Chamber selects award recipients

MANISTEE — It was a night of recognition, congratulations, and appreciation at the Little River Casino Resort.

The Annual Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce Business Awards were held Thursday evening, and several local businessmen and women were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to Manistee County.

“The chamber’s mission is to advance and support the interest of business in Manistee County to create a more prosperous community,” said Tina Kelley, former chamber board chair. “In 2012, the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce continues its vital role as the voice for business in Manistee County and vigorously advocates for business.”

Lance Miller accepts the Small Business of the Year award on behalf of Miller’s Produce.

The awards dinner opened with the announcement of three first-term directors to serve a three-year term starting Jan. 1: James Barker, Kevin Hughes, and Dennis P. McCarthy. Kelley also announced that Gini Pelton will serve a second term as director, and Barry Seymour Jr. will be the new board chair. Sean Adams will serve as vice chair, Patty Preuss will serve as treasurer, and Marilyn Barker as secretary.

“The strength of any organization is in its members, said Seymour. “This board is strong and we are unified.”

The presentation then shifted to the “Titan of Industry” award, given to Dennis McCarthy of Blarney Castle Oil Company. McCarthy was unable to personally accept the award, but his grandson Brian McCarthy graciously accepted the award and thanked the entire business community on behalf of his grandfather.

“He would have loved to have been here tonight,” McCarthy said. “I’m proud to call him not only a fantastic mentor or tremendous boss, but an even better grandfather.”

Next, chamber employees presented various awards for contributions to the Manistee County business environment.

Kevin Hughes gives the Action Award for Community Service to Brandon Seng.

Filer Credit Union won the Business of the Year, given to the business with over 30 employees that has helped improve the quality of life in Manistee County.

“Thank you, we are honored,” said Preuss. “On behalf of my board, my employees, and myself, thank you very much.”

Miller’s Produce and Sports Ink were co-recipients of the Small Business of the Year award, given to businesses with 29 or fewer employees.

“Great things are happening for business in Manistee, and we are thankful to be part of it,” said Lance Miller. “We have strived to be the best small business we could be, and will continue to do so.”

Brandon Jensen, of RIGHTside Design, was declared the Business Person of the Year for his contributions to the chamber, the business of community, and the quality of life in Manistee County in the past 12 months.

“This is such an honor, and very humbling,” he said.

Brandon Seng of the Manistee Community Kitchen was awarded the Action Award for Community Service, while Robert McEntaffer and and Mary Kaye Wilkosz were both given the Chairman’s Vision Award for Chamber Service.

Throughout the presentation, chamber members encouraged increased participation and expressed enthusiasm about the current business climate in Manistee.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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