George Pfenenger named Entrepreneur-of-the-Year
Entrepreneur of the Year
Businesses: Socket, real estate
Details: Pfenenger grew up understanding that starting an innovative business from scratch requires an enormous commitment of time.
John Pfenenger, his father, was a firefighter in Jefferson City who ran several businesses on the side, including a sporting goods company and an ice company, and the Pfenenger children spent their summers pitching in.
"It was a real drag at the time, but it was good basic training," Pfenenger, the founder and president of Socket, said. "My father was always an entrepreneur. He told me, ‘You build your wealth after working 40 hours.'"
Pfenenger said that advice and the work ethic instilled by his father was critical when he was routinely working 80 to 90 hours a week in 1994 leading the development of an Internet service provider that later branched into telecommunications.
Socket has been named one of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in the United States for the past three years and now has about 90 employees. In 2007, the company moved its headquarters to a new building on Clark Lane and opened a local office in the St. Louis area while it continues to expand across the state. Socket has more than 20,000 customers in more than 500 Missouri cities and has about 4,500 business telephone lines in service across the state.
Pfenenger, like is father, wasn't satisfied with working one job. He and his wife, Joni, run several real estate companies and he is involved with his father's latest venture, a fish hook distribution company in Windsor.
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