wednesday during the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce’s 123rd annual meeting and awards banquet.
Vincent J. Matteo, left, president of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, presents the Ethel Weinhart Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Mike Ruby.
In the video, company administrative assistant Tina M. Shay described Allison as a humble man who put the needs of his employees and the community first.
Shay added she is proud to be an employee of the company.
Crane operator Jay Boyer said it is "a joy" to work for Allison, while area business and civic leaders praised him as an honest, hard-working and civic-minded businessman.
Michael Beiter of Lamar Advertising said the company has old-fashioned business ethics. Beiter said when the company does a job for him, Larry Allison Jr. meets with him in person to make sure the work is exactly what was expected and that he is completely satisfied.
Such sentiments were echoed by Ralph Agnoni of Shop Vac and Henry Perciballi, of Perciballi and Williams LLC.
The video also focused on Allison's support for Little League, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Camp Cadet, countless volunteer fire companies and law enforcement agencies, and Susquehanna Health, for whom he sponsors an annual golf tournament.
Upon receiving the award, Allison thanked his employees, some of whom attended the presentation, for making the company a success.
He told a story about working with now-company vice president David Phillips on a job many years ago in high winds and temperatures well below zero. Allison said he asked Phillips if he was cold. Phillips answered, "naw," he said.
"I believe that is the only time in 32 years (Phillips) has ever lied to me," Allison said.
Allison said the goal of the company has been, and will be, to improve and grow. He thanked his customers, both old and new.
According to the video, the company was founded in 1976 in Williamsport by Allison's father Herbert with a single crane. The company expanded across the state. When Larry Allison Sr. later took over the company, its reputation for high-quality service continued.
Allison said he is "extremely proud to have a son like Larry (Jr.)" who will be able to take over the company and continue that tradition.
Michael Ruby, manager of the Williamsport Wegmans, was honored with the Ethel Winehart Volunteer of the Year.
"Mike's willingness to help wherever he can has been a huge asset to the many programs and services our organization provides our members and the community," Chamber president Vincent Matteo said. "His involvement touches almost every aspect of programming that we undertake."
Ruby has contributed to the chamber's annual golf outing, to an intitiative recognizing top students from Lycoming County school districts, the Grand Slam Parade, the Polar Express and Fall Foliage Train excursions.
Matteo said the chamber is fortunate to have Ruby as a member of the community.
"Truth be told, just about any organization here in our community should feel fortunate that Mike is a part of our family," he added.
Timothy J. Keohane, director of the Small Business Development Center at Lock Haven University, presented Anna Griffith, of Williamsport-based Discovery Machine Inc., with the Emerging Business Award.
Griffith and her husband, Todd, founded the company in 1996 and immediately became successful with their "revolutionary approach to knowledge acquistion and engineering," Keohane said.
"They focused upon making the transfer of knowledge easily accessible to non-technical experts," he said.
According to Keohane, the company provides technological services to industries such as national defense, homeland security, aerospace and life sciences.
Government agencies and corporations the company works with include the Office of Naval Research, Defense Advanced Reseach Projects Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense-Readiness and Training, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, Northrop Grumman, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and others.
"While it sounds like you might find this company in a more urban, metropolitan area, this small business is headquartered in Williamsport at the old city hall building," Keohane said.