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Chamber champions

Hughes earns Madison Chamber’s
Community Service Award

Madison Chemical wins
Business Award at Annual Dinner

By Don Ward
Editor

(February 2006) – January traditionally signals a fresh start for many businesses and organizations, but for the Madison Area chamber of Commerce, this year’s Annual Dinner held Jan. 25 at Hanover College held even deeper significance.

Lisa and Drew Garrett

Photo by Don Ward

Lisa Garrett (left) and son, Drew, accept
a plaque from the chamber’s Leisa Grimmet
in memory of Jeff Garrett.

With the death of Chamber Executive Vice President Jeff Garrett on Oct. 30, chamber officials told the crowd of 350-plus that they have faced and overcome many challenges in recent months without a leader in place. In fact, “challenging” seemed to be the word of the night as speaker after speaker took the podium to describe a difficult few months without a director.
Outgoing board president Scott Hubbard candidly expressed his frustration of overcoming many obstacles in recent months to keeping the chamber on track. “A year ago, I didn’t wear glasses and I had more hair,” Hubbard joked as he outlined the many successes of the past year.
Returning Chamber Foundation Board president Louis Alexander offered similar sentiments, and both men praised the chamber staff in its ability to move forward.
But chamber officials used the Annual Dinner to turn a corner and enter a new era with the announcement of a new executive vice president in Galen Bremmer, 50, a former chamber director from Wabash, Ind. Newly installed board president Kevin Watkins introduced Bremmer to the audience, saying he had been selected from 45 applicants. “We are not looking to fill Jeff’s shoes because I don’t think we could do that. Mr. Bremmer fills the need of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce at this time,” Watkins said.

Kevin Watkins and Scott Hubbard

Photo by Don Ward

Incoming chamber president
Kevin Watkins (left) presents outgoing
president Scott Hubbard with a clock to
“stay on time” for meetings.

During his turn at the podium, Alexander enthusiastically echoed the feelings of many board members, saying, “We are very, very, glad to see you, Galen.”
Bremmer spoke briefly, saying he was impressed with the many programs and activities in place and marveled at how “engaged” its members were in the chamber. “If we can get this many more people engaged, think of what we can do.”
Without missing a beat in the transition, Watkins stepped up to the microphone and delivered an inspirational call to arms for chamber members to reach higher this coming year, and asking them to support or at least “participate” in a discussion of his ideas. Specifically, they included initiatives to improve education, to speak with one voice as a chamber on important legislative issues, and to organize a consortium of people to develop a “comprehensive, sustainable plan for the future” relating to the environment and quality of life issues.

Bob Hughes and Margaret Seifert

Photo by Don Ward

Bob Hughes accepts the Community Service Award from 2004 winner Margaret Seifert.

Later in the evening, the chamber representatives presented Madison Chemical Co. with its annual Business Service Award and recognized Robert Hughes of Clifty Engineering as its 2006 Community Service Award winner.
Madison Chemical Co. was founded more than 50 years ago by David R. “Beano” Goodman Sr., in the garage of his home on East Second Street. Goodman is still involved in day-to-day operations as chairman of the board, and his son, David R. “Dick” Goodman Jr., is president. Treasurer and CEO Dan Hodges accepted the award on behalf of the company, saying, “I wish the Goodmans were here beside me because they are the true leaders of our organization.

Bob Hughes and Margaret Seifert

Photo by Don Ward

Dominic Grote (left) presented the Business Award to Madison Chemical Co., which was represented by CEO Dan Hodges.

The company was recognized for its many contributions to local charities and for its recent improvements in environmental safety, receiving numerous state awards in that area.
Hughes, affectionately referred to as “Mr. Miss Madison” because of his funding and support of the city-owned Unlimited hydroplane race boat, was cleverly coerced by his executive assistant secretary of 41 years, Betty Helton, to return from Florida to be present to accept the award. He was joined by his Clifty Engineering executive employees Arnold Curry, Raymond Combs and Charlie Grooms who watched as he told the audience how proud and surprised he was for winning. His company was recognized for its support of nearly every charitable agency in the county.
Ivy Tech Community College’s Margaret Seifert, the

Bob Hughes and Margaret Seifert

Photo by Don Ward

The newly installed chamber board posed for a photo following the dinner.

Community Service Award winner two years ago, presented this year’s award because last year’s winner, Ron Marriage, died last year.
The chamber also presented its Ambassador of the Year Award to River Valley Financial Bank’s Linda Ralston, who won for the second consecutive year. She was recognized for having nearly perfect attendance at ambassador meetings and taking part in 12 of 34 ribbon-cutting events last year. She was also credited for bringing in four of 58 new members in 2005.
In Hubbard’s summary of last year’s activities, he reported that the chamber assisted the Small Business Development Center in opening the Ohio Valley Food Venture commercial kitchen, expanded membership to an all-time high of 386, sold $50,000 in Good Cents Gift Certificates, attracted 375 participants in the inaugural Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament, held four morning networking events downtown, 12 Business After Hours events, launched an electronic newsletter online, held six human resources workshops, four joint seminars with the SBDC, four technology seminars and seven Third House legislative forums. It also attracted 22 teams for the spring golf outing and 34 companies to the Job Fair.

Back to February 2006 Articles.

 

 

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