XBIZ Announces 2017 Pioneer Award Honorees

Dec 19, 2016 4:47 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — XBIZ is pleased to announce the 2017 Pioneer Award recipients to be honored at the 2017 XBIZ Awards.

The 2017 Pioneer Award recipients are Ron Cadwell of CCBill, Kelly Holland of Penthouse, Shay and Dan Martin of Vibratex and Larry Garland of Eldorado.

One of XBIZ’s most prestigious honors, the Pioneer Award recognizes company figures who have had a profound impact on the industry through vision, innovation and courage; and continue to provide a guiding light for those who came after them.

The 2017 Pioneer Award recipients will be honored on Jan. 12 during an on-screen segment at the adult industry’s biggest night, the 2017 XBIZ Awards show, presented by premier live cam network MyFreeCams.

The annual red carpet XBIZ Awards ceremony will honor outstanding achievements across every segment of the industry during the past year. Adult film icon Ron Jeremy will host the 15th annual gala, set to fill the largest ballroom in all of Los Angeles — at the grand Westin Bonaventure Hotel.

The XBIZ Awards coincides with the annual industry events series XBIZ 2017, presented by Camgasm. Once more, XBIZ will take over the entire property of the Andaz Hotel on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Jan. 9-13.

The 2017 Pioneer Award recipients are:

Ron Cadwell, CCBill — Web & Technology

One of the most influential figures of online adult, Ron Cadwell is founder and chief executive officer of CWIE Holding Company, Inc., the parent company for multiple leading-edge information technology services providers, including CCBill and Cavecreek Webhosting. In this role, he has become the standard-bearer for a family business that has set benchmarks for longevity and excellence.

Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and with more than 400 employees worldwide, CWIE is one of the longest running and most respected privately held IT service and application providers in the world — and also boasts a large number of long-term employees, further underscoring the company’s “family” focus.

Additionally, Cadwell serves as the managing director of multiple Phoenix-based private equity groups placing strategic investments across the technology, data center, commercial real estate, and development industries.

Cadwell says the past 20 years have truly been the fulfillment of an entrepreneurial dream.

“The internet technologies of the mid-90s and the rapid expansion of this industry, presented new business opportunities for me and my family to launch and nurture our web hosting and online payment services businesses,” Cadwell told XBIZ. “But those influencers have also allowed me to do what I love — to identify gaps, and provide usable solutions to the business and consumer markets we serve.”

Cadwell says that being able to help drive innovation and support the expansion, usability, monetization and the connectivity needs of his companies’ clients, while working with the talented people in the industry, has been immensely rewarding. 

“Over these decades, this industry has been so great to me, to Cavecreek, to CCBill and to all the members of our companies,” Cadwell concludes. “I am so humbled to have been offered so much from our industry — and now I am also honored and grateful to my friends at XBIZ and their readers to be receiving this prestigious and meaningful award.”

Kelly Holland, Penthouse — Movies & Production

Kelly Holland, one of adult entertainment’s most ardent advocates and a true industry visionary, made big headlines this year after acquiring Penthouse, the iconic adult brand and licensing company that was established in 1965 by founder Bob Guccione.

Holland, whose early career ranged from documenting war zones in Central America to directing adult movies in 1994, joined Penthouse in 2006.

Ten years later, in February of this year, Holland acquired the assets of the world-famous enterprise from FriendFinder Networks, reconstituting the company as Penthouse Global Media Inc. with a goal of improved digital experiences for users and growing new licensing agreements.

Prior to the purchase, Holland, as president of Penthouse’s entertainment unit, created the Penthouse Broadcast division. With 10 channels in more than 100 countries Penthouse Television became a global leader in adult broadcasting under her tenure.

Holland, prior to the purchase, took over leadership of additional divisions — Penthouse publishing, licensing and its clubs unit. Under Holland’s direction the Penthouse clubs division expanded to 17 clubs worldwide. 

As a paragon of adult, Holland has played hostess to numerous industry events, inspiring the community with her moving speeches and shining example.

For the past two years, she has regaled performers as the master of ceremonies for XBIZ's RISE Adult Talent Appreciation Gala and her keynote at the XBIZ 2016 events series captivated legions in a filled-to-capacity ballroom atop the Andaz hotel in West Hollywood, Calif.

Holland’s storied career has been showcased in scores of mainstream publications, including a recent profile in Esquire. She also believes in giving back, holding several fundraisers throughout the year for the Animal Rescue Alliance she founded, like her annual Vice is Nice special event.

"I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to work in a business that I love and that is its own reward, but I am honored and humbled that XBIZ has recognized me,” she said. “All the great people at XBIZ are incredible professionals, so it is high praise indeed when it comes from them. Thanks, XBIZ!"

Shay & Dan Martin, Vibratex — Pleasure Products

Vibratex is a second-generation, family-owned, pleasure products company established more than 30 years ago. Vibratex rose to fame after introducing the Rabbit Habit, which was featured on a memorable episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City.” In the Rabbit’s wake followed a number of other notable Vibratex pleasure pieces, all of which originated in Japan.

In 2000, Vibratex became the sole importer to North America of the Magic Wand Original (formerly, the Hitachi Magic Wand). In 2015 that line grew to include the original, corded product, and the cordless Magic Wand Rechargeable.

To this day Vibratex continues to be a family-owned company, based in Napa, Calif., with the original founder’s daughter and her husband, Shay and Dan Martin, having taken over the reins. With their science, research and engineering backgrounds, they remain committed to the company’s goals of excellence in product quality and consumer satisfaction.

“Dan and I met in college where I was studying Biochemisty and he was studying Hydrogeology and Groundwater engineering,” Shay Martin said. “So I think our mutual love of science and maybe some nerdiness attracted us to each other. He left his career to work at Vibratex in 1996. What an eye-opener it was for him! But his down-to-earthness, his analytical mind and his sense of genuine appreciation for people who are straight shooters like himself endeared him to many in our industry. He is the first to reach out and help anyone in this business and really has helped some major companies when they were in their infancy. He is truly a remarkable beautiful man, business partner and husband.

"Dan and I are delighted and humbled to receive the Pioneer award,” Martin said. “With me being pretty much born and raised in this industry and Dan marrying into it, we've seen such wonderful change: empowerment to women, openness about sexuality, acceptance of others and amazing products brought about by innovation and thinking outside the box. But one thing that has not changed is the fact that we all support each other in this business and are like a big family. For that we are continually grateful. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!"

Larry Garland, Eldorado Trading Company — Retail

Larry Garland founded Eldorado in 1974 and has led the company to become one of the top international distributors of sexual wellness products and intimate apparel, offering more than 14,000 best-selling SKUs throughout the world. Eldorado has received numerous industry awards, including the distinguished Distributor of the Year title at the 2016 XBIZ Awards.  

An entrepreneur with more than 40 years in the pleasure products business, Garland is an invaluable asset to Eldorado and the industry as a whole. A self-described “people person,” Garland has done it all in his career, exhibiting leadership, business sense and vision — but also picking, packing and shipping orders, cleaning the bathroom and sweeping the warehouse.

As a dynamic player in the industry, Garland stays abreast of the current trends and forces that drive the market. In addition to heading up Eldorado since 1974, Garland is a past president and current board member of the Free Speech Coalition, as well as an active and vocal advocate for his local community.

For the past several years, Eldorado has held fundraisers and food drives for the Community Food Share program, helping put Thanksgiving dinner on the table for thousands of Colorado families in need.

“Little did I know when we were driving stagecoaches at the onset of Eldorado that I would receive such an honor from XBIZ one day,” Garland said. “Thank you! It is indeed a proud point in time for me and I am grateful for receiving this prestigious industry award. I must give credit where it is due … the amazing team that is Eldorado made this possible and special thanks to my wife Wanda for being by my side all these years. Couldn't have done this without her.” 

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