Businessman Ken Blanchard and longtime resident and community servant Dick Eggerding have been presented major awards by the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce.
Blanchard, with Edward Jones in Oro Valley, was given the Community Leader Award and a big ovation at Thursday's annual meeting of the chamber. He is a past board chairman who initiated a food collection drive that grows annually.
Eggerding received the chamber's Legacy Award, and lengthy standing applause from the crowd at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador. He is the president and a founder of the Oro Valley Community Foundation, helped establish the Oro Valley public art code, and co-founded what is now the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.
"You have already left a legacy here that's going to be very, very hard for anybody to fill," presenter Steve Ochoa of KOLD-TV told Eggerding.
New chamber board chairman J.R. Johnson of New York Life Insurance described himself as the first board chairman with braces, drawing applause from Oro Valley dentist Dr. Bob Oro.
"I'll keep this short and sweet, because that's the kind of speeches I give," Johnson said. "Without you, there is no us. I have an open-door policy. If you want to meet, face to face, you are more than welcome, but please call ahead."
Johnson introduced new board members Sarah Adams of Bedmart, Jill Casson Owen of Casson Owen Law, Paul Evans of The Keg Steakhouse and Bar and Colin Keating of Edward Jones. Outgoing board members are Melanie Larson, Monnie Applegate, Tom Pitzer, Shawn Strash and Jeff Jones.
Johnson said the chamber is about to occupy new office space at 7490 N. Oracle Road. It'll have more space than the current Magee Road space, with a conference room available for use.
Outgoing board chairman Tom Thaller of M&I Bank talked about the chamber's ability to retain programs, add business education seminars and grow to more than 500 members during a difficult economic time. The membership ambassador committee has been expanded. The chamber endorsed four candidates in the Oro Valley elections, and all of them won. It also worked with businesses to ask Oro Valley for relief on its sign codes.
Johnson thanked Thaller. "For all your hard work, we have this fancy plaque," Johnson said.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords helped with the awards presentations and spoke to the crowd. She grew up on the Tanque Verde side of Tucson, when what is now Oro Valley "could have been the moon." Today in Oro Valley, Giffords said, "you see a community that has developed the right way."
Chamber 2010 business awards:
Micro-business of the year – Print Management, Mike Polletta;
Small business of the year – Effortless HR, Ellen Kirton and Lola Kakes;
Mid-size business of the year – Canyon Community Bank, Chuck Luhtala;
Non-profit of the year – Interfaith Community Services.
Membership ambassador of the year – Ron Janicki, Truly Nolen.