MINOOKA – Nearly 300 local business and community leaders came out to Chapin's East on March 22 to celebrate the annual Grundy Economic Development Council and Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry's Annual dinner.
The awards portion of the evening started after dinner with Nancy Norton, CEO and President of the GEDC and Breyman presenting this year's GEDC awards.
“This year is one of the most successful on record for the GEDC with new prospect investment and membership growing to its highest level in the organization’s history,” Norton said.
Hampton Inn/Blair Road Hotel Association received the "Welcome to Grundy County Award."
Norton said one of the key components to economic development is business attraction.
"When a business selects Grundy County as a new location, it is something to celebrate," Norton said.
She said the Hampton Inn filled a need in the community, and the group recently announced a second hotel, Marriott TownePlace Suites, an extended-stay, 87-room hotel will be built across the street from the Hampton Inn with construction scheduled to start this summer.
The GEDC Partnership Award went to Joliet Junior College.
Norton said one of the top concerns in the business world is workforce, both skills and availability, and JJC was awarded the Partnership Award for its workforce development.
"JJC listens to the needs of the business community and responds. A perfect example is the Operations Engineering and technician program," Norton said.
Exelon Generation/Dresden Station received the GEDC "Business of the Year" award.
Norton said, for more than 50 years, Dresden Station has played a vital role in the Grundy County community and economy, with the full time employment of 800 employees, with an additional 1,500 to 2,000 workers hired each year to assist with refueling outages.
Norton said that businesses that has an annual payroll of $80 million and pay $25 million each year in property taxes are nearly impossible to replace.
Christina Van Yperen, Executive Director, and John Adler, of Aflac and Chamber Board Chair, presented the Chamber awards from a list nominated by Chamber members.
The Chamber's "Business of the Year" award went to D’Arcy Chevy Buick Cadillac.
Van Yperen said Terry D'Arcy and his team are no strangers to building a good reputation and said, even prior to their purchase of their new Morris dealership, they attended chamber events and asked how they could help support the community.
Entrepreneur of the Year was given to Kim Scerine, owner of On Broadway Dance Center in Coal City.
This year is Scerine's 30th anniversary in a business that she opened with a goal of providing dance instruction by integrating body, art and intellect, according to Van Yperen.
"From ages 3 and up and classes from ballet to tap, Kim has been helping to shape our children into mature, hardworking, well-rounded adults for decades," Van Yperen said.
Organization of the Year from the Chamber was given to Morris Community YMCA.
Van Yperen said, in just two years, the Morris Community YMCA opened its first daily presence in Grundy County and witnessed growth from the expected 250 units, to more than 1,000 units today which represents over 2,400 members. They have also partnered with Morris Hospital on several programs, including a prescription for fitness program to help prevent and improve disease.
Ambassador of the Year was presented by Adler to Stephanie Coleman, with Streator Onized Credit Union .
Chamber Ambassadors serve as liaisons between Chamber members and staff. They gather feedback and answer members' questions during calls and visits they make throughout the year.