Friday night, the Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated businesses, individuals, volunteerism and the hospitality shown in the community by all over the past year.
The Roaring 20’s-themed event at the Bridgeview Room of Shugrue’s served as both the Chamber’s annual meeting and a celebration of business rolled into one. Awards and prizes were the order of the evening.
Recipients are nominated by their peers and Chamber members vote. Following are those honored Friday evening. Each category includes the nominating documents for each recipient provided by the Chamber.
The Citizen of the Year is presented to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the community in service and/or leadership. This individual also has the honor of serving as Grand Marshal for the London Bridge Days Parade in October.
This individual has a heart of gold, and that was recognized by the nominator, who actually works for the recipient. The nominator says: “I have never worked for such an honest, caring individual who treats everyone like family including his staff.” He, always finds time to help the less fortunate.” We know the individual is a compassionate business man, who put his entrepreneurship skills to work when choosing the enhancement of adding to one of his current businesses a few months ago, selecting an add-on that he believed would bring more choices for the south side of Havasu.
With all of his ventures, he puts people first, paying employees who are out on hardship, paying the fuel bills for the vans that transport local Veterans to Phoenix when needed and helps Vets locally through the Heroes on the Water program. Additionally, he puts his heart, soul and time in helping with fundraising events like the Balloon Festival and the more recent Nashville Nights. His involvement in the Havasu Community Health Foundation and the Lake Havasu City Rotary Club are appreciated by all. You may see him when he’s checking in at his businesses like Motor and Boat Food and Fuel and Fuel/Krispy Krunchy Chicken, or at Kiowa Coin-Up Laundromat, and then again, you may just buy a house from him through Sunstone Realty. Either way, once you know him you’ll understand why Steve Ticknor is this year’s Citizen of the Year. Steve is on vacation, in Oregon playing golf, but we’ve got him on the phone!
Business and Education Leader
Our honoree tonight is another person making big strides in the Lake Havasu community. At the Chamber, we’ve come to know this individual as a progressive thinker and one who understands the community’s attributes and how those attributes can be used to showcase and grow the organization in Lake Havasu City.
The recipient has an amazing Circum Vitae and is an expert in business growth, development and organization, however, it is his charm and personality that make him so popular with Lake Havasu’s business community. Since taking the helm at his organization, community involvement and campus visibility have skyrocketed. His nominator says “he has connected most excellently with the business community. He was the catalyst in working collaboratively with the hospitality industry to bring a world-class major, Recreation and Tourism Management, to the ASU at Lake Havasu campus. He is firmly committed to ASU, the Chamber, and to Lake Havasu City.” We think this guy is the caterpillar’s kimono. Congratulations to Dr. Raymond Van Der Riet, this year’s Business and Education Leader.
Havasu Booster Award
This award is for a community volunteer, organization or business that has boosted business and overall community morale and development over the past year.
This year’s winner is just a really good person. It is someone everyone can always count on for help, guidance, and for some of us, a shoulder to cry on – in other words, this is someone who is always boosting up others without thought for their own needs. This is one of those rare people who just don’t know the word, No. This person is just the bullfrog’s beard.
He, is known for many things including time spent on the Chamber’s Board of Directors, and in the chairman’s seat. He has given countless professional hours without charging a clam, to many non-profit organizations throughout the community including the Chamber foundation where he is also a former board member. He cares about community growth and development and was an active member of the Vision 20/20 Committee.
When the chamber board decided to walk its own walk and put a board member through the leadership program, he was the first to raise his hand and he did graduate with the class of 2017. He was instrumental in bringing the Certified Tourism Ambassador program to Havasu and he continues to promote it as a key component of community success, and that’s just no applesauce my friends. He is the current president of the Lake Havasu City Rotary Club, and a loving husband to his wife Susan. Please help me in honoring this year’s Community Booster, Mike Bonney.
Art of Hospitality Award
This year’s awardee is a long time player in the local hospitality scene and even though it’s had a few different brands over the years, one thing has remained consistent, and that’s the management team. Criteria for this award includes excellent hospitality, customer service, community support and support and commitment to the Certified Tourism Ambassador program. Our recipient meets that criteria, and then some!
Whether you remember this hotel as the Pioneer, the Ramada or know it by its current name, you’ll always remember their commitment and credibility with Havasu’ tourism clientele. They treat customers professionally and kindly whether the guest is here for a fishing tournament, an extended winter stay, or spring break. They just really know one’s onions and work hard to please them all. The hotel’s general manager supports the CTA program and serves on the Hospitality Association’s Board of Directors. Congratulations to this year’s Art of Hospitality Award winner, Quality Inn & Suites, general manager Audrey Hoyt and her team.
Community Development and Improvement award
A longtime fixture at one of Havasu’s major intersections, the winner has completely remodeled the exterior of the complex, bringing a fresh new face to one of the busiest corners in town. The remodel appeals to the hundreds of thousands of visitors and of course to all the locals who drive right past on their way across London Bridge or their way up the hill to the downtown district. Gone are the outdated Southwest themes, replaced with architecture and colors that reflect a modern, thriving business community. This place is no Speak Easy, when we pass this year’s Community Development and Improvement Award winner, Times Square Plaza located at the corner of McCulloch and Lake Havasu Avenue we can all be proud. Congratulations to Richard Rahnema, owner and property manager.
Ethics in Business Award
This award is sponsored by the Lake Havasu City Rotary Club. To win this particular award, the recipient must illustrate a commitment to business ethics. The winner will exemplify honesty and integrity, show evidence of corporate or community philanthropy and support civic or charitable endeavors. Not all businesses boast a non-profit tax status, but our recipient does and they work diligently across the city to help other non-profits in the process. It doesn’t matter the need, this organization does it all whether it’s helping the DAV, the Clothe-a-Child program through the Elks and Masonic Lodges, the Military Moms, St. Vincent de Paul, local schools, special Olympics, Hospice of Havasu, Toys for Tots, ASU at Lake Havasu, the 9/11 Committee – when there is a need, this organization is there to help.
Near and dear to their hearts though, are the needs of those who serve our country in the military now and those Veterans who gave so much of themselves in keeping all of us, free. They provide military honors for those who’ve gone on to Heaven, and provide color guards to open so many of Havasu’s special events. And, they provide support, help and hope for the participants of the Lake Havasu City Veteran’s Treatment Court. It is an honor to present this year’s Ethics in Business Award to an organization that is just the cat’s pajamas, the Lake Havasu City Marine Corp League. Accepting on behalf of the League are former detachment Commandment and former Auxiliary President, Stan and Muzetta Elliott.
Whelan Leadership Award
This award honors a graduate of Havasu Leadership Development, now known as Leadership Lake Havasu, who has successfully utilized the training and skills learned to make a difference with their employer, organization, or within the Havasu area. The award is named in honor of the Late Bob Whelan, and his wife Judy, longtime supporters of the leadership program. The award is sponsored by the Lake Havasu Chamber Foundation for Education and Leadership.
This year’s Whelan Leadership Award is going to an individual who devotes their heart and soul into the Chamber’s foundation, and into the leadership program. The foundation, a few years old now, continues to grow as the arm of the chamber that provides business education to members and the community. Our recipient, very organized, meticulous in the best way ever, has taken the foundation and the leadership program to new levels. She developed checks and balance systems for the foundation budget and provided excellent leadership to an evolving board, keeping us on topic and working toward excellence.
A 2008 graduate, she was a member of the class that built the Chamber of Commerce Community Stage at London Bridge Beach, and has supported leadership programs and projects in the years since she graduated. When asked to come back and serve on the foundation board a couple years ago, she didn’t hesitate and has been moving the foundation forward ever since. This young professional woman, and she is no Mrs. Grundy, is the mother to two handsome boys, a wife and is currently running the administrative end of Arizona Flexible Packaging after a long career in the non-profit industry. Please help me congratulate Melissa Underwood, this year’s Whelan Leadership Award winner.
Ambassador of the Year
The Chamber Ambassador Committee plays a vital role in the Chamber’s success. This Ambassador understands the Chamber and will tell you how important membership is to the community, and how the Chamber has made the organization they run more successful as well. She has been an Ambassador Committee member for a number of years and is an outstanding volunteer. Customer service oriented, she takes care of everyone with compassion and kindness and her level headed style keeps us happy and calm. She happily hosts several chamber functions each year and regularly volunteers at events to greet, sell tickets, pour beer – or do whatever needs to be done.
She is an active member of the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association as well as a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, voted there due to her commitment and love for Lake Havasu City. She’s from back east, has lived in the Midwest but we are so glad she now calls Lake Havasu City her home and so are the members of her team at the Quality Inn and Suites. This woman is just the cat’s meow. Ladies and gentlemen, our Ambassador of the Year is Audrey Hoyt.
Outstanding Young Professional
For this award, the Chamber looks for an emerging leader that exemplifies excellence, integrity and initiative in their profession and is a role model for others in business.
This year’s awardee is very special whose clients are very much a part of the family. The lives of those clients are enriched by the special care and love extended by our award recipient, who also seeks to develop community partnerships and relationships for their employer by being actively involved in the community.
The Chamber is so very lucky that this young lady, has chosen it as a recipient of her care and nurturing. Each time the Chamber has asked for help with its functions in the past 12 months, she is one of the first to respond. She regularly takes time to make sure chamber staff are fully supported by volunteers, and in honesty, spent hours with the staff in the dust at Desert Bash and was back for more fun with Winterfest. In addition, she’s played a key role on the Up With Women Committee. And that’s just the chamber stuff, this gal puts the stripes on the leopard.
This loving wife and mother has also volunteered with the Balloon Festival, the Mad Hatter Fashion Show and organized a boutique for Women with Willpower. She takes wonderful care of the residents where she works at Lake View Terrace Memory Care and is active in providing special functions for them and their families throughout the year. This year’s Outstanding Young Professional is Sarah Stinnett.
Chamber Volunteer of the Year
This award honors someone who has provided exemplary service to the Chamber of Commerce over the past year. During the selection meeting, one of the volunteers stated: “This one (the volunteer award) is the clearly the hardest one to choose, as we had so many wonderful nominees.”
This year’s recipient is someone most of us in this room know well. It’s a person who has the highest standards we know and one the Chamber feels like they just can’t live without. It’s a person who manages to find the time and energy to bring their professional skills the chamber organization and make life easier and more beautiful for the Chamber team.
A former Chairman of the Chamber Board, the volunteer of the year never seeks nor asks for recognition but works quietly behind the scenes to ensure success in whatever task she tackles. She has fully immersed herself in all things leadership; she’s run the committees and the programs and chaired the foundation board too. She is a trusted advisor and trainer for the leadership program and the chamber foundation’s other business training programs. When she is in charge, everything is Jake.
Our recipient is kind, giving, and puts others above herself, not just when she feels like it, but all of the time. Chamber staff and all the volunteers adore her – we think you will too. Congratulations to Nancy Darrow, this year’s Chamber Volunteer of the Year.
Chamber Business of the Year
The Chamber Business of the Year is one that honors an investor member that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth and stability of the Chamber over the past 12 months. This year’s winner hasn’t made just one, but countless contributions and we’re talking about sharing the chamber love, not dollars.
The owners of this business love Havasu and lucky for us they also love the chamber. They regularly recommend the chamber to new businesses and spend time connecting prospects to the organization. According to the nominator, the business owners “exemplify the spirit and meaning of what it means to be a chamber member.” The nominator said: “It truly is a pleasure watching them work and interact with our community businesses boosting morale and community development”.
This is a business the Chamber can always count on when we need a favor on the lake like a boat ride for a VIP or a television crew, or to provide countless prizes for auctions and raffles. The business owners, a couple of real kippers knickers, are both involved in Havasu’s success through the Chamber and also the Hospitality Association. Whether it’s a big thing or something small, like helping to sell guide books for the Lighthouse Club, their love for Lake Havasu and their fellow chamber members and the community at large, is evident in the warm and authentic hugs this husband and wife team use in place of handshakes. If you haven’t guessed, this year’s Chamber Business of the Year is Whettrods Boat and Jet Ski Rentals, Chad and Jennifer Whetten