For over 18 years our Chamber has presented several prestigious awards during our Annual Installation & Awards event, such as the Tammany Award and the Community Leadership Award, Board Member of the Year, Member of the Year and Committee of the Year Award. This year, the luncheon, held at Tchefuncta Country Club, and sponsored by Chevron, Capital One and Painting with a Twist, saw nearly 230 guests enjoying the festive ceremonies.
The Tammany Award went to a local company that has seen tremendous growth and prosperity in the relatively short time they’ve been in business. Owners Jay and Jennifer Connaughton have transformed a small-town marketing company, Innovative Advertising, into a nationally-renowned firm. In the past ten years, the company has more than doubled in size with 28 employees, and has seen a 300% profit growth. They’ve been getting a lot of attention lately – national attention. They are proud to have been a part of President-elect Donald Trump’s historic victory, having served a key role in the advertising team, producing 30 ads for the campaign, eight of which made it to the airwaves. They are a shining example of what hard work and perseverance are able to achieve.
Rick Flick started his career at the age of 12, washing cars and stocking parts at the family business during his summers. Now the owner of two auto dealerships, Banner Ford and Banner Chevrolet, he was awarded our prestigious Community Leadership Award. Rick’s true passion has always been giving back and he exhibits a generous spirit, always looking to help those in need, focusing on children and education. Over the years, he has been a board member or involved in many organizations, including our Chamber, Northshore Business Council, Young Presidents’ Organization, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), St.Paul’s High School, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans, The Good Shepherd School and Youth Service Bureau. We are lucky to have him in our community!
Membership Awards announced
We also announced the winners of our annual membership awards, recognizing the outstanding volunteers that help propel our organization’s mission.
The 2016 Member of the Year Award was presented to Sherri Hansen with Culinary Kids Mandeville. Sherri opened her doors in 2012 and has served thousands of children and families and developed programs for people with ALL abilities. She has focused much energy on giving back, and has developed partnerships with local professionals to support their mission of achieving healthy lifestyles and quality family time. Culinary Kids has received numerous awards including our own Out of the Gate Running award, SCORE and Sam’s Club Holiday Giving Award and the YMCA Hero Award. Congratulations Sherri!
The award for Board Member of the Year went to Townsend Underhill with Stirling Properties. Townsend truly “gets it” – he gets our mission & how to accomplish it, stepping out and speaking up to find resources, be it volunteers or finances. Also as Vice Chair of our Public Policy efforts, he has been committed and outspoken, brave and bold, motivating us to speak up on issues that needed a business voice at the legislature, parish and city councils. He truly understands the commitment of Board leadership. Unfortunately, Townsend had a scheduled business trip for the luncheon, so his award was presented to him earlier in the week and Marty Mayer accepted on his behalf.
We were delighted to recognize our Governmental Affairs Committee with our 2016 Committee of the Year Award. A very active committee, last year they hosted 11 events providing first-hand education for our members, including a Senate Forum, a presentation on the pros & cons of the Causeway toll increase, and informative speakers at committee meetings. They diplomatically tackled complicated issues of concern to our members and our parish’s quality of life. They referred seven various amendments and tax renewals to our board. Having spearheaded the creation of our Chamber PAC, the members worked with the PAC board in hosting the Mandeville City Council and Mayoral Forum. Chairman Tom Meyer with Benefit Planning Group Insurance & Wealth Management accepted on the committee’s behalf.
New this year, we presented another deserving individual with the first ever President’s Young Professional of the Year Award. The recipient was Ryan Pearce with NAI Latter & Blum. Ryan has a keen sense for seeing what needs to happen and is willing to be a part of the change. He is always proud of his association with the Chamber and sees the value that membership and leadership opportunities can provide him as a young businessman. He has a blooming career in commercial real estate, while also staying on top of local issues and is willing to serve and lead for the greater good of the community. We have no doubt this young man will continue to succeed in his career and the communities he serves will continue to reap the benefits of his generous heart.
Congratulations to all the very deserving award winners – you make our Chamber and our community a better place to be. For photos of all the award winners, visit our Facebook page. And as always, check out our website for more information on events and programs.