Shawnee Forward names new board members, presents awards

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee Forward, at 231 N. Bell Ave. in Shawnee.

Shawnee Forward recently held its annual meeting, where a new slate of officers was named and several honors were awarded.

Shawnee Forward board members for the 2021-2022 term are:

  • Paul Bass, First United Bank
  • Casey Bell, BancFirst
  • Larry Briggs, Retired
  • Dr. Jim Collard, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Melissa Dennis, Pottawatomie County
  • Cami Engles, Theopolis Social Club
  • Joe Ford, Shawnee Milling
  • Katie Landes, Action Physical Therapy
  • Bryan Lucas, Georg Fischer Central Plastics
  • Jeff Madison, Chick-fil-A
  • Angi Mohr, SSM St. Anthony Hospital
  • Josh L. Trimble, The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Jarrod VanZant, Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative
  • Joe Vorndran, Stuart & Clover

“My challenge to the future board members and to our membership is to lean into this 'Best Of' statements,” Shawnee Forward CEO Rachael Melot told the new board. “Lean in to being a good neighbor. Lean in to mentoring our younger leaders if you have the experience. Lean into your predecessors if you are new. May we be known as the community that fosters, respects, and grows leaders in every field.”

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Goals highlighted for the organization include educating and developing a sustainable workforce, investing in the consistent cultivation of relationships and projecting a positive image and brand identity.

Several awards were presented, as well.

They were:

• Pierre Taron, Jr. Leadership Award — Cama Watts, in recognition of exhibited leadership in the business community and dedication to making Shawnee a great place to work and live. The winner was chosen from Leadership Shawnee graduates.

From left are Pierre Taron Jr. Leadership Award winner Cama Watts and Joe Ford.

• Gordon Richards, Sr. Community Service Award — Michelle Briggs, in recognition of the continued contribution of service to greater Shawnee. Dedication, advocacy, and selfless service that has made a lasting impact on the Shawnee business community.

From left are Gordon Richards Sr. Community Service Award winner Michelle Briggs and Joe Ford.

• Neil and Mary Wiley Volunteer of the Year — Dawn Ramsey, in recognition of the commitment made to pursue excellence and distinction for greater Shawnee.

From left are Dawn Ramsey, winner of the Neil and Mary Wiley Volunteer of the Year award, and Joe Ford.

• Business Person of the Year — Tina Hanna. This award recognizes a business leader who has shown a mixture of perseverance, community spirit and innovation.

From left are Tina Hanna, winner of the Business Person of the Year award, and Shawnee Economic Development Director Tim Burg.

• Manufacturer of the Year — United Dynamics (Harmik Dersahakan). This award recognizes an outstanding manufacturer and is based upon a mixture of capital investment, community involvement and operations. This award was voted on by previous winners of the award.

From left are Manufacturer of the Year Harmik Dersahaken, with united Dynamics, and Shawnee Economic Development Director Tim Burg.

• Ambassador of the Year — Amanda Estal. This award is given to an outstanding member of the Shawnee Forward Ambassador Program who has gone above and beyond in welcoming new members, attending events and reaching out to prospective members.

From left art Fhionna Shaughnessy, Ambassador of the Year Amanda Estal and Angi Mohr.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at