Hall of Fame:
To earn enshrinement into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, it takes more than just the ability to make gobs of money.
Business leaders must make a positive mark by serving as role models and providing ethical, moral conduct to both youth and their business peers.
That can certainly be said about Gary Aubuchon, who was inducted as a Laureate Tuesday along with Steve Marino during a dinner ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs.
Aubuchon said this wasn’t an award he tried to qualify for or was in the running for, and was stunned to learn a few months ago that he had won, since his first true exposure to it was at the dinner Tuesday night.
“I had a staff member and a few board members surprise me by walking into one of my staff meetings a few months ago and presenting me with this award,” Aubuchon said. “They asked me if I would be a laureate and a Hall of Fame member and, of course, I accepted.”
Aubuchon said he earned the award in recognition of his entrepreneurial success, business ethics and integrity and giving back to the community.
“We want a role model for the students in every aspect. We love it when they give their story because it resonates differently for each student,” said Angela Fisher, president and CEO of Lee and Charlotte counties. “It serves as an inspiration for students.”
Fisher said Aubuchon’s case was different because of his service as a state representative from 2006-12.
“Both of their stories are inspirational. He is unique because not only has he worked in the community and given back, but has a political background, and you don’t see that much,” Fisher said. “It’s admirable he was so passionate about the community that he went to Tallahassee.”
The award was not in recognition for what he did directly to affect children, rather it was that he served as a role model for younger people by teaching financial literacy, entrepreneurship, exposing the youth to future business opportunities.
“It’s about the youth becoming aware of what it takes to achieve economic independence in their future,” Aubuchon said.
Aubuchon is the founding partner and president of the Aubuchon Team of Companies, a semi-custom and custom homebuilding group that employs more than 150 people.
Aubuchon has also served the community through his involvement in many nonprofit boards and support of charitable organizations and their causes, including Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and the American Red Cross, to name a few.
Marino moved to Southwest Florida in 1980 to start an in-home air-conditioning and appliance service business.
Starting his operation from a back bedroom in his San Carlos Park home, Home-Tech continued to expand its customer base throughout Southwest Florida.
In 1996, Home-Tech became an employee-owned company, which allowed its employees to share in the company ownership. Currently, Home-Tech is owned by 65 shareholders.
Since 1999, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida has annually honored entrepreneurs and community leaders for their contributions to the region’s economic development and their ethics and service as role models among youth.