Rockwall Chamber hosts annual awards gala

Local businesses, members recognized for service to Chamber, community 

(ROCKWALL-January 11, 2013) The Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its Annual Partnership Awards & Appreciation Gala Jan. 10, recognizing area businesses and individuals for outstanding contributions to the Chamber and community over the past year.
The highly acclaimed Rockwall High School Jazz Band provided the evening's entertainment.

The Rockwall High School Jazz Band set the tone for the “All That Jazz”-themed event, which drew more than 250 Chamber members, guests and dignitaries to the Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront for a lively evening of entertainment, cocktails, dinner, and presentation of awards.

“This past year has been great for Rockwall. Tonight, we celebrate successes for both the Chamber and the community,” said Chamber president Dana Macalik, who experienced many of those successes first-hand in her inaugural year at the helm.  “The Chamber has been a long standing part of this community since 1929. If you look at the successes we’ve had in our community, and the successes that the Chamber has experienced, it’s easy to see why we celebrate Rockwall, and why each of us loves Rockwall.”

City Manager Rick Crowley (left) and Mayor David Sweet accept the Partner of the Year Award from Chamber president Dana Macalik.

Macalik added that “it’s easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is standing up and taking action. We are here to celebrate the enthusiasm, commitment and sheer hard work of many individuals and businesses.”

Introduced in 2011, and back by popular demand, was the Chamber Partner of the Year Award – the “granddaddy of honors,” according to Macalik. Selected by the Chamber Board of Directors and Chamber staff, the honor went to the City of Rockwall, for its direct financial support and leadership role in support of the Chamber’s mission.

The Hilton Dallas Rockwall Lakefront won the Corporate Business Partner of the Year Award.

The Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront was named Corporate Business Partner of the Year. This top achievement “recognizes a corporation’s involvement in the Chamber and support of community issues, enhancing the economy of Rockwall through successful and profitable operation of their business, exemplifying innovative leadership and outstanding customer service.” With more than 100 employees, the Hilton actively participates in Chamber events, assists in setting the tone for Chamber initiatives, provides financial support, and sets an example that encourages other corporate businesses to support the Chamber.

Nominees for the Corporate Business Partner of the Year Award included Alliance Bank, American National Bank/American National Wealth Management, Lake Pointe Medical Center, Oncor, Farmers Electric Coop, and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall.

Darby Burkey, owner of Rockwall Flowers, accepts the award for Small Business Partner of the Year.

Small Business Partner of the Year was awarded to Rockwall Flower & Design, owned by Darby Burkey.  The award recognizes small businesses for their exceptional pride, passion and performance within the community and the Chamber; and for their partnership and involvement in the development of Chamber events and programs.

“From supplying all the beautiful décor at every event we had last year, to popcorn boxes with tickets in them that just happened to be the same color as the drink tickets were at the Rockin’ at The Harbor event, to providing 52 weeks worth of floral arrangements that greet our guests each week at the Chamber offices, to chairing the 2013 Leadership Rockwall Class…the Chamber recognizes one of Rockwall’s oldest leading floral design companies and the talented event planner and owner who strives toward community involvement, and devotes time and energy to our cause,” said Macalik.

Nominees for the Small Business Partner of the Year included Sail with Scott, Ebby Halliday, Timpa Law Offices, Lakeside Party Rental, My Computer Guy, Planet Rockwall and Rest Haven Funeral Home and the Flower Box.

Stewart Storms was honored with the Spirit of Rockwall Award.

The Spirit of Rockwall Award was presented to Stewart Storms, Vice President of American National Bank. Nominees for this award actively promote the Chamber and are involved in Chamber events, exhibiting exemplary leadership and service to the community. Storms has an MBA in Leadership, and is active in the Kiwanis Club, Meals on Wheels, and the RISD mentoring program. He is a new member of the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation Board and serves on the Elizabeth Toon Foundation Board in Dallas. He participated in the 2011-12 Leadership Rockwall class, and served as chair for the Tri-Rock Triathlon.

“Stewart co-chaired on the Chamber’s largest and most successful golf tournaments last year and was a great asset with Rockin’ at The Harbor, as he plunged through the rain to help with logistics and clean-up. Overall, he has devoted numerous hours and energy to various programs and events and encouraged other members to become more involved with the Chamber,” Macalik said.

Others in the running for the Spirit of Rockwall Award were Karen Coughlin, Sheila Hair, Cindy Tayem and Lesli Johnson.

James Nelson is Chamber Ambassador of the Year.

The Chamber Ambassador of the Year is James Nelson with Alliance Bank, recognized for demonstrating leadership, service and spirit for the Chamber. This award is determined by an annual point system based on various public relations criteria.

Sheila Hair of My Computer Guys leads the award-winning "Rockets" Ambassador Team.

“Chamber Ambassadors are our lifeblood. This position can be time consuming – from assisting at registration tables, helping generate leads for new memberships, handling ceremonial duties at ribbon cutting ceremonies and grand openings, and acting as a diplomats throughout the year,” Macalik explained.

The Chamber Ambassador Team of the Year is the Rockets, led by Sheila Hair. The Rockets are Susan Allen, Mary Bell, Vivian Brown, Lynette Coughlin, Brenda Cross, Joe Delbert, Cathey Doigg, Kay Dutta, Bill Forbus, Terry Guess, Tim Nichols, Kim Nguyen, Larry Parks, Diane Porter, Misti Potter, Nancy Runge, Jeanie Swanson, Dan Shaughnessy, and Joe Zellars.

Outgoing Chairman Cindy Tayem, center, earns the Chamber Director of the Year Award. Cindy Paris (right), with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, will serve as the 2013 Chairman.

Cindy Tayem earned the Chamber Director of the Year Award.

“She is starting her seventh year on the Board,” said Macalik, “but she has played a leadership role since the mid-90’s. She has demonstrated overall integrity, ongoing commitment and passion for the Chamber. She has exceeded expectations and supported our mission by partnering with other Chamber Board members and membership alike. Her commitment to the issues and initiatives for our Chamber is unwavering.  She is the type of leader that can be counted on.”

Celebrating 40 years with the Chamber, Judy Harris received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Judy Harris of Ebby Halliday, who was invited to speak about her 40+ years of service with the Rockwall Chamber, was surprised with the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her lifetime commitment to community development. The award was established and presented last year to Larry Parks.

“This award is reserved for those very special people who have skills and talents and exhibit pride, passion and performance in the world of business and community,” said Macalik.

Posing with Cindy Tayem (left) and Dana Macalik (far right) are outgoing Board members Stan Lowrance, Judy Harris, Rick Filip, and Bill Hair. Not pictured: Randall Noe and Troy Reimer

Also honored during the event were outgoing members of the Chamber Board of Directors: Rick Filip, Bill Hair, Judy Harris, Stan Lowrance, Randall Noe,  and Troy Reimer.

The incoming 2013 Board of Directors were recognized: Jon Bailey, Liz Beauchamp, Darby Burkey, Karen Coughlin, Cheryl Dunlop, Kevin Fowler, Rob Grand-Lienard, Lesli Johnson, Lou Johnson, Brenda Kennedy, Brett Lee, Mike Mishler, James Nelson, Cindy Paris, Bryan Pope, Nancy Runge, Scott Self, Stewart Storms, Stephen Straughan, Cindy Tayem, and Kim Timpa.

Chamber staff members were also in the spotlight: Paula Kerr, Events; Cindy Benefield, Operations; Pat Moore and Sue Norwood.

The 2013 Rockwall Area Chamber Membership Directory, produced by Texas Media Pros, was also introduced.

Chamber sponsors were given honor and thanks for their encouragement and support: Alliance Bank, American National Bank, American National Bank Trust, BB&T, City of Rockwall, Ebby Halliday Realtors, Farmers Electric Coop, Hilton Dallas-Rockwall Lakefront, Lake Pointe Medical Center, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, My Computer Guy, Rockwall Economic Development Corporation, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall, Texas Media Pros, Timpa Law Office, and Weight Off for Life.

“The attendance of elected officials as well as business and community leaders at this year’s gala underscores the ongoing commitment and involvement of our members as well as the growing influence of the organization as an agent for positive change in the communities we serve,” Macalik said. “In our world, you can never recognize too many great people, and that is why we do the work to produce our annual champions of the Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce.”

By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News, all rights reserved.  Photos by Blue Ribbon News.

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