Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders (left) with Sean Ring of Innovative Employee Solutions. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Five standout San Diego businesses and one nonprofit received top honors Tuesday at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce‘s annual small business awards ceremony.

“Small businesses are really a driving force of our region’s economy and the role they play is truly anything but small,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the chamber, noting that half of the region’s workforce is employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees.

The 2016 winners in six categories were announced during the ceremony at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp:

Tech Savvy: GroundMetrics for its proprietary electromagnetic sensor that has become a world leader in the oil and gas technology market, helping customers use less fracking and drill fewer bad wells.

Only in San Diego: Moniker Group for harnessing San Diego’s cooperative entrepreneurial spirit to provide a community where designers, makers, artists and tech professionals can thrive.

Cinderella Story: The San Diego Sports Entertainment Center for revitalizing itself after losing everything during the 2008 financial crisis.

Customer Service Star: Innovative Employee Solutions for delivering on its motto that “excellent service isn’t something you should do, but something you want to do.”

Best For Vets: Miramar Federal Credit Union because of its commitment to hire veterans who will connect with customers on a level most civilians cannot.

Outstanding Nonprofit: Reality Changers for its success in helping low-income students graduate college at an 86 percent success rate.

The San Diego chamber is the largest on the West Coast, representing approximately 2,500 businesses and an estimated 300,000 jobs.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.