$225,000 Awarded to Finalists of 2023-24 Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge

23-24 Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge recipients were announced at the WT Enterprise Center on May 9. Award winners include, from left,  Cody and Brittanie Eslick, managing members of Slicks Fabworks, Nick and Elena Ortiz, owners of Amarillo Legacy Monument Co. and Adolfo Garcia, CEO, Chris Godinez, COO, and Oscar Ostos, CFO of Hi-Plains Civil Engineers.


Contact: Brian Enevoldsen, info@wtenterprisecenter.com, 806-651-8500
Copy by Adam Jiwa, info@wtenterprisecenter.com, 806-651-8500

AMARILLO, Texas — Three businesses in Potter and Randall counties each were awarded $75,000 during the 27th annual Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge award ceremony May 9.

The Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge is a business plan competition managed by the WT Enterprise Center, a department of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, and funded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.

Awardees honored May 9 at the WT Enterprise Center, 2300 N. Western St. in Amarillo, were Amarillo Legacy MonumentHi-Plains Civil Engineers and Slicks Fabworks.

“These companies have poured their hearts and souls into this competition,” said Michelle Howington, program manager for the WT Enterprise Center. “They were already successful, and I’m eager to see what they will accomplish with the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge funds.”

Since the WT Enterprise Center started managing the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge program in 2009, awardees have reported more than $1.48 billion in revenue, more than $401 million in payroll and more than $76 million in capital investments.

“Through the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge, we’re not just awarding funds; we’re investing in the future of our community,” said Brian Enevoldsen, managing director of the WT Enterprise Center. “This competition serves as an incentive for economic growth in the area and to create opportunities that will continue to benefit citizens of Potter and Randall counties.”

Nick Ortiz, owner of Amarillo Legacy Monument, sells custom grave monuments and markers to families to memorialize their loved ones. He started his business in 2018, following the loss of his 7-year-old son. After that experience, Ortiz knew he could positively impact others in their time of grief. ALM is the only local monument company that does all work in-house, as well as offer highly desirable laser engraving services. The award will be used for equipment and a larger production facility.

Hi-Plains Civil Engineers is led by owners Adolfo Garcia, Christopher Godinez and Oscar Ostos. Originally established in 1985 under the name Brandt Engineers, the firm was established to address the gap created by a wave of retiring engineers in the mid-1980s. HPCE is one of the few engineering firms headquartered in Amarillo that provides engineering services for municipal clients. HPCE currently serves more than 25 cities, five counties and several school districts. HPCE has completed more than 140 grant-funded projects, more than any other firm in the Texas Panhandle. With the awarded funding, HPCE plans to purchase equipment and supplement payroll for additional staff.

Cody and Brittanie Eslick, managing members of Slicks Fabworks, design and build a variety of wood-burning outdoor cooking stoves and grills. Slicks Fabworks offers personalized and customizable options, including various heights and sizes, and are designed to work with wood or charcoal. Their funding will be used to purchase a laser-cutting machine to increase production efficiency and cleanup processes through enhanced fiber laser technology.

Judges for the competition—representing businesses, corporations, educational and financial institutions within Potter and Randall counties—were Sonja Clark, Amarillo site leader for Bell Flight; former Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge recipient Rachael Bentley of Optimum Rope Access Solutions; Dr. Jeffry Babb, WT’s Stan Sigman Professor of Business; Daniel West, chief financial officer of Amarillo Independent School District; and Will Miller, president of commercial and corporate banking at FirstBank Southwest.

America’s SBDC at WT, also a department of the Engler College of Business, assists all Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge applicants from start to finish. The department offers investor fact sheets, financial projections, demographic and industry research, and assistance with business plan writing to program participants of the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge at no cost.

“Crafting a solid business plan isn’t just about winning the competition; it’s more about laying the groundwork for success,” said Gina Woodward, regional director of America’s SBDC at WTAMU. “The challenging process of writing business plans not only clarifies goals and strategies but also reveals the dedication and vision of the entrepreneurs.”

Recipients receive awarded amounts in the form of a five-year forgivable loan. This funding assists these companies to grow and to add an expected $15.5 million to the Potter and Randall County economies for the next three years. When these businesses increase revenues, the extra sales tax they pay goes back into the local community. This money can help pay for schools, hospitals, and public works to keep neighborhoods efficient.

The EnterPrize Challenge awards funding to primary businesses in Potter or Randall counties hoping to increase revenues; the majority of their products or services must be exported outside of the five-county Amarillo metropolitan statistical area—Armstrong, Carson, Potter, Randall and Oldham counties.

“Amarillo EDC is proud to support the EnterPrize Challenge and its profound impact on our community,” CEO Kevin Carter said. “Small businesses are the foundation for any community especially in Amarillo. This year’s recipients are three well-deserving companies with unique stories, and we are excited to see what the future holds for each of them.”

The EnterPrize Challenge “consistently fosters a dynamic and robust environment that enables new and small businesses to thrive, enhancing business prospects across Randall and Potter counties,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean of the Engler College of Business.

“Our awardees’ hard work and achievements have led to their success and have continued to our community’s prosperity,” Abdullat said. “I commend their impressive accomplishments and look forward to their continued success.”

Partnering with and retaining community businesses to improve the quality of life in the Panhandle and beyond is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised nearly $160 million.


About WT Enterprise Center

The WTEC is a department of WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and works side-by-side with America’s SBDC at WTAMU in supporting economic development throughout the Texas Panhandle. WTEC offers Texas Panhandle entrepreneurs with physical space, intentional community, strategic partnerships, tailored trainings, critical resources and certified coaching to ensure entrepreneurs are well supported in the pursuit of starting or scaling their companies. By cultivating a dynamic ecosystem where entrepreneurs are championed, equipped, and empowered to drive sustainable economic development and innovation, the WTEC can strive to provide opportunity and prosperity for all. WTEC also aims to provide opportunities for College of Business students to intern in local businesses showing them the hard work and dedication entrepreneurs must have to be successful. To learn more about the WT Enterprise Center, visit wtenterprisecenter.com or contact info@wtenterprisecenter.com or 806-651-8500.


About American’s SBDC at WTAMU

America’s Small Business Development Center at WTAMU provides business consulting, training, and research in all areas of small business operations for both start-ups and existing businesses. Established in 1987, they have been providing no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. A department of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University, the SBDC works in partnership with its sister department, the WT Enterprise Center, to serve small business owners across the Texas Panhandle. Funded by the State of Texas and the Small Business Administration, they contribute to the state’s rapid growth through the creation of new jobs and workforce training. For information, visit wtsbdc.com, or contact info@wtsbdc.com or 806-651-5151.


About the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business

The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a bachelor of business administration and an MBA. The College also offers graduate specialized programs in accounting, finance, computer information systems and business analytics. The College, which boasts the largest number of enrolled students among all six of WT’s colleges, is routinely named as one of the best business schools in the nation. Its online MBA program recently was ranked No. 20 by the prestigious Princeton Review. Several of its offerings were awarded Best Program status for an 11th consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent rankings of online programs.


About Amarillo Economic Development Corp.

The Amarillo community depends on the success and influence of its local businesses, along with the attraction of new, primary businesses. The Amarillo Economic Development Corp. helps support and retain these current local businesses, while also attracting new businesses, by providing guidance and financial assistance. To learn more about the AEDC, visit amarilloedc.com, or contact info@amarilloedc.com or 806-379-6411.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offer 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.


Photo: 2023-24 Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge recipients were announced May 9 at the WT Enterprise Center. Award winners include, from left,  Cody and Brittanie Eslick, managing members of Slicks Fabworks, Nick and Elena Ortiz, owners of Amarillo Legacy Monument Co. and Adolfo Garcia, CEO, Chris Godinez, COO, and Oscar Ostos, CFO of Hi-Plains Civil Engineers.



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