Entrepreneur of the Year Award & Business Hall of Fame
In order to emphasize the importance of Odessa’s small business community, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce honors one individual each year as Entrepreneur of the Year.
Additionally, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce inducts one or more individuals into the Business Hall of Fame. Help us recognize these individuals by nominating a business leader today.
2018 Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame nomination forms will be available in January
Enterpreneur of the Year Honorees
Dr. Jayaram B. NaiduNaidu Clinic
Dr. Jayaram Naidu has earned quite the name during his years of practice, especially within our community. Dr. Naidu obtained his medical degree from Guntur Medical College in Andhra, India and completed his residency in internal medicine at A.C. Logan Memorial Hospital in New York. Dr. Naidu is president of Naidu Clinic, and has been in private practice as an internist for more than 40 years with a special interest in Cardiology.
Naidu is an assistant clinical professor for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and was recently appointed to the Texas Medical Board for the second time. He is a member of the Texas Medical Association, Ector County Medical Society, the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Advisory Board, and is a past board member of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he is a former gubernatorial appointee of the Chronic Kidney Disease Task force and was on the UTPB Development board.
After finishing his residency in New York, Naidu landed in Texas when he went to visit his Brother, who was currently living in Lubbock, Texas. At the time, Odessa was a boomtown in much need of internists. Naidu left his job at Texas Tech, borrowed money from a bank, and moved to Odessa where he would plant his roots for many years to come.
Although Naidu has been hard at work in medicine for the past four decades, he has yet to lose his spark of passion for practicing. During his time in Odessa, Dr. Naidu has recruited 20 to 25 physicians to the area.
“He has constantly worked for the betterment of Odessa’s medical needs over the years and continues to this day,” said Austin Keith in a nomination letter about Naidu. “He has been able to attract many physicians to Odessa when times were tough here in the Permian Basin.
Dr. Naidu has received many honors and awards. He received the Best Community Physician Educator, Family Practice, from Texas Tech Health Science Center as well as “Best Physician” by the Odessa American Readers Choice Awards in 2001. In 2002, he received the Heritage Foundation Award for Outstanding Odessan in Philanthropy and “Service Above Self” by the Rotary Club of Odessa. In 2005, Dr. Naidu was inducted into the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame and “Bharat Gavraw” by the Friends of India. He is also a “Distinguished Fellow” from TTHSC.
Naidu’s wife, Sujani, managed the clinic for many years before her retirement. Together, they have two children. His son, Raja Naidu, is a cardiologist who offices on the second floor of the Naidu Clinic, and his daughter, Sulekha, who lives in New York. Naidu also has two granddaughters.
- 2016 - Austin Keith
- 2015 - D. Kirk Edwards
- 2014 - Les Littlejohn
- 2013 - Scott Sibert
- 2012 - Collin Sewell
- 2011 - Larry Feeler
- 2010 - Jane & Mark Knox
- 2009 - Toby Eoff
- 2008 - Trina Moralez
- 2007 - Frank Deaderick
- 2006 - Larry G. Lee
- 2005 - Herbert Graham
- 2004 - C.R. “Dick” Saulsbury
- 2003 - Dr. Sudhir P. Srivastava
- 2002 - Don Wood & Jack Wood
- 2001 - Sam Holloman
- 2000 - Fred D. George
- 1999 - B.L. Crenshaw & Harvey Page
- 1998 - C. Richard “Dick” Sivalls
- 1997 - John Bushman
- 1996 - Wanda Jones
- 1995 - Bill Massey
- 1994 - Clay Wood
- 1993 - B.R. “Barnie” Jones
- 1992 - Bob Barnes
- 1991 - Bobby Cox
- 1990 - James O. Reese
- 1989 - Dane Widner
- 1988 - David Boutin
2017 Business Hall of Fame Honorees
Lisa CrenshawCrenshaw Flooring
Lisa Crenshaw is the proud owner of Crenshaw Flooring, Inc., a local floor recovery and sales service store that has been open for more than 55 years. Started by Crenshaw’s Father, Ray, Crenshaw Flooring is a family-owned business that opened its doors in 1962. However, the business has done anything but standstill since then.
“We work all over the Permian Basin and have gone as far as Ruidoso,” said Crenshaw in an interview with the Odessa American. “One time we even did some work in Dallas.”
Crenshaw says that the company’s main mission is to provide ‘exceptional’ customer service to everyone who walks through the door. Crenshaw has six employees and is a premier dealer for many top flooring brands. What stands out most about Crenshaw Flooring is the experience it brings to its customers. Combined, the employees bring about 150 years of experience, with their least experienced employer bringing 20 years’ experience.
“We started with carpet and sheet vinyl because back then, that’s what was popular,” said Crenshaw in an Odessa American interview. “Since 1996, we’ve started carrying ceramic and wood and everything else. We’ve adapted.”
Crenshaw is involved with many organizations outside of her family-owned business. She serves as a volunteer for the Crisis Center, the Globe Theatre, the Odessa Rotary Club, and has served on boards such as the Odessa Housing Finance, Odessa Regional Medical Center, the Odessa College Education Foundation, and as the Past Chairman of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce.
Crenshaw has been honored many times in the past, being named the 2005 Women of Distinction, the 2009 Spirit of Texas Small Business Award winner, and the 2011 Heritage of Odessa Business. Today, Lisa Crenshaw will be added to Odessa Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame, and rightfully so.
Crenshaw has one daughter, Tori, who lives in Georgetown, Texas.
Nick FowlerREXtac, LLC. & Orrex Plastics Company, LLC
Nick Fowler graduated from Odessa High School in 1969. Following his graduation, Fowler attended Rice University, where he received a bachelor’s in science and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering. He then went on to pursue an MBA from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Fowler is the principal owner of REXtac, LLC & Orrex Plastics Company, LLC., an Odessa based company that provides Amorphous Poly Alpha Olefin (APAO) adhesive and sealant solutions for clients worldwide, (REXtac) plus complex reactive extrusion compounding for all the global polymer manufacturers, (Orrex). These solutions are used in various products such as adhesives, lubricants, packaging, personal hygiene, and automotive interiors.
Prior to REXtac, Fowler served as an officer in the US Navy and worked as a drilling engineer in Midland. Unemployed in 1983, Fowler developed a process to recover waste polymer behind the then El Paso Products Company plant site. This process eventually developed into the company that would become REXtac, LLC.
“I had absolutely zero previous experience, training, or formal education in polymer chemistry or engineering,” said Fowler in his biographical information form. But that didn’t get in the way of Fowlers future success. In fact, despite Fowler and his employees’ inexperience in polymer industry, they are still the number one company within their market.
Fowler said that had it not been for the seed capital furnished by the Odessa’s Economic Development Corporation, REXtac and Orrex would have never successfully taken off. But it did. In fact, today REXtac and Orrex payroll and benefits now exceed $19,000,000 per annum, and the companies pay $600,000 in annual property taxes. Orrex is currently expanding with a 50% increase in capacity, and REXtac is working to add an additional 200,000,000 pounds per year of new polymer production to its Odessa facility.
In addition to running a successful business, Fowler still finds time to serve on the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum board, Safe Place of the Permian Basin, and the UTPB Development Board. Fowler has three daughters; Jennifer, Jessica and Julie, and seven grandchildren.
Ravi ShakamuriStarCare Health Services
Ravi Shakamuri is the owner of Star Care Health Services, employing 150 local Odessans offering home health, hospice, and DME services in addition to technology services for hospitals. Born in India, Shakamuri graduated from All Saints High School in 1975 and went on to attend Andhra University in 1983 graduating with a Masters in Marine Biology.
In 1989, Shakamuri voyaged to the U.S. to attend Texas Tech University, graduating with an M.S. in Management. Prior to starting Star Care, Shakamuri was the Regional Director for Seton Healthcare’s West-central region covering three states.
To date, Shakamuri has been in home health, hospice, and DME for 20 years and his priority has been to support Medical Center, ORMC, Midland Memorial, Permian Regional, Nor-Lea Hospitals and Texas Oncology clinics with the prevention of readmissions and improving clinical outcomes (www.starcareonline.com).
Shakamuri owns Star Tech Group, a company that uses “Avatar” technology to strengthen student (6th grade through college & career) learning skills, retention, graduation & career ready in partnership with UTPB and Region 18 school districts (www.avatarplatform.com). Shakamuri also owns “Acclaim Global Education”, an India based company that provides similar services to students in India (www.acclaimglobal.net).
Shakamuri’s success stems from his philosophy that states: “Without making excuses, focus on the positive. Work with the right people who share a common value system to deliver a solution that strengthens individuals, institutions, and communities to collaborate and succeed.”
“Odessa as a city has been a remarkable place to be able to work with great individuals and institutions on this journey” said Shakamuri. “We wish to thank the Odessa Chamber and many of its members who we have continued to have the pleasure of working with to make a difference.
Shakamuri and his wife Madhu have been married for 26 years. Together, they have one son, Nithin.
Lonnie LawrenceAmeriFlush, AmeriVax, AmeriTank, USAutoMax
Lonnie Lawrence is the proud majority owner of four locally-run businesses in Odessa: AmeriFlush, AmeriVax, AmeriTank, and USAutoMax. Prior to purchasing his businesses, Lawrence worked as a lab technician in the oilfield and as a used car manager for a local dealership.
Lawrence opened his first business, USAutoMax, in 1976. In 2008, Lawrence expanded and opened AmeriFlush, and in 2016, launched AmeriVax and AmeriTank. Lawrence’s companies provide a variety of services including portable sanitation solutions, portable restrooms, trash trailers, fresh water, and vac truck services in the oilfield. Lawrence also offers hydro vac services for non-destructive digging and rig and frac tank cleaning through AmeriVax.
Lawrence graduated from Permian High School in 1969 and attended Odessa College to study Chemical Engineering. In his spare time, Lawrence still finds time to volunteer for various organizations within the community. He is a former baseball coach for the Odessa Youth Baseball Association, a member of the Pillars Club for United Way, and a UTPB Flacon Club Member. Lawrence is also an active board member for Downtown Odessa, Inc., a committee member for the Odessa Counsel for Arts & Humanities (OCA&H), and the Odessa Public Art Committee.
Lawrence and his wife, Janet, have been married for 10 years. Together they have five children: Reggie, Daisha, Camron, Kirby and Taylor; and four grandchildren.
See Previous Honorees