WINTERSVILLE - The biggest development for the immediate future of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce was announced at the end of the business organization's annual meeting Monday at St. Florian Hall.
Chamber Chairman John Cucarese announced Sue Hershey, chamber president since February 2009, plans to retire after the end of the year.
Upon receiving tokens of appreciation from the chamber, including a painting of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, Hershey said, "It has been an honor to be the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce president these last 4 years. I love my community and will continue to love and serve my community."
AWARD WINNERS — Receiving special recognition during Monday’s annual meeting of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at St. Florian Hall were, from left, front, Jodi Ferguson of McDonnell Chiropractic, new business of the year; Laura Meeks of Eastern Gateway Community College, organization of the year; Jerry Barilla of Frank and Jerry’s Furniture and Appliances, lifetime achievement award; and Dave Hindman of World Radio Telecommunications, business person of the year; back, Dr. Greg McDonnell of McDonnell Chiropractic; Mary Free, ambassador of the year; and Jim Morgan and Gregory Agresta, outgoing board members. Alex Marshall also was recognized as an outgoing board member. - Michael D. McElwain
Honored during the chamber's annual banquet with the annual Chamber Excellence Awards were: Mary Free, president of the chamber ambassador's club and manager of US Bank in Brilliant, ambassador of the year; Dr. Greg McDonnell and Jodi Ferguson of McDonnell Chiropractic, new business of the year, which is presented to a chamber investor firm in operation for three years or less; David Hindman of World Radio Telecommunications, business person of the year; Eastern Gateway Community College, organization of the year; and Jerry Barilla of Frank and Jerry's Furniture and Appliances and downtown business leader and Fort Steuben volunteer, lifetime achievement award.
Cucarese said McDonnell was honored for showing "what happens when two community-minded, business-minded people come together to do great things. He said the business has expansion plans in the works, despite only celebrating its second anniversary in May.
Hindman was honored for creating, along with his wife, Kay, a business that has grown to include 15 employees and has expanded from telephone system sales, service and installation to computers and security and monitoring services. Hindman said it's been a spiritual journey and he could not be worthy of the honor without the community to serve.
EGCC was honored for its positive benefit, including not only 527 employees and a $7.4 million annual payroll but for growing to include neighboring counties, expanding to include 70 two-year degree programs and for conferring more than 45,000 degrees through its history dating back to its days as Jefferson Technical College in the 1960s.
President Laura Meeks said she accepted the award on behalf not only of her staff and the educators at EGCC but for the "thousands of graduates in Jefferson County who are surrounded by families who care very much. On behalf of those moms and dads, I say thank you to Jefferson County for letting us shepherd and be the keeper of so many wonderful students."
Barilla, who is active in a number of boards and committees in the community, said, "It's an honor and pleasure to serve Steubenville, Ohio. It is about giving. It is about we and us, not me and I."
He recalled the lessons of teamwork taught by the late coach Ang Vaccaro at Steubenville High School, and said he tries to follow those lessons in his life.
"It is our hometown. Our parents and grandparents did their part and now it's our turn. We are in charge today. We are involved to make a better community that we live in."
Cucarese said the next Business After Hours event will be held Oct. 17 at Valley Hospice in Rayland, with the annual holiday open house at Create-a-Room in Wintersville to be held on Dec. 4.