The Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce recognized business and community leaders with awards during its annual meeting and banquet Tuesday night, which also served as a night of transition for the chamber and its new leadership for 2013.
Outgoing Chamber Chairwoman Marta Land passed the gavel to 2013 Chairman Tom Keller after an evening of awards.
While Land said she had no speech prepared, she eloquently thanked many for their efforts while she was at the chamber’s helm.
“I was honored and privileged to serve the chamber this year,” Land said. “I don’t feel like I did anything special — all the people who came before me are the ones who did.”
Land said she was lucky to earn a 12-month slot and do her part.
“Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be who I am,” she said, adding that without the chamber and its support to business, she would have likely quit her own business, House of Flowers, many years ago.
Land presented awards to retiring board members as well as division chairs, and then 21 graduates of Leadership Shawnee were honored before the following annual awards were presented.
• The Business Person of the Year award was announced by Martha Totten, last year’s honoree. She presented the awarded to John Goodson, president of Rainmaker Sales, a family business that was named No. 52 in 2007 as one of the nation’s fastest growing businesses, Totten said. The company employs 16 people, with Goodson's wife, Linda, working in marketing.
• The Pierre F. Taron Jr. Leadership award, presented by last year’s recipient, Michael Affentranger, was awarded to Sarah Weeks.
• The Fleeta Greenwood “Best Kept Secret” Award was presented to Carol Currie and Sherry Claybrook, two members of SPAR — Saving Pets at Risk.
• The Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Butch Victor.
• The Neill and Mary Wiley Outstanding Chamber Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Gretchen Trimble.
• The Agri-Business Person of the Year Award was presented by Tom Mikles, who with his wife Robin were last year’s recipients of the award. Honored with the award were Greg and Della Hillerman. Mikles sad the couple started a business with a few nurse cows that has turned into an operation of 150 head of cattle over the past 30 years, plus 600 head of feeder cattle each year.
• Last year’s honoree, Tim Barrick, presented the Gordon Richards Sr. Service Award to Richard Finley.
As the evening of recognitions concluded, Land officially passed the chamber gavel to Keller, who said so many involved in the chamber are willing to give of themselves for the betterment of Shawnee.
Page 2 of 2 - “All of us are very passionate about what we believe,” he said, adding while everyone has ideas on the best direction for Shawnee, they are all connected to each other.
As the chambers begins to address issues in several key areas during 2013, including education and community image, Keller said they all have to give — whether they have to give up some things or give time and energy to others — as they work through this year.
Keller presented Land with an appreciation plate for her service.
Kris Steele served as master of ceremonies during the evening, with the Shawnee Police Department Honor Guard presenting the flag while city of Shawnee employee Cindy Gibson sang the National Anthem.
For additional photographs from the banquet, watch future editions and also look for a photo gallery online.