Epic Tale - epic software group Nominated as Small Business of the Year - 2006

by: Erin Myers

October 12, 2006 - The Woodlands, Texas - The epic software group in The Woodlands was one of three Montgomery County businesses nominated for the North Harris Montgomery Community College District Small Business of the Year award. Nova Biologicals and Wiggins Furniture, both of Conroe, joined epic software in the distinction.

Vic Cherubini president and founder of epic software said he first realized what an honor the nomination was when he asked local business owner Jack Stibbs for a recommendation and learned Stibbs was nominated for the award several years ago.

"I'm in awe of Jack and his business practices and the way he is," Cherubini said. "I just thought, "I'm in the same category as Jack Stibbs? No, I don't think so."

Cherubini started epic software in 1990 with 3 employees on the advice of a professor and director of the Small Business Development Council in Houston. With the Internet boom of the mid-90's, epic software grew rapidly, ultimately employing 18 people. The epic software group built a custom building during that time and moved into it in 2000 shortly before the Internet bust.

The company weathered subsequent detrimental blows and now operates with six full-time employees. Cherubini calls the period between 2000 and 2004 the "character building years."

Now, boasting a client list ranging from Coca-Cola to NASA, epic software has once again gained a foothold in the multimedia service industry and is the largest 3D animation studio in the Houston area. During the slower years, epic software published eight books and seven training CD's to maintain cash flow.

The epic software group is locally renowned for its internship program which, over the last 16 years, has employed "hundreds of interns," Cherubini said.

"If I were to look at something I was most proud of, it would be that we've had an internship program since day minus-one," he said, "Before we even had employees we had interns."

Cherubini said the ultimate goal with each intern is to hire them at epic software after their 90-day internship ends.

"Our interns are not just decorations; they're here to do work," he said.

Cherubini admits he has limited knowledge of 3D animation or programming, but said he has "very talented people" that make his ideas come to life.

Another nominee, Nova Biologicals, has been bestowed many state and national recognitions since it started up in 1993. President and Founder Paul Pearce was recently appointed to Governor Rick Perry's Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource Council for his work with water supply systems.

Recently, Nova Biologicals completed the first phase of bringing Conroe's water system up to standards set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Pearce said.

"That program has become the model program for the state and the country," Pearce said.

In addition to public water system security, Nova Biologicals does water and microbiological testing, government compliance management and air quality testing.

Pearce moved to Conroe in 1974 and opened Nova Biologicals in 1993. "If you can't do (business) in Montgomery County, you can't do it anywhere," Pearce said. "(The county has) tremendous resources and talented people,"

Kim Wiggins, owner of also nominated Wiggins Furniture, said her business is based on "treating people as I would want to be treated. People aren't just a number. They have a name and they want their home to be theirs and something they can be proud of."

In business since April 1, 2000, Wiggins Furniture has expanded from a small storefront in the Conroe Outlet Center to a 30,000 square foot building on State Highway 105, which opened in May of 2005.

Wiggins worked for Lester Sheppard at Sheppard Furniture until he retired. She credits his guidance as the driving force behind her own business practices. Wiggins works beside her husband and 3 children along with store employees that aren't technically family, even though Wiggins considers them to be. "I'm honored just to being the top three (Montgomery County Small Businesses of the Year) and to be recognized at all. If I win, that's great, if I don't win I'm still very honored to know that someone has nominated my store," she said. The Kingwood are finalists were Green Oaks Diagnostics, Nicole's Italian Restaurant and Kingwood Chiropractic Associates, North Harris finalist were Boullion Graphics, Clementine's Restaurant and OMNIBANK. Tomball finalists were Granny's Corner, Spring Nursery and Landscape and Magnolia Pharmacy. Cy-Fair finalists were Cy-Fair Credit Union, Schubot Law Firm and Pate Engineers. The Small Business of the Year will be announced Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott Greenspoint Hotel. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table of 10. For more information call (832) 813-6674.

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