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Chamber to be 'Working Magic' in 2007

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[JAN. 12, 2007]  Steve Smith was named as the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year at the annual banquet on Friday. He was one of several winners of the organization's new Pride and Progress awards.

Smith's active involvement as chairman and prime sponsor of the chamber's Leadership Academy and as a volunteer and prime sponsor for the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival were noted in his selection. He also serves on the chamber's board of directors. Smith, formerly with Illinois American Water, is in business development with an engineering firm, The Farnsworth Group.

Robert's Sysco Food Services, which opened a state-of-the-art distribution facility in Lincoln last summer, was recognized as New Business of the Year. By September, Sysco had employed 169 people, with the total expected to climb to 240 with its purchase of Bunn Capitol. The company immediately became involved in the community, with an open house attended by 3,000 people last fall and the recent donation of 20 truckloads of food to the Central Illinois Food Bank.

Eaton Electrical, Lincoln's largest private employer, was selected Large Business of the Year. In additional to employing 720 people, Eaton has a strong commitment to the community. Over the past two years, the company has made significant financial contributions to the YMCA art program, Junior Achievement, the elementary and high school districts, the H.O.P.E. Mobile, the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, and United Way. Eaton also prides itself on employee involvement in the community, especially in leadership positions.

The Lincoln branch of CEFCU was named Small Business of the Year. The financial institution works with prospective and existing businesses so they can receive the financial support needed to locate or expand in Lincoln. CEFCU also volunteers and financially supports community projects and events.

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Six businesses received Pride and Progress Beautification awards. Mary Todd's Hallmark and O'Donohue's were recognized for the attractive restoration of their downtown businesses. Holiday Inn Express of Lincoln and America's Best Value Inn in Atlanta received the award for refurbishing their lodging facilities. The extensive remodeling at McDonald's and the New Holland Banking Center qualified them for the award.

Cindy Stover was introduced as the chamber's board president for 2007. Stover, director of the Lincolnland Technical Education Center, has chosen "Working Magic" as the theme for her presidency. She succeeds Scott Goodman of Eaton as president. Goodman reviewed the accomplishments of the chamber during his 2006 "Soaring to New Heights" term.

New board members introduced at the luncheon were Eileen Higgs Parn, of Robert's Sysco; Dave Schonauer, Illinois American Water; Kevin Kurtz, Stine Seed; Marty Ahrends, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital; and Don Peasley, Peasley Funeral Homes.

Retiring board members Linda Marini, Dave Hawkinson, Jeff Mayfield and Diane Slack were recognized for the involvement. New members, those joining the chamber in 2006, were inducted into the organization during the banquet.

The chamber board has planned its 2007 initiatives to focus on work force programs, after chamber members cited work force issues as their top concern in a recent survey. "Business activity cannot take place without a skilled and available work force," Stover noted.

[Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce news release]


Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce

Bobbi Abbott

Executive Director

303 S. Kickapoo St.

Lincoln, IL 62656



The local chamber of commerce is a catalyst for community progress, bringing business and professional people together to work for the common good of Lincoln and Logan County.

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