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Florida group names Gatto top entrepreneur

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Florida group names Gatto top entrepreneur

Pam Gatto, president of Gatto's Tires & Auto Service in Brevard County, Fla., will receive the Founders Forum's Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Sept. 28, 2010.

The Founders Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to the needs of entrepreneurs in East Central Florida. Its primary focus is "to provide a forum where new businesses can network with funding sources, and potential investors can learn of new businesses."

Gatto gained national attention in 1997 when she took over as president of the Tire Association of North America, now the Tire Industry Association (TIA). She was the first woman to hold that position.

Her other honors include being inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2001, and winning "Tire Review" magazine's Top Shop Award in 2007.

"My father started this business in 1972 with the simple premise that we don't sell tires and service, we sell peace of mind and make vehicles safe for our customers," she says.

The seven-store chain is headquartered in Melbourne, Fla.

"We live and work in communities we serve, and our customers see familiar faces when they come into our stores," says Gatto. "We have an experienced service team, and we believe in educating our customers so they can make informed decisions about their vehicles."

Gatto, 61, is featured in the September issue of "Spacecoast Business" magazine for being named "Entrepreneur of the Year." She is front and center on the cover holding a wrench -- with multiple "Pams" in the background working in one of her service bays.

The Founders Forum ceremony honoring Gatto will be held Sept. 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront Resort. For more information, visit www.foundersforum.com.

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