Chamber celebrates members’ achievements at annual dinner

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The Ohio University Inn and Conference Center hosted Athens Area Chamber of Commerce member businesses for the 2017 Annual Dinner last Thursday. 

A common thread throughout the acceptance speeches for various awards presented at the dinner included community support, dedication, partnerships and gratitude. Award recipients for the 2017 Chamber Annual Dinner included:

• Alysia Brooks, CSR/Agent at Mathews Insurance, was honored as Ambassador of the Year, which is presented each year to a Chamber Ambassador who goes above and beyond the call of duty to support the chamber and is selected by fellow Ambassadors. Donna Russell of The Ohio University Credit Union presented the award to Brooks.

• The 2017 Young Professional of the Year Award went to Jenny Stotts, executive director at Athens CASA/GAL Program. Chamber and CASA/GAL Board member Jennifer Kirksey-Fialko presented the award and described Stotts as innovative, passionate, creative, energetic, and intelligent.

• The Jon Sparhawk Small Business Award recognized White’s Mill for its marketing campaigns, commitment to community support and dedication to supporting local.Presenting the award to owners Rodney Dowler and Tyler Schloss was new Board Chair Candace Miller of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.

• The Holzaepfel Economic Impact Award was presented to the Athens County Economic Development Council and accepted by Executive Director Sara Marrs-Maxfield. Chamber Board member, Geoff Morgan of Quidel presented the award. The ACEDC assisted Quidel (then Diagnostic Hybrids) when they were quickly expanding and seeking a new facility.

• Phil Meyer of the Ohio University Credit Union was a co-recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award. Board Member Cory Corrigan, also of OUCU, presented the award and described Meyer as a goal-oriented “man with a plan” and outlined the major growth the Credit Union has experienced since his leadership began in 1999.

• Past Chamber President and individual supporter Wendy Jakmas received a standing ovation as she accepted the Distinguished Service Award for her leadership and commitment to the chamber and the Athens community. Dawn Worley-Sims, project manager for the chamber, presented the award to Jakmas.

President Mark Seckinger accepted the Outstanding Community Service Award on behalf of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. Board member and past Chair Kenneth Oehlers of Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio presented the award. OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital donated more than $75,000 last year to area nonprofits and raised $105,000 for the pantry program at the Southeast Ohio Food Bank.

• Eva Bloom, mortgage originator at the Ohio University Credit Union, received a Special Recognition Award for her service, dedication, and commitment to the chamber as an Ambassador. Chamber President Michelle Oestrike presented Bloom with this award.

Also recognized was outgoing Board member and individual supporter Debbie Arnold, who served two full Board terms totaling six years of service. Oehlers was recognized for serving as the Board Chair this past year. Additionally, members in attendance motioned and approved a three-year term for incoming Board member Kristi Kinnard of Career Connections. 

Premier sponsors for the annual dinner included Holzer, Hoon Inc., Larry Conrath Grueser Realty and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.