SPARK Publications won a 2009 Stevie Award for Best Business Turnaround of the Year in this year’s competition.

Founded in 1998, SPARK Publications is a graphic design firm, based in Matthews.  Fabi Preslar, a Mint Hill resident, founded SPARK Publications 11 years ago as a home-based business and built it into a thriving marketing-design business.

The 2009 Stevie Awards for Women in Business is an international competition recognizing the accomplishments of outstanding women executives and business owners, and the organizations they run.  The awards competition is produced by the creators of the prestigious American Business AwardsSM.

SPARK Publications won this year’s Stevie Award over other finalists from New Jersey and South Africa.  SPARK founder and president Fabi Preslar won the 2009 Stevie Award for leading a remarkable turnaround at her 11-year-old graphic design and publications company.

“At SPARK, we repositioned our company and implemented a number of changes that streamlined our operations and production processes, and made us more efficient,” says Preslar.  “We also created new strategic partnerships with selected specialty vendors to become an industry leader and provide more value-added services to our clients.”

These improvements resulted in the production of higher quality work, faster and on budget, and led to a 118% increase in revenue and more than a 200% increase in profit over the previous year.  SPARK has also varied its cash stream by focusing on a niche market that’s more resistant to economic decline – self-published books.  Authors use these publications for marketing and building credibility in their areas of expertise.

In addition to winning the Best Business Turnaround award, Preslar was named a 2009 Stevie Finalist for Best Entrepreneur in the category of Service Businesses.  The prestigious Stevie Awards recognize outstanding performance in the workplace worldwide, and the competition honors companies of all types and sizes, as well as the talented people who run them.

“International recognition for having made tough decisions to re-ignite SPARK Publications is a wonderful exclamation point on our repositioning story,” notes Preslar. “It is an honor, as well as a wonderful surprise to not only have been named a finalist among so many great companies, but to also win this award.”

More than 1,100 entries from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration in this year’s competition.  Stevie Awards were handed out in categories including Best Entrepreneur, Best Executive, Lifetime Achievement and Women Helping Women, at the gala event at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel on November 13.