MIDDLEPORT — Recognition of local businesses making an extraordinary impact on community development highlighted the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Fall Recognition Dinner held at the Family Life Center in Middleport.
Luke Ortman, Chamber executive director, extended a welcome to the large crowd gathered at the Center to share in the accomplishments of businesses which were then recognized with the presentation of plaques by Shawn Arnott, Chamber president. Ortman spoke briefly about the added exposure for Meigs County through the Chamber’s recently launched interactive website, with a focus on innovative ideas to better serve the area.
Prior to presenting plaques, Arnott spoke on the Chamber’s work, its membership, the momentum being gained, and the need now to reflect on the past, then forget it and look to the future. In comments marked with humor, Arnott spoke of change in the Chamber operation, the need to face the reality of today’s economy, and the support needed to move forward. “We look forward to continuing positive momentum in 2013 with new ideas to help foster a better business environment,” he said, adding that none of that is possible without the Chamber director and team work from the Board of Directors.
Arnott described the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as one given to “an entrepreneur who has shown tremendous growth in the recent past and has established himself as a solid business person in the community. The plaque went to Matt Stewart and Fox’s Pizza Den. On July 29 Stewart opened his business started in 2008 in a brand new building on Main Street.
The “Economic Impact” award, given to a business in a refurbished or newly constructed facility leading to higher employment, went to Family Healthcare, Inc. which constructed a $2.4 million Meigs County facility in the Rock Springs area. On behalf of Family Healthcare, Inc. the award was accepted by Mike Russell. The new health care building which opened earlier this year after operating a clinic in Middleport for the past several years, provides affordable,, high quality health care without discrimination.
The “Best First Impression” award is given to the business that leaves the customer or client with the best impression in the areas of outer appearance, entrance to the business and reception by personnel. That award went to the Farmers Bank and Savings Co. for its new office building in Pomeroy. Accepting the award on behalf of the bank were Paul Kloes, chairman of the Board of Directors, Edna Weber, Branch manager, and Des Jeffers, assistant branch manager. Farmers Bank’s investment in the new 10,000 square foot facility was $2.7 million. This year marked the second that a bank has won the award. Last year’s recipient was Home National Bank of Racine.
The “David P. Baker Award” is given to an outstanding Board member or community individual who has supported both local business and the Chamber of Commerce. That award went to Joan Wolfe who began her banking career with Pomeroy National Bank in 1961 as a teller and continued through the years in the Court and Second Street corner building through the sale to Bank One and then Peoples Bank. She remained as office manager through 2009 and then stepped down into the role of business service specialist where she stayed until she retired on June 20, 2012.
Eric Gnezda, a singer/songwriter described as a motivational speaker and performer, entertained the group with a combination of humorous stories and songs, some of which involved those attending the event. As a word of wisdom he reminded his audience that “greatness is not defined by who you are or what you have, but by whether you are doing the right thing, looking out for one another, and reaching out to help each other in your everyday life.” A keen storyteller, Gnezda put forth stories which conveyed in a humorous fashion, lessons in life. He talked about people working together to help each other, despite different philosophies, to build better communities where everyone wins.
The dinner was prepared by Middleport Church of Christ members and served by Honor Society members from Eastern, Meigs and Southern.