The 2023 Bob Mack C12 Hero Awards
Living Out Business as a Ministry
During CURRENT’23, C12 CEO Mike Sharrow announced the 2023 Bob Mack C12 Heroes. These men and women embody the ideals of Business as a Ministry (BaaM) leadership. Through their unwavering commitment, these C12 members have effectively led as stewards of God’s businesses, operating in alignment with biblical values and extending Christ-like care to others.
Since 2001, C12 has recognized select members with the C12 Hero Award. In 2023, C12 renamed the award to honor Bob Mack, the man who first introduced C12 founder Buck Jacobs to the idea of committing a business to Christ. Bob was Buck’s best friend, business partner, and Christian mentor who modeled how to pursue success and significance as a Christian in business.
Nominees must have been in C12 for at least five years and, during that time, demonstrated consistent and noteworthy faithfulness, servant leadership, trust in God, diligence in adversity, and courage in advancing ministry.
We are proud to recognize these members as our 2023 C12 Heroes.
In 2010, Dr. Robert Antolak joined C12 and drafted his Christ-centered mission statement, which included words such as, “We at the Gentle Dentist use our God-given talents and abilities to serve our patients with Christ-like compassion…”
After 19 years of annual trips to serve the vulnerable in Haiti, Robert co-founded Trinity Community Care, a non-profit medical and dental facility that provides services to individuals who otherwise would not have access to such care. He and his wife, Polly, worked tirelessly to establish and maintain this enterprise in service to the less fortunate in their area.
Robert was awarded the Dentist Citizen of the Year by the Michigan Dental Association in 2015. Robert inspires his C12 peers with his exuberance around making disciples and the urgency of maintaining his health and fitness. In keeping with our Buffalo Culture, Robert climbed Mt Lindsey (a 14er in Colorado) with C12 peer Pat McCarty in 2021. They even “planted” a Buffalo Culture flag at the summit!
Robert leads an industry group within the Christian Medical & Dental Association to help other local professionals collaborate on ministry in their medical practices.
Like many of you, Robert has been disappointed by people in business over the past years. Each time, he returns to the mindset, “I will trust God to resolve this situation and lead me through it.” When a C12 peer died unexpectedly, Robert adopted the widow and seven kids as pro bono patients and rallied support.
Robert’s life, business, and ministry continue to inspire others inside and outside C12 to seek the Kingdom of God first. Robert, we are honored and privileged to congratulate you as a C12 Hero.
Frank was a charter member of C12 Philadelphia in 2008. Frank’s belief in the dream behind a new business drives him and elevates his value to his clients at navitend and his fellow C12 members. He is a prayer warrior who takes his relationships and commitments to heart.
When his C12 peers took to heart Peter Drucker’s mantra, “What you measure improves,” Frank voluntarily developed software that made it easy for the members to report their results to the group and be held accountable. The tool was given a name: Barnabas. Barnabas served to set expectations for what was possible in the creation of a C12 App.
Frank was quick to implement chaplaincy, plug in key players, launch ministry initiatives, and disciple leaders who have come to Christ while working with him at navitend. Frank’s involvement is vital to his fellow C12 peers. His giving nature is not limited to his technological prowess but extends to individuals and organizations that “need to be in C12.” If he believes in someone or something, he offers referrals, sponsorship, funding, mentoring, and discipleship.
Frank credits his ability to balance his work and personal life to the Holy Spirit and his peers, who hold him accountable to be a faithful husband to his wife, Nikki, and their seven children.
Frank, congratulations on being a C12 Hero.
Gary Archer is the CEO of Let’s Play Soccer—an indoor soccer company headquartered in Oklahoma with a nationwide facility network. Gary runs a complex business and applies BaaM principles across all areas and facets of it. He leads a robust prayer ministry for employees twice daily and leads the Peacemaker Conflict course for Let’s Play Soccer employees. Since being hired as the CEO, Gary has led the company to its highest amount of cash reserves in history, and after COVID, Gary raised the wages for all employees without lowering the company’s margins.
Originally this national business with dozens of owners had no faith culture, and Gary himself was not a believer. His conversion created a dilemma of how to live out his new identity in a business that was opposed to the gospel. Today, Let’s Play Soccer has chaplains and set records for the number of first-time employees, vendors, and family members a company has taken to the Global Leadership Summit (75 people in 2015), all while navigating having leaders from diverse faith, lifestyle, and cultural backgrounds.
Gary is selfless, dedicated, and committed to investing in those around him. He is a hero to those who work with him, and his service to others is a reminder of the importance and power of leading with a servant’s heart. We could say so much more—luckily, Gary shared his story at the 2015 C12 Conference.
Gary, congratulations on being awarded a C12 Hero.
Dean Burnside is the Owner and President of Good News Pest Solutions, with 50 employees in North Venice, Florida. A C12 veteran for 25 years, Dean has consistently applied the concepts of our Business as a Ministry framework within his organization. Originally, Dean took over the business known as Macy’s, named after its founder, but he rebranded the company to reflect its new purpose—an engine for Good News service and impact! Dean runs a full-time, for-profit Christian ministry as a pest control company.
Under his leadership, Dean has cultivated a culture of support, love, and encouragement in and through Good News Pest Solutions. Just this past summer, Dean helped lead five employees to trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior—and several of them have been baptized since. He regularly uses his business platform to clearly and boldly share the gospel with the community while earning that right with a top-rated, award-winning business for its sector in the region.
Good News Pest Solutions states that it wants to represent Jesus Christ in its community through a great business. In the last five years, Good News Pest Solutions has given over $500,000 to support Christian ministries locally and globally. Dean is passionate about investing in his people, whether by sponsoring leaders for our Key Player Program or funding mission trips for his employees.
Dean’s goal is to become a Top 100 company in the nation, in a highly fragmented industry, with a rigorous commitment to mission and excellence. Despite receiving multiple offers to buy the company for three to four times more than its value, Dean has refused to sell what God helped him build. He is committed to pressing on as he seeks to glorify God through his business. Dean is a true C12 Hero.
20 years ago, John started his business, John Davenport Engineering, Inc., in his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Over the years, John has faced challenges head-on, even redirecting his business focus twice due to changing market dynamics. Through it all, John has remained steadfast in his commitment to developing his team, which has grown to 50 employees.
Through his leadership, the DAVENPORT team is not just a group of professional engineers but committed individuals who are passionate about serving others and positively changing the lives of those in need.
John’s generosity extends beyond his business. He is passionate about creating and supporting ministries and sponsoring Christ-centered billboards in his community. Each year, John also sends a testimonial letter to all of his industry contacts, sharing what Christ has done in his life and his business with great transparency about his faith and leadership struggles at times. John has demonstrated exceptional leadership, generosity, and commitment to the people God has placed in his life, all while consistently demonstrating his love for Christ.
John is a passionate cyclist. For the last few years, he has participated in the Hope Ride, a 500+ mile ride in Africa to support clean water for the residents. For the past 10 years, John has walked with his wife through several chronic health issues, demonstrating to his C12 peers, family, and the community the love Christ has for His Church. John has quietly challenged his group through his evident and close walk with his Lord. Keep your eyes out for a video by Gospel Patrons releasing this fall that tells more about John’s culture of enduring generosity.
We are proud to honor John as a C12 Hero.
Lynnie Doughton is a charter member of the original CEO Forum in Roanoke, Virginia, which launched in 2004. Lynnie’s Chair, Greg King, was first introduced to Lynnie through a YouTube video that addressed why his company, DRP Performance Products, places a copy of the Gospel of John in every one of its domestic and international orders.
Over the years, DRP has sent the gospel to millions worldwide, with a vision to share Jesus with 100 million people. DRP has sponsored churches and missionaries, helping them engage in evangelism by sharing God’s Word. That is ironic because Lynnie originally joined C12 with a plan to sell his business and pursue a position in full-time ministry. As Lynnie learned more about God’s plan for his life and business, he realized that God owned DRP, not him, and had him in “full-time ministry” already, working for Him as a steward of DRP.
During 2020, the auto racing industry was completely shattered by the COVID pandemic. When the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) was released, Lynnie chose to forego the financial aid after sensing God telling him that if he received government funds, he would be trusting the government instead of God. And so Lynnie obeyed, dubbing his approach the “God Protection Plan” (GPP). In the months after the decision to pass on the PPP and trust the GPP, DRP experienced a record cash flow that has been maintained to this day.
DRP is a “self-sustaining business ministry.” Per their documents, “We are supported by God through the sale of our products and services, which provides us with a mission field and profit to extend our reach around the world. We deliver the gospel and our product simultaneously.”
DRP prepares and produces an annual ministry report that it shares publicly. It reports on its metrics for each area of the annual ministry plan. Items from the most recent report include:
- Over 350,000 people were invited to meet Jesus through the Gospel of John provided by DRP (Domestic and International. International support included supporting evangelistic efforts in nations including Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Uganda, China, India, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, Nigeria, and many others)
- Over 15 ministries were supported financially and/or through volunteers (over 500 volunteer hours), which, in 2022, was over $140,000 in ministry investments by the company
- An employee-led Caring Team
- 20 local youth athletes were sponsored to attend a Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer camp, with four accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior!
For the past 20 years, Lynnie has lived out his faith radically through his business, leading customers to faith during calls, whether on the side of a highway, on pit row, or in the company’s plant. Lynnie is an example for his peers and sets a standard for them to emulate.
Congratulations, Lynnie, on being a C12 Hero.
Since its founding in 2008, Lilian and her husband, Silvano, have viewed their business, Unic Pro Inc., as their ministry and an asset that God has entrusted them to steward.
Lilian supports employees in various ways—providing above-average wages, assisting with medical bills, debt elimination, first-time home buying, and even sponsoring a wedding at work.
UnicPro includes a devotional in every paycheck and prays before every meeting. The company has also installed an optional prayer board for employees that has united believers and nonbelievers alike as they boldly ask for prayer and celebrate when prayers are answered. In the first quarter of partnering with Marketplace Chaplains, the gospel was shared with 11 employees.
UnicPro has seen its turnover drop to ⅓ of industry norms through radical care for people. Lilian would be the first to say that while she 10X’d the business over a few years, she learned it is not a cleaning business—it is a people business; it is God’s business, and how she lives is just as important as what the business achieves.
Lilian is a humble, transparent, and truthful leader. She has persevered through the painful scaling of the business, financial crises, being a mom of small kids, and learning to put God first always—and her marriage, despite being an ambitious entrepreneur. In 2018, she was selected by the Small Business Administration as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for Massachusetts and then New England—not exactly a bastion of celebrating bold Christians, but her business record spoke for itself. She routinely travels to speak and exhort others in C12 about stewarding their leadership and Business as a Ministry from conviction in her own story.
Lilian, we are proud to honor you as a C12 Hero.
As one of the Founders and Principals of Strategic Sanitation Services, Inc. (S3), Steven has done what few in his industry even attempt. Running a sanitation company means working with an unskilled labor force and an industry turnover of 200%. Steven has shown respect and value to each of his employees, creating a clear career path for service technicians and giving them a chance to see a bright future ahead. As a result, S3’s turnover is 9.4% YTD, a fraction of what is seen industry-wide.
Based in Mission Viejo, California, S3 offers many employee benefits that most companies in the waste management industry do not, including chaplaincy, life and leadership training, and fitness programs.
Steven has fully embraced the 5-Point Alignment Matrix for his strategic planning, and his team successfully executes their plans. Strategic Sanitation Services has grown 25% year-over-year since Steven joined C12, and he attributes much of that success to the ideas and advice he has received from his Forum. For the past six years, Steven has also instituted a robust Caring Matrix ministry for S3, serving both his employees and their families.
Steven is an outstanding leader who has shown us all what it means to implement values—a pillar of the C12 Hero.
Before joining C12, The Suter Company was a well-run organization that treated its employees, customers, and vendors with care. But once Tim caught the Business as a Ministry vision, the course of his company shifted forever.
Tim has since doubled the business to $160 million and implemented significant ministry strategies. The Suter Company offers its employees financial literacy assistance, a robust Dream Manager program to meet needs and fulfill dreams, a community service calendar that gives all employees the opportunity to do service work at least once each month, Alpha courses, chaplaincy, access to the RightNow Media @ Work video library, and fitness centers at both company production facilities.
The Suter Company is in the process of building a treatment room for on-site physical therapy and implementing an employee emergency fund. In 2017, Tim tithed 10% of the company’s stock to the National Christian Foundation. That donation now allows the Suter Family Giving Fund to generously give $1 million a year to Kingdom building causes. In 2020, Tim converted The Suter Company to 100% Employee-Owned and, since then, has tripled the share value, creating generational wealth wins for all employees.
In 2011, The Suter Company offered its leadership support to a fledgling Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event in the community that was about to disband due to a lack of financial support. Over the now 13-year history, the annual four-day event held in one of the Company’s warehouses has grown into the largest MobilePack in the state of Illinois and to date has hosted over 49,000 volunteers and packed more than 15 million meals to feed kids in ‘body and spirit’ around the world.
Tim’s servant heart shines through his leadership at work, in the community, and at home—and The Suter Company is a shining example of how we can demonstrate the love of Christ to others through our businesses.
Tim, you are a true C12 Hero.
Steve Wright is the CEO of Wright Brothers Construction Company based in Charleston, Tennessee. With over 650 employees, Steve has instilled the core values of integrity, urgency, selflessness, and hard work in his company. He genuinely cares for his employees and believes the company belongs to God, and he is simply the caretaker.
After joining C12 in 2010, Wright Brothers’ first organized ministry effort was to employ Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA). In the past 12 years, Wright Brothers has been blessed to witness over 150 people come to faith in Jesus through the efforts of CCA. CCA currently provides nine chaplains, covering the company’s efforts in the Southeast. Lead chaplain Jeff Spry has authored a one-year daily devotional and a daily email devotional. The value added to the employees and their families is without measure.
After attending the His Way at Work presentation during CURRENT’19, Kelly Roan, Steve’s administrative assistant and heartbeat of the executive end of the building, volunteered to take the lead in the design and formation of the Wright Brother’s Caring Team. The mission of the Caring Team is to “show the love of Christ through caring.” Funded primarily by employee donations along with a company match, the Caring Team has helped with over 275 caring activities, investing over $450,000 to support its employees.
With guidance from C12’s A Greater Purpose Workshop, Steve put together a ministry team within the company. Today, the Wright Brothers’ ministry efforts include providing new employees with an opportunity in their onboarding process to sign up for RightNow Media, an email prayer group, and a new bible in their preferred language. Wright Brothers also offers discipleship programs at work. The organization takes care of its people, helping local churches with reconstruction projects, sending its employees’ children to youth camps, and ensuring that its teams—which are often distributed all over the region for highway construction projects—experience regular care.
Steve has demonstrated that by caring for his employees and leading by example, he can positively impact the lives of his people and the community around them.
It brings us great joy to award Steve as a C12 Hero.
In 2006, Chris Yerger acquired Fort Defiance Industries (FDI) in Knoxville, Tennessee. Three years later, Chris joined C12, becoming the first member in East Tennessee! Since then, Chris has created a culture within Fort Defiance Industries that seeks to “shine in the marketplace and care for one another to the glory of God.” Prayer is central to everything Chris and his team do at FDI. Additionally, Chris has led multiple Every Man a Warrior discipleship groups for his employees, helping them walk with God, succeed in life, and multiply spiritually.
In 2016, Chris partnered with Corporate Chaplains of America—a decision that continues to bear fruit as FDI celebrates new believers coming to faith, rescued marriages, strengthened accountability, and encouragement being provided. Following the His Way at Work model, FDI moved to a “distributed” ministry model in April 2021, establishing a care team of employees who regularly lead caring activities for the team, its suppliers, and the community. Chris faithfully provided the means for this group which has completed 38 Points of Care in the past year.
During a downcycle in the business, Chris was faced with having to lay off employees for the first time ever. He demonstrated amazing leadership that truly cared for the people leaving, providing employment opportunities through other C12 companies and holding the remaining team together in the aftermath.
Chris leads with great faith and integrity, making decisions that demonstrate his trust in God. He lives “open-handed” with everything God has entrusted to him, and he gives generously to advance the gospel in the marketplace globally. Chris’ high integrity, humility, and obedience to the Great Commission are hallmarks of his character. He has created a unique culture where the Word of God is spoken among the team daily, decisions are processed through God’s Word, and Truth is quested after as a default management team discipline. Chris has navigated the incredibly painful crucibles of markets, federal customers, and the risks of his faith culture with humble confidence in God’s sovereignty and determination to lead with excellence despite unknowns.
We are honored to recognize Chris as a C12 Hero.
About The Author
C12 Editorial Team
C12 is the largest network of Christian CEOs, business owners, and executives and a leader in the marketplace ministry movement. Located in 162 major metro areas across the United States, Brazil, and Malaysia, C12 serves businesses with 10 to 10,000+ employees and annual revenues ranging from $2 million to $2 billion+. More than a business bible study or a Christian business networking group, a C12 Business Forum provides an architected environment for business, life, and leadership transformation. Led by C12 Chairs—leaders with more than a decade of business ownership or C-Suite experience—our CEO and Key Player Forums equip members with resources and tools to steward their Business as a Ministry (BaaM) and build great businesses for a greater purpose.
June 5, 2023