Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Chamber celebrates at 94th Annual Dinner

Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2018

The 94th annual dinner of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce was held Monday evening, January 15 at the Huntington PAL Club. More than 185 Chamber members and their guests were in attendance.

Steve Petry, 2018 chairman of the board, W.A. Zimmer Company, spoke to the group about some of the accomplishments the Chamber was involved with over the past several years. He mentioned the success of any organization comes down to the people.

Petry said, “The integrity and character of those we work with have a dramatic impact on the direction an organization goes.” Petry also thanked Steve Kimmel, executive director and Angie Garcia, office administrator for their work over the past year.

Ryan Lemon, the 2017 chairman of the board, Novae Corporation, was unable to attend the event because of traveling responsibilities associated with his job. Petry spoke about Lemon’s accomplishments and responsibilities during his tenure as chairman.

Petry went on to say that the Chamber has been instrumental in helping organize and facilitate the dialogue between the School Corporation, Learning Center and local industry to develop a program for much-needed skills used in industry today. He also spoke about the collaboration happening in the area to see that those skills are being filled. Individuals interested in learning new skills and having their education paid for by grants from WorkOne and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs have been encouraged to utilize the program.

Petry mentioned the accomplishment, and help the Chamber provided in securing a Vietnam War Monument honoring those who served and those who lost their lives during the Vietnam War. Petry said, “With more than 800 people attending the event, 250 were from out of town. Those individuals stayed in local motels, ate at our local restaurants, purchased gasoline and shopped at our retail outlets.”

Petry talked about Career Day at the high school expanding to include seniors in this year’s event, and the “Walk into My Future,” where more than 800 kindergarten and first-grade students visited the campus of Huntington University. He also talked about the Chamber being responsible for the organization of the Farmers’ Market beginning in 2013. Last year, for the first time in its five year history, the Farmers’ Market had a paid market master. The market continues to grow and has become an integral part of summer in downtown Huntington.

Petry said, “It has been a privilege serving on the board of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce. He said the Chamber is committed to responsibly investing into initiatives and activities that align with our mission, but at the end of the day, it is about changing lives. We want to be relevant to the community that we serve. The relationships that we develop with our membership give us insight and direction for fulfilling our purpose.”

Further addressing those in attendance, Petry said, “During 2018, we need to reevaluate how our board is structured, and how our committees are truly impacting our membership and the business community. He said the Chamber does well because of you. Meaning, we need to utilize the skills and experience of those we serve. We want to create more partnerships and more opportunities for participation from our members. We want your input, your insights and what you see in your sphere of influence.”

Petry presented Davin Smith, an attorney with Bowers Brewer Garrett & Wiley, with the Ambassador of the Year award. The Ambassador of the Year is always available to attend ribbon cuttings, open houses, ground breakings, Business of the Month celebrations, After Hours and more. Smith works hard to attend as many Chamber events as possible and volunteers for other activities.

The 2018 Volunteer of the Year recipient was Paula Kimmel. Kimmel was credited with attending After Hours, volunteering her time with the Heritage Days parade, Balloon Festival, Veterans Day parade and celebrations, and attends most all activities the Chamber is involved in. Kimmel wrote all the stories the Chamber published for the 2016 Bicentennial celebration. She also spends a great deal of time researching the history of our community to establish the theme for Heritage Days and to educate the residents of Huntington County of our heritage. She has served on the steering committee of Heritage Days where she has written every story since 2010.

Petry presented the Chamber’s Community Excellence Award to Bippus State Bank, for the involvement of the business and its employees in the community. Bippus State Bank offers their assistance with the Parkview Huntington Family YMCA, Parkview Boys and Girls Club, Parkview Huntington Hospital, The Huntington County Community Learning Center, Huntington University and more. They have been Pacesetters for the United Way of Huntington County for many years. Along with their monetary support, BSB also encourages its employees to volunteer on various boards and committees around the community they serve.

Outgoing chamber board member Art Daronatsy, who had served on the board since 2011, was recognized for his service to the Chamber. Chris Camp, Operations Manager Remanufacturing, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, was voted to serve on the board beginning in 2018.

The dinner and Chamber business were followed by entertainment by the Alicia Pyle Quartet. The quartet is a jazz band that plays at large fundraising events, festivals and arts and cultural events in the area. Pyle coordinates the group and also sings the featured songs.