Business Awards

Mitchell, Koehler Tire receive Madison Chamber awards

Mitchell honored for volunteerism to local organizations

(February 2016) – Steven Mitchell owns and runs his own business, Burris Electric & Plumbing Supply, but has spent much of his free time volunteering at various organizations in Madison, Ind. These include the Lide White Boys and Girls Club, the Venture Out Business Center, the Habitat for Humanity, the Madison Regatta and Madison Ribberfest, the Elks Club of Madison and others. To recognize his many contributions, Mitchell on Jan. 20 was presented with the Jeff Garrett Community Service Award by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.

2016 Madison Chamber
Award Recipients

• Jeff Garrett Community Service Award: Steve Mitchell

• Business Citizenship Award: Koehler Tire/Koehler Welding Supply, owner Dave Ungru

• Small Business Person of the Year: Deb and Mike Fine (Cocoa Safari Chocolates, Hertz Shoes)

• Nonprofit of the Year: River Valley Resources

• Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Martha Ray (The Office Shop)

Ray Black, executive director of the Lide White Boys and Girls Club, presented the award to Mitchell before a crowd of more than 300 people at the 92nd annual Chamber Dinner, held this year at Clifty Inn’s Overlook Room. Mitchell humbly accepted his award, saying, “This is a total shock. When I saw my mom here from Austin and my kids here from Indianapolis, I knew something was up.”
Regarding his personal dedication to community service, Mitchell said, “I was always taught to treat others like you want to be treated. That’s what I live by. So thank you very much for this honor.”
The Jeff Garrett Community Service Award goes to a person in the community who is an outstanding member of the community. It is named for the late Garrett, a former Chamber executive director who founded the Chamber’s Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew and also was instrumental in creating the popular Madison Ribberfest and RiverRoots Folk & Art Festival. Garrett died in October 2005 from heart complications.

Photo by Don Ward

Ray Black (left) presents the Community Service Award to Steve Mitchell.

Koehler Tire and Koehler Welding Supply owner Dave Ungru was recognized as the recipient of the Business Citizenship Award. This award is presented annually to a business that has done well in many business aspects as well as being a good citizen. This business is recognized for giving back to the community. Ungru has been instrumental in supporting many local organizations, schools and churches, and is a major sponsor of Madison Ribberfest and other local events.
Koehler Tire began as a family business in 1929. Ungru took it over 26 years ago with only six people. Together with Koehler Welding, the company now employs 40 people. “I’m so thankful,” Ungru said upon receiving the award. “It’s all about giving to and supporting people. This community has been good to me.”
Presenter Matt Webster of VSG, last year’s winner, recounted how Ungru’s company had provided state-of-the-art welding equipment and safety gear to the newly formed Cub Manufacturing industrial technology program at Madison Consolidated High School to help educate future workers. Koehler also supplies many local companies with a myriad of industrial parts and services. “He’s made a living of helping other businesses succeed and has made a life out of making his community successful,” Webster said of Ungru.

Photo by Don Ward

Matt Webster of VSG (far left) presents the Business Citizenship Award to Dave Ungru of Koehler Tire.

Last year, the Chamber revived its Small Business Award by presenting it to The Attic & Coffee Mill Café owners Judy George and her daughter, Julie Truax. George and Truax were called upon to present this year’s award to Mike and Deb Fine, owner of two Madison businesses – Cocoa Safari Chocolates and Hertz Shoes, which they purchased and took over on Feb. 1, 2014, when previous owner Bill Hertz retired after nearly 40 years of running the family owned business.
Deb Fine accepted the award and called it “much appreciated and unexpected.”
The inaugural Nonprofit of the Year award was presented to River Valley Resources, with Executive Director Margo Olson accepting. RVR’s mission is developing a competitive workforce through collaboration and innovative services for individuals, employers, and communities.  RVR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 1990 to help low-income and disadvantaged Hoosiers obtain and maintain gainful employment. Since its inception, RVR has managed more than $250 million in federal, state, and local workforce development related grants and contracts. RVR is currently responsible for administering more than 1.8 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds in Indiana.

Photo by Don Ward

Lindsay Bloos presents the Nonprofit of the Year Award to Margo Olson (far right), executive director of River Valley Resources in Madison, Ind.

RVR is a partner with The Clearinghouse, which began in 2007 and now is a collaboration of more than 100 partners working to provide economic benefit to southeastern Indiana. The Clearinghouse is a multi-tenant facility where workforce development entities and agencies providing short-term assistance will live and work under one roof. The goal of the Clearinghouse Partners is to help low-income families or families living in poverty make a positive, sustainable change in their lives and decrease their overall demand for assistance by enabling them to become self-sufficient.
The Chamber Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Martha Ray of The Office Shop.

New leadership

Early in the evening, Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Dan Wright presented outgoing chamber director Trevor Crafton with a plaque to acknowledge his three years of service. Crafton left the chamber position effective Jan. 22 to accept a marketing position with Mother’s Grilled Wings, owned by Madison residents Charlie and Nancy Grooms.
Crafton told the crowd he is being hired to help “take the locally owned company to a regional and national level.” The wings are currently produced at Venture Out Business Center in Madison and marketed via Kroger and other local outlets.
“It has been a pleasure to work for and with the Jefferson County Business Community,” Crafton said in a statement. “My time here has shown me how relevant the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is for Southeastern Indiana.”
Crafton formerly worked in Real Estate in Florida for several years prior to returning to Madison. Trevor and his wife, Sara, along with their 3-year-old son, Nash, live in Madison.
The Board of Directors has named Lindsay Bloos, 34, as the new executive director. Bloos has been with the Chamber since February 2013, starting only two months after Crafton, and has served as both the Finance and Marketing Manager.
A native of Friendship, Ind., Bloos, graduated from South Ripley High School in 2000. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice in 2005 from Franklin College. After graduating, she worked social services jobs in Indianapolis, eventually moving to Madison to be closer to her family and taking a position as a case manager at Pathways Youth Shelter. A few years later, she was tapped to join the chamber, first as an administrative assistant to Crafton, and later as Finance and Marketing Manager.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Trevor at the Chamber,” Bloos said. “He is passionate about everything he does, and that is contagious. I am excited for this new challenge, and eager to serve the members of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce and our community.” 
In his statement, Wright, of FPBH Inc., said, “Trevor has done a fantastic job leading the Chamber over the last three years, but his best show of leadership is exhibited in his choice and preparation of his successor, Lindsay Bloos. That is why we as a Chamber board are excited about 2016. While some organizations face a crisis in transition, we feel we are poised well for a seamless transition as a result of the efforts made by Trevor and Lindsay.”
“It has been a pleasure to work for and with the Jefferson County Business Community. My time here has shown me how relevant the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is for Southeastern Indiana.” Crafton said. “I will greatly miss the experience, but I sincerely feel confident in sitting back and watching Lindsay Bloos take this Chamber to a level it has never seen. Thank you to the community that has been so great to me and my family.”
In his outgoing address to the Chamber crowd, Crafton reported that membership is at an all-time high of 408 members and that last year’s retention rate was 91 percent – up from 86 percent the previous year.

Earlier in the evening, outgoing Chamber Board President Jenny Darnold of River Valley Financial Bank, reported at the Chamber pre-dinner business meeting that the Chamber celebrated the opening of 48 new businesses in 2015. In addition, the wildly popular Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew festival, held in mid October, drew a record 40 participating businesses and nonprofit organizations, and resulted in $31,000 in proceeds returned back to the participants for the charity of their choice, according to treasurer Larry Truax. The Chamber keeps a percentage of the money generated from food and beverage ticket sales and returns a portion to the participants for their charity of choice.

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