PROVO -- Springville Mayor Hal Wing's innovative extension ladders earned him the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum's 1998 Entrepreneur of the Year award Thursday.

Wing turned a modest venture in his garage into Wing Enterprises, a national multimillion-dollar manufacturing and marketing firm.While working as an insurance agent in Germany, he became acquainted with the inventor of a telescoping combination step and extension ladder. Wing later patented seven improvements to the ladder and invented three special-purpose ladders and scaffold systems as well as several accessories.

Wing, who took office in January, was among four individuals and one business the forum honored Thursday at the Provo Marriott Hotel. The nonprofit organization established in 1989 promotes entrepreneurial growth and creative venture in Utah Valley.

-- Allied Resource Corporation was named as Utah Valley's best-kept secret.

Owners Kurt Gilbert and Ron Riddell started the value-recovery services company four years ago. The firm turns donated items such as computers and office furniture into cash for nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, Allied has provided nearly $1 million in cash donations to charity. It current contracts with 35 nonprofit entities nationwide.

-- The entrepreneurial forum gave Tom Dickson an award for having the most innovative product. Dickson, owner of K-TEC, invented what's known as the Smoother, a commercial blender used in smoothie and coffee shops around the country. Starbucks, Subway, Jamba Juice and Zuka Juice are among the company's customers.

-- Rick Farr, assistant director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management was singled out for having made the greatest contribution to entrepreneurs.

Farr was instrumental in establishing six new high tech companies that now have a combined sales volume of more than $150 million. His consulting practice offers sales, marketing, strategic planning and management advice to high tech firms.

-- Retired accountant Ron King was honored for having made the greatest contribution to the community. King, who also received the Arthur Watkins Award for outstanding community service this year, is active in civic affairs. He served as chairman of the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce and helped establish the chamber's Environmental Support Council. He currently serves on the Commission for Economic Development in Orem, where he has spent countless hours mentoring entrepreneurs.

The honor will be known as the Ronald K. King Greatest Contribution to the Community Award hereafter.