Friday, January 19, 2018

Chamber honors community leaders, installs board

CONGRATULATIONS to the award winners from the Chamber Annual Awards Gala! From left are Michelle Cortright, Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award; her son Michael Cortright, Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Denise Holmes of Boyne Eta Nu Charities, Community Pride Award; Bob Mathers, Heritage Award; Becky Harris, Volunteer of the Year; Mike Castiglione, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Michael Doumanian, Outgoing Chamber Board President. (Photo by Kim Mettler of Michigan Barefoot Memories Photography.)

A crowd of more than 300 people attended the Boyne Area Chamber Annual Awards Gala 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 Mayor Tom Neidhamer, with Chris Bandy of Local Flavor Bookstore serving as president for the year ahead. Michael Doumanian of Boyne Mountain was honored for serving as president for the past year and a half. Full boardHere are the award winners, as determined in online voting by 425 people:

> Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Mike Castiglione of Stiggs Brewery & Kitchen conducted a beautiful renovation of the historic railroad building and turned it into a great bar and restaurant, which opened in January 2017. Not only does Mike brew great beers, but he has innovative ideas like "Brew School" and "Brewing Up Business," as well as event ideas for the community. Already, he is working with other organizations and groups to promote downtown and give back to the community with things like a pub crawl to benefit the Cancer Crusaders and cosponsoring the 'Fat & Flurrious" fat tire bike race on January 20th. He was also awarded historic tax credits, which is a testament to his hard work in historic preservation, as these credits are rarely awarded to projects smaller than $5 million.

> Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Michael Cortrighttook over North Country Cycle Sport last year, the business where he purchased his first bike at age 9, worked as an employee, and finally took the risk to become the owner - right out of college. With the increasing popularity of Boyne area bike trails, NCCS is meeting a need for repairs and rentals and Michael broke revenue records in his first year as owner. He promotes Boyne as a trail town and has personally taken on grooming trails at the Boyne City School Forest and Avalanche Preserve. He has organized the "Fat & Flurrious" fat tire bike race that will debut on January 20th and he is also working with local volunteers to start a bike share program, which should debut this spring.

> Heritage Award - Bob Mathers is general manager of Bob Mathers Ford, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. The auto dealership was originally started on September 22,1917, and has been Bob Mathers Ford since 1973. The dealership is now owned by the four Mathers siblings - Bob, Cheri, Trish and Wendy. Bob has been with the dealership since 1979. The dealership has gone through several changes through the years, but the focus on customer satisfaction has always stayed the same. Bob, like his father, has been a classic car enthusiast and has long been a member of the Boyne Thunder Committee, which has been a major fund-raiser for Camp Quality, Challenge Mountain and Boyne City Main Street.

> Community Pride Award - Boyne Eta Nu Charities is being honored for the impactful fundraising projects that they organize each year. Dress for Chill, now in its 10th year, provides outerwear for preschool through 4th graders. This year, they provided 167 children with warm winter gear. Lights of Love, now in its 30th year, is Eta Nu's holiday event that raises money to benefit Hospice of Northwest Michigan. And Eta Nu volunteers participate as clowns in the 4th of July parade to raise money for fireworks, including a total of $5,000 in 2017. 

> Volunteer of the Year Award - Becky Harris. Her work on the Boyne City Farmers Market, Veterans Park Pavilion Committee, Challenge Mountain board, and Main Street board only scratches the surface of Becky's volunteer hours for our community. She has donated more hours than can be counted this year, stepping in as the interim Farmers Market Manager. She has not taken a paycheck, and has kept the market going as strong as ever, including the start of the renovation of the Veterans Park Pavilion and moving the indoor winter market to City Hall.

> The Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award - Michelle Cortright of Harbor House Publishers is one of Boyne's most successful business women. She is generous with her time on several community boards, including Boyne City Main Street, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, Leadership Charlevoix County, Evangeline Township, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Boyne Area Chamber board. Michelle recently started a local initiative that promotes positivity and civility in our community, particularly in organizations dealing with the public. She is an extremely positive driving force in the Boyne Area. 

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