Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chamber honors community leaders, installs board

CONGRATULATIONS to the award winners from the 2017 Chamber Annual Meeting! From left in the photo are Ashley Cousens, Chamber executive director; Scott MacKenzie, Volunteer of the Year; Mark Kowalske, Heritage Award; Sara Manchester, Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Pat O’Brien, Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award; Elizabeth Looze and Bill Aten of Challenge Mountain, Civic Pride Award; and Mike Cain, tied with Mark Kowalske for the Heritage Award. Not pictured is Entrepreneur of the Year Rich Bergmann of Boyne City Taproom. Photo by Kim Ritsema Photography

A record crowd of 340 people attended the Boyne Area Chamber Annual Meeting at Boyne Mountain Thursday night, enjoying great food and drink, entertainment and the presentation of awards to community leaders and organizations. The Chamber Board of Directors was installed by State Senator Wayne Schmidt, with Michael Doumanian continuing to serve as president for the year ahead. Full board. State Representative Triston Cole and numerous other civic and business leaders also attended. 

Here are the award winners, as determined in online voting by 355 people:
Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award - Pat O'Brien gives more than money to the community. He is the chair of the Main Street Board, a member of Team Boyne, sponsors numerous events including Chamber Expo, 4th of July race shirts and more. He supports almost every event in Boyne City and gives cash and sponsorships to many organizations. He and his team are consistent cheerleaders for Boyne City and active participants in community events.

Entrepreneur of the Year - Rich Bergmann of Boyne City Taproom has made a success of a restaurant location that has struggled in the past. He is strongly invested in the local community, as evidenced by a strong entertainment lineup, their showing videos of BCHS football games, hiring local young people and training them, and advocating for more affordable housing to address needs expressed by his employees. Rich has brought a nice new energy to the local restaurant scene and is also known to be environmentally conscious.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Sara Manchester orchestrated an amazing transformation of the old Depot building and started a non-profit organization: Create Community Arts Studio. The studio not only greatly improved a historic building that had fallen into disrepair, but also provides creative space for the entire community. With a specific focus on school children, Sara has designed artist-in-residence style experiences for kids to participate in after school. This beautiful building and the programs it houses will benefit Boyne Area kids for years to come.

Heritage Award for ongoing contributions (tie) - Mike Cain has been the City Manager for 14 years. He has brought in over 9 million dollars in grant funding to help improve buildings, infrastructure, and community programs over the years and most recently secured a grant for 2.4 million dollars to go toward purchase of the Open Space on Lake Street, which will remain a public park open space forever. He has been a constant advocate for business and economic development in Boyne City and shows no signs of slowing down.
Heritage Award for ongoing contributions (tie) - Mark Kowalske of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors has been involved in the Boyne City community for 40 years. He came up with the idea for Buff up Boyne, a spring cleaning initiative that helps our community prepare for the busy tourist season. He was one of the founding members for the DDA/Main Street program, is one of the main sponsors for Stroll the Streets, wrote a motivational book called The Boyne Advantage, and sponsored the a song contest that produced over 55 songs written about Boyne City.

Community Pride Award - Challenge Mountain invested in the community in a big way when they purchased the mostly empty building on M-75 and within 8 months opened a new resale store. The renovated building exterior is a great improvement to the M-75 corridor and the store is meeting a need to provide gently used quality household items, clothing, furniture, books, and sporting goods. Proceeds from the store support year-round adaptive recreation opportunities for children and adults living with disabilities at no cost to participants, families, or schools.

Volunteer of the Year - Scott McKenzie is a long-time major ambassador and cheerleader for Boyne City. He is a member of Boyne City Kiwanis and volunteers as auctioneer at many events. He is always willing to spend his time helping any project that benefits Boyne City, including the Mushroom Festival. He is present at just about every event in Boyne.

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