Award winners

CONGRATULATIONS to these award winners from Thursday's Chamber Annual Awards Gala! From left are Outstanding Contribution Award winners Adam Kennedy, Jean Van Dam and Susan Conklin with  Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award winner Bill Scott, and Chamber Executive Director Kim Akin. Not pictured is Ambassador of the Year Brian Kozminski. ( Photo by Kim Mettler of Michigan Barefoot Memories Photography.)

Chamber honors community leaders, installs board
A crowd of nearly 300 people attended the Boyne Area Chamber Annual Awards Gala at Boyne Mountain Thursday night, enjoying great food and drink, entertainment from Nelson Olstrom and the presentation of awards to community leaders. The Chamber Board of Directors was installed by Mayor Tom Neidhamer, with John Cool of Charlevoix State Bank taking over as board president for the year ahead. Chris Bandy of Local Flavor Bookstore was honored for serving as president for the past year.
 Full board
Here are the award winners:

> Outstanding Contribution Award - Susan Conklin
Presented by Chris Staub of Gold Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Susan is being honored for her many contributions to our community, most recently with her tireless commitment to the Good Neighbors Food Pantry. Susan saw a need in Boyne City and has made such a huge difference to people in the Boyne Area who need food for their family. Food is such a basic need to all of us yet the thought that some of our neighbors would struggle to feed their families has been answered with Good Neighbors Food Pantry. The pantry supplies food to families weekly as well special Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to these families. Susan Conklin and the Good Neighbor Food Pantry are a treasure to have in our community.

> Outstanding Contribution Award - Jean Van Dam
Presented by Rob Zuehlke of Gold Sponsor Lake Area Collision
One of the people nominating Jean for this award wrote: "I cannot think of a person more worthy, a person who more exemplifies Boyne values of community service, innovation, collaboration, integrity, and pride in the city of Boyne. Whether it is helping to staff one of the many fundraising events for the Farmers Market or Pavilion improvements or sitting with children whose parents are in need - I have never heard her saying "no" when assistance is requested. She has served on the boards of Charlevoix County Community Foundation and as a member of their environmental committee. She has volunteered for the Women's Resource Center and on the Raven Hill Discovery Center board of directors for years. She has aided in the fundraising for the Pavilion redevelopment at Veterans Park and has volunteered at the Food Truck Rally every year. She has volunteered for the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association, manning booths, raising money and building trails - knowing the benefit it would bring to the entire community. Jean and her husband Steve have provided living wage jobs at Van Dam Custom Boats for four decades and are always looking for ways to improve the services offered to her employees - to help them become more successful."

> Outstanding Contribution Award - Adam Kennedy
Presented by Jeff Derenzy from Gold Sponsor Family Fare Supermarket
Adam is outgoing, friendly and an expert on all things Boyne River. He cares about this vital part of our environment and does an excellent job leading the Friends of the Boyne River as its president. He has directed a huge effort to protect the river by encouraging everyone to "Throw water not balloons" during the Fourth of July Raft Race. This effort has received support from the Chamber, the City, other organizations and the general public. As a result, the amount of balloon fragments in the river was extremely last year. Adam also has a team that monitors the river, spring and fall, for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. He heads up our part of the Annual River Sweep, which is a national organization. Adam also kayaks the Boyne River at least once a month, year-round, and writes about the river conditions including the sightings of birds and animals. All 100-plus members of the Friends of the Boyne River are happy to have Adam as President.

> Ambassador of the Year Award - Brian "Koz" Kozminski 
Presented by Pat Little from Gold Sponsor Boyne City Public Schools
Better known to many as simply "Koz", Brian truly exemplified the ideal Ambassador to the Chamber in 2018. Koz is known community-wide as an amazing server at Café Sante, a fantastic river guide for fly fishing on the area's rivers with his company, True North Trout, and a superb family man, among many other things. As busy as he is, Koz always makes time to pitch in and help with Chamber events. He knows everyone and he is always willing to lend a helping hand. Whether he is closing streets at 5:30 a.m. for Harvest Festival and helping vendors find their spaces, or swimming in the river to set up the Duck Race finish line (and fishing ducks out of the river after the race), or blocking parking spaces for Sidewalk Sales, or taking the second serving shift during the Beer Block Party, which is super hard to fill - he does it all with a smile and a laugh. Most importantly, he comes back again and again to keep helping out and making a difference in the Boyne community. We've seen him picking up garbage at the river mouth and discarded clothes on the boardwalk by the river to keep our city looking its best. He even helped cover the chamber office a couple of times when staff was in need. And he was out front this evening, helping to check you all in at the registration desk! He attends almost everything the Chamber organizes and is one of the biggest Boyne cheerleaders we've got. Thank you, Koz, for all your hard work over the years and for making our Chamber that much better. Congratulations!

> Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award - Bill Scott of Great Lakes Energy, p resented by Jeff Wellman
Bill has been instrumental in Great Lakes Energy's new fiber internet project, Truestream, which launched this year and will bring high-speed internet service to rural underserved areas. The project is also bringing many new jobs to Boyne City, where GLE's headquarters is located. The first phase of the project includes Emmet County and parts of Charlevoix and Cheboygan counties. The project will help drive economic development in the area by enabling access to high speed fiber in rural areas. Bill also serves on the board of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance. Great Lakes Energy has been in business in Boyne City since the 30's. Under his leadership, GLE supports many local community organizations and festivals as part of its commitment to community. The Great Lakes Energy People Fund grant program awarded more than $200,000 last year to nonprofit groups, many in the Boyne Area. Since 1999, the People Fund has awarded more than $3.5 million to local nonprofits.
> Visit the Chamber Facebook page early next week for more Awards Gala photos from Kim Mettler of Michigan Barefoot Memories Photography.


Thanks to our sponsors!


  • Boyne Avenue Greenhouse
  • Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital
  • 4Front Credit Union
  • Boyne Arts Collective
  • Boyne Boat Yard/Boyne Yacht Sales
  • Boyne City Kiwanis Club Boyne Valley Lions Club
  • Charlevoix County Community Foundation
  • Charlevoix State Bank
  • Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors
  • Great Lakes Energy
  • Mason, Kammermann & Rohrback, PC
  • North Harbor Christie's International Real Estate
  • Pat O' Brien & Associates
  • Raven Hill Discovery Center
  • Schraw & Associates
  • Van Dam Custom Boats 

> Yesterday's full Chamber/Main Street newsletter.
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