The Clermont Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting and small business awards luncheon Feb. 2.
Held at the Holiday Inn Eastgate and attended by approximately 250 people, the luncheon was a way to celebrate and recognize small business members who demonstrated “best practices” in 2006. It was also a chance to honor and salute Clermont County’s active-duty and veteran men and women of the military.
The assembled chamber members and the many elected local officials in attendance were welcomed by Midland Company senior vice-president and board member David McNutt and Clermont Chamber chairman Susan McHugh before the awards ceremony commenced.
“2006 was a great year,” McHugh said in her remarks. “This year we are going to freshen up the chamber’s look and tell our story. We are going to shift our mission a little in 2007. A key part of this shift is that the chamber is going to become more involved in the advocacy of governmental affairs.”
"All of us assembled here today knows how special Clermont County is," McHugh said. "It is now time that everyone else knows it as well."
Escorted by bagpiper Robert Reid of the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes and Drum, the colors were presented by the Live Oaks Jr. Army ROTC.
The 2006 business advocate award, which recognizes individuals advancing or protecting the interests of small businesses, was bestowed on Brad Forsythe and Ken Morrison.
The emerging small business award went to Tellus, LLC, a nationally recognized innovative leader in the e-commerce industry; founder and CEO Betsy Emery accepted the award.
The customer focus award went to Bachman's, Inc., a company whose primary focus is centered on the preventive maintenance of HVAC services.
Q.C. Industries LLC., a leader in sizing low profile belt conveyors, received the innovative business practice award and Little Miami Signs, opened early last year, received the award for new member of the year.
During the luncheon, the Clermont Chamber also took the opportunity to thank and honor local active duty and veteran members of the United States Military with freedom awards.
Accepting the Clermont Freedom Awards were Joe Whitt, United States Navy and Pearl Harbor survivor; Norm Root, U.S. Coast Guard and Korean War veteran; George Kinnaird, U.S. Air Force and Vietnam veteran; Kristy Grachek, U.S. Marine, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom; Staff Sergeant Andrea Jones, active duty Army; and Colonel Joe Johnston, U.S. Army and Vietnam and Gulf War veteran.
Colonel Johnston gave the key-note address and spoke on the spirit of patriotism.