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Monopoly tycoons Mike Stodolak, left, and Dick Fortin are helped to launch the GAME ON annual meeting by Heather Gallegos.

CHAMBER GALA: 133RD Event Draws 400 Drumbeaters to Hotel

March 24, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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They really beat the drum for the Bay area economy at the DoubleTree last night.

"They" were the 400 enthusiastic business people joined in the mutual back-slapping, award-bestowing and drum beating for the success of the local business scene at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce's 133rd annual meeting.

Leading the cheers were Chamber Chairman Mike Hanisko, Weinlander Fitzhugh CPAs; Ryan T. Carley, Chamber president, and CEO; Al Blinke, WNEM-TV5, immediate past chair; and, Laurie Bush, Century 21 Signature Realty, retiring director.

Master of Ceremonies Daphne DeLoren, of the WNEM-TV5 weather crew, waved her magic wand over the banquet festivities.

"The Bay area is undergoing a renaissance -- real economic growth," exclaimed Chamber Chairman Mike Hanisko from the podium. "This is a great place to play, work and we share a real sense of pride."

The group was welcomed by a trio of leaders: Mike Stodolak, of Independent Bank; Heather Gallegos of the Dow Chemical Company, and Dick Fortin of Blue Cross Blue Shield, aptly dressed as Monopoly figures to expound the meeting's theme: "GAME ON: POSITIONING OURSELVES FOR THE FUTURE."

Awards flew like laurels after the Olympics, with Mr. Hanisko asserting "Bay City and the Great Lakes Bay Area is leading in all six areas of workforce excellence":

*Ambassador of the Year: Kendra Christensen, of COPOCO Community Credit Union; (sponsored by FirstMerit Bank)

*Ambassador All Stars: Christensen, Patsy Powell, New Dimensions; Sam Ramirez, Spectrum Business; Tammy Schultz, Bay County Habitat for Humanity; Terri Scheuuerlein, L & M Scheuerlein, Inc.; and Courtney Douponce, Wildfire Credit Union; (sponsored by FirstMerit Bank);

*Energize Bay Area YPN Award: Tom Barnikow, Saginaw Valley State University; (sponsored by McLaren Bay Region);

*Leadership Alumni Community Service Award: Jennifer Carroll, Delta College Corporate Services; (sponsored by Chemical Bank);

*Athena Award: Amy Rodriguez, Weinlander Fitzhugh CPAs' (sponsored by McLaren Bay Special Care);

*Business Hall of Fame Award: Alice Gerard, retired CEO of McLaren Bay Region; (sponsored by First State Bank).

The Awards presentation cast was composed of David Green, FirstMerit Bank; Magen Samyn, McLaren Bay Region; Mike Debo, Chemical Bank; Cheryl Burzynski, McLaren Bay Special Care; and Rick Goedert, 1st State Bank.

The banquet program revealed the culmination of a Leadership Bay County class project, adding a unique fixture to downtown Bay City. An art installation will be color stamped on asphalt with a design that complements the river front, located at the intersection of Water Street and Center Avenue.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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