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Kathy Shambre (right), president of Debt Recovery Solutions of Ohio, accepted Small Business of the Year Award with the company's vice president Bethany Robertson.   

MANSFIELD ─ Kathy Shambre said her company became a “star” with the 2020 Small Business of the Year Award.

Her business, Debt Recovery Solutions of Ohio, won the honor of the 15-and-more employee category on Wednesday. The winner for the 14-and-less employee category was DRM Productions Inc.

The awards ceremony was hosted by the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development and live-streamed on its Facebook page due to the pandemic.   

Chamber President and CEO Jodie Perry said DRS of Ohio takes great care of its employees and is actively involved in the community. The company has prospered in the area for nearly 20 years and “shown no signs of slowing down.”  

Shambre, president of DRS of Ohio, had tears in her eyes while accepting the award. Shambre said said she and Bethany Robertson, the company’s vice president, and have worked hard to build the business. It took them seven years to begin making a profit.

“It's not easy to start a small business. But you know what? My mother always told me: reach for the stars … Today, we became a star,” Shambre said.

The debt collection agency trains employees daily to make sure they have the knowledge to do the work correctly and in a diplomatic way, Shambre said. They also have game days during the week to motivate the collectors to stay on task.  

DRM is a communications company that provides digital services ranging from video production to virtual reality. Chief executive officer Jay Miller said clients come in with new ideas and the team takes on the challenge to figure out the best solution.  

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Jay Miller, CEO of DRM Productions Inc. 

The office environment at DRM is full of fun. Miller said there are board game days and Ping-Pong tournaments to help everyone relax. Some staff members take their dogs to work, too.   

The pandemic dramatically changed clients’ needs, Miller said, pushing the 14-person team to its limit. But they have managed it and produced 22 videos about local nonprofits’ efforts in the global crisis.

He also said it's DRM’s honor to “scream from the mountaintops all the good things going on in this community.”

“If you guys keep being awesome, we'll keep yelling from the mountaintops and we'll eventually let the whole world know,” Miller said.

Perry said the chamber received a record 92 nominations of small businesses and nonprofits this year. The award committee selected six finalists. They were DRS of Ohio, DRM, Elzy Milling and Trade, Studio 19 Salon and Spa, Dearman Moving and Storage and Schmidt Security Pro.

Together, the six small businesses employ over 160 people locally and create more than $31 million in revenue, Perry said. These companies also donate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to local charitable causes.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of a community, and we are extremely honored to be able to put the spotlight on them this year, more than ever,” Perry said.

Richland County Foundation won the nonprofit award of 2020. Founded in 1945, the foundation has granted over $95 million to the community. Perry said its multiple projects such as Mansfield Rising demonstrate the innovation and creativity of the team.

Brady Groves, the foundation’s president, shared the honor with all nonprofits in Richland County on Wednesday.  He said Richland County Foundation’s work is just a reflection of what the nonprofits are doing.

“We simply make grants to some amazing nonprofits. And accepting this award today is really on behalf of all the nonprofits that are delivering on-the-ground services to make Richland County a better place to live,“ he said.

For introductions videos of all finalists, visit DRM’s YouTube channel.

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