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The luncheon was hosted by the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee and sponsored by Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Aberdeen Development Corporation. A recap was also given of the 2016 BIG Idea Competition.
Awards sponsors include: Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce (Woman of Spirit, George, STAR, Emerging Leader & ViTality), Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hometown Hero), Aberdeen Development Corporation (Entrepreneur of the Year), Aberdeen Hotel Alliance (Spotlight), Small Business Development Center (BIG Idea Competition) and CorTrust Bank & Prairie Family Business Association (Family Business of the Year).
WOMAN OF SPIRITThis award recognizes the efforts of a woman from the Aberdeen area that has attained and personified the highest level of professional excellence in her business or profession and has devoted time and energy to the community in a meaningful way. When describing a Woman of Spirit, one would say that she is: Wise, Organized, a Mentor to others, an Achiever, Nurturing, Selfless, Purposeful, Inspirational, Respected, has Integrity and is a Team Player. Woman of Spirit Award – Erin Giovannini, Presentation College
GEORGE AWARDThis award is presented to an individual who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community in trying to make Aberdeen a better place to live and work. A George Award recipient has stepped up and taken the initiative, rather than "just letting George do it." George Award – Eric Vetter, Century 21 & RentAberdeen.com
STAR The STAR Award, stands for Students Taking Active Responsibility and it recognizes the achievements of a student service group for outstanding service to the community. STAR Award – Aberdeen Central Future Business Leaders of America EMERGING LEADERThis award is presented to an individual who is in the early stages of their career and has demonstrated leadership qualities within their businesses and community. It was established bythe Chamber to foster young leadership and enhance youth retention in our community. Emerging Leader Award – Kellie Ecker, SD Manufacturing & Technology Solutions
FAMILY BUSINESS OF THE YEARThis award recognizes the accomplishments of a family business and its contributions to the community of Aberdeen and the surrounding region. Criteria includes that at least two family members work in the business and/or multi-generational; positive contributions of the business to the welfare of the community; success of the business; and an assessment of the health and unity of the family. Family Business of the Year – Angelhaus/Gellhaus Family
HOMETOWN HEROThe Hometown Hero Award recognizes an individual or organization that has shown superior dedication to the tourism industry in the Aberdeen area. Hometown Heroes work selflessly to ensure that their group's meetings, conventions, or events are held in the community. Visitors that attend these special events fill the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and retail outlets. The dollars they spend have a tremendous impact on the welfare of our city. By going the extra mile to bring in visitors, Hometown Heroes help ensure the economic vitality of the community continues to thrive. Hometown Hero Award – South Dakota Senior Games SPOTLIGHTThe Spotlight award is presented annually to a deserving individual or group who through their advocacy has substantially contributed to our community by shining a positive light on the community or area on a statewide, regional, or national basis. Spotlight Award – Aqua Addicts
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEARIn the spirit of building on Aberdeen’s rich culture of entrepreneurship, the award was started to honor a local business person who contributes to this. Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Troy McQuillen, McQuillen Creative Group
ViTality The ViTality awarded is bestowed annually to recognize an individual who displays enthusiasm for regional development in the 17-county area of Northeastern and North Central South Dakota. The namesake for the award is Vi Stoia. Stoia was a regional thinker his entire career. Stoia passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on in the form of this award. ViTality Award – Jack Thompson and Mike Grosek
The Military & Veterans Committee of the Chamber presented the following awards:
Non-commissioned Officer of the Year – Staff Sgt. Rodney RamseyNon-commissioned Officer of the Year – Staff Sgt. Shannon WrightEnlisted Member of the Year – Specialist David SangsterOfficer of the Year – Major Sean KennyVeteran & Veteran Advocate of the Year – Rich Kezar (posthumously)