Volusia County-based First Response is among several award finalists that have participated in, and benefited from, the UCF Business Incubation Program

First Response(ORLANDO, Fla) – Volusia County-based First Response Disaster Team earned first place honors in the inaugural Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards in the Greater Orlando area.  The 10-person company, a recent graduate of the UCF Business Incubation Program, earned the recognition in the “small business” category.   The awards program honors the companies, organizations and people whose products, services, and thought leadership have impacted the community.

“It’s always an honor to see our program graduates achieve success and earn recognition for their accomplishments,” said Connie Garzon-Bernal, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubator, Volusia County.  “For First Response Disaster Team, we were able to provide the company with the tools and resources it needed to compete in the market and create new jobs in the area.”

Headquartered in Edgewood, First Response Disaster Team is a full-service restoration service company that handles water extraction, water damage restoration, mold removal, and fire and smoke damage restoration throughout Volusia, Brevard, Flagler and Seminole counties. A family-owned business, the company offers 24-hour service and a one-hour response time anywhere in its four-county coverage area.  Most recently, the company also earned recognition as the “2014 UCF Business Incubator Entrepreneur of the Year.”

“I can’t say enough on how significant of a role the UCF Business Incubation Program played in the growth and success of our company,” said Ken Poulin, First Response Disaster Team CEO.  “Thanks to the program’s resources and the team’s strategic guidance, we grew from a two- to ten-person operation within a year, and we’re continuing to expand. In fact, we recently opened up a new office branch in Orlando.”

With several facilities throughout the Central Florida region, the UCF Business Incubation Program provides emerging enterprises with a strategic path, a wide array of vital business development services and resources, and on-going guidance, motivation and support that are all individually tailored to help take a company to the next level.

Poulin explained that a significant benefit to his company’s participation in the program was the insights he received on operations, marketing and business development strategies.  In addition, participating in the UCF Business Incubation Program provided him with the opportunity to develop relationships and explore synergies with other business owners taking part in the program.

Sponsored by Bright House Networks, the Regional Business Awards for Central Florida is a joint effort with area Chambers of Commerce to recognize the successes of outstanding companies in Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties.

Award categories included startup, small, medium and large business, innovation and newcomer. Winners were selected based on their focus on vision, growth, stability, innovation, and community involvement.  Bright House Networks awarded prizes totaling over $1,000,000, including commercial TV production, air time, customer newsletter, and cash. Florida Governor Rick Scott served as the guest speaker for this year’s inaugural awards gala, which was held March 19 at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando.