The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of their prestigious Chamber Business Awards, which will be presented at their annual meeting and awards dinner on Friday, January 28, 2011. “This event is a wonderful way to recognize the business community and individuals who work hard to make Montgomery County successful,” states Chamber President, Deborah Auspelmyer. “It is an event that applauds our community’s efforts and installs our new board of directors.”
The Thomas B. Constantino Entrepreneurial Award, which pays tribute to a company that embodies the entrepreneurial spirit by organizing, managing, and assuming the risks of building a business and persevering to see these efforts come to fruition; will be presented to Charlene Brown of the Garden Bug.
Charlene Brown of The Garden Bug
The Garden Bug began almost 10 years ago with a few pumpkins and a one-room gift show with a dirt floor, no front door, or lights. They had a few fall bows, wreaths and decorations and were only open September and October. Over the years the Garden Bug has grown in many ways. They are now open April through December and January through March after many hours and years of hard work repairing and restoring the 100 year-old dairy barn in which they are located. It has grown to four rooms filled with country and primitive treasures including wallpaper, valences, candles, wreathes, furniture, pictures and much more. Many of the items are hand-crafted on site as well. Two greenhouses have been added to hold the many specialty potted flowers, hanging baskets, and annual plants including mums and pumpkins.
“I can truly say I love my job, from creating displays in the gift shop to planting flowers, fixing the old barn and greeting everyone at the Garden Bug,” states Charlene Brown, Proprietor. “I would like to thank all of my customers from out of town and nearby for supporting the Garden Bug and the Chamber for their support over the years in announcing upcoming events on their website, and letting us host an after hours mixer. I would not be successful without their help and support. Also a special thank you to my supporting family.”
Nominees also included Adirondack Fireplace Company, Joe Giardino, and Fariello’s.
The Herbert T. Singer Community Service Award, given to a person or persons who contribute to the betterment the community through their selfless dedication and service, will be presented to Dr. Benjamin Button.
Dr. Benjamin Button
Dr. Button has been an active member of the Inman Senior Center for 4 years and in that time has been an asset to the organization. For many years, Dr. Button was active in missionary work in Africa and Afghanistan. Although his specialty is orthopedics, he served as a general practitioner overseas and was recognized for his humanitarian and missionary work. He went on over 40 missions spanning 14 years, from 1990 until 2004, dedicated to helping those less fortunate and traveling to regions with little or no medical services. Dr. Button has been a friend to the Senior Center, currently serving on their Board of Directors and taking and active role in the finances and administration of the Center. He is a wonderful example to seniors and an invaluable adviser.
“I‘m honored to receive the Chamber’s Herbert T. Singer Community Service Award,” states Dr. Button. “It is a great honor to be associated with all the previous winners. I have been fortunate to serve the local community, by working in both St Mary’s and Amsterdam Memorial Hospital for 27 years, holding many positions and spending many nights working in the Emergency Room. After retiring in 1990 I had the opportunity to serve in Rwanda, during the massacres; in Sudan, during the Civil War; in Albania during the time of the refugees; and in Afghanistan during the War.”
Nominees included: Bob Fetterly and John Lesniewski.
The recipient of the Chamber’s Barbara V. Spraker Tourism Award given to an individual, event, business or attraction that has done an outstanding job the past year in bringing tourists to Montgomery County. The award is presented in honor of Barbara V. Spraker for her innumerable efforts in support of Montgomery County and tourism. This year’s award will be presented to Light Up the Sky with the Marching Rams.
Light Up the Sky with The AHS Marching Rams
Over the course of the event it is wonderful to see people who come from out of the area including Albany, Bronx, Brooklyn, Burnt Hills, Caroga Lake, Ohio, Clifton Park, Cooperstown, Florida, Gilboa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Rotterdam, Schoharie, Speculator, Syracuse, Vermont, and Canada to see this temporary annual display. Vehicles from out of state have even commented that they make a pilgrimage each year to see what has been changed and added to the show. Visitors to Light Up the Sky use local gas stations, shopping areas and restaurants. Tourism is more than just sales tax dollars.
This event has been heightened by the sheer giving, willingness to work together and pleasure in the months it takes to prepare of the December event. The dozens of people it takes to pull this event off have become like family who know a goal and work towards it. The Marching Rams have established a holiday tradition in our city with a community of families that donated their time, effort and talents. You won’t see store bought displays but displays that were designed, cut, painted and hung by volunteers.
The band members that benefit from this event have become tourism ambassadors through the years highlighting the Amsterdam High School Marching Rams and Montgomery County in a positive light as they have participated in events nationwide such as Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Hollywood Bowl, The Peach Bowl and New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Additionally, many pounds of canned goods are collected for local food pantries and toys are collected for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program though this event.
”We are honored to receive the Barbara V. Spraker Tourism Award,” states Linda Selbert, Chairwoman of the Event. “Light Up The Sky With The Marching Rams is a culmination of the efforts of hundreds of Marching Rams, Boosters and Alumni, who have given their time, dedication, love and hard work to create this joyous event for the community. It has created tourism for Montgomery County for the past twelve years.
Nominees included: Amsterdam Castle and Elve’s Night Out
The recipient of the Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year Award, which pays tribute to a business or industry that has made a positive contribution to the economic growth and well being of Montgomery County, is Richardson Brands.
Richardson Brands is known across America for the development of soft, tender, high quality pillow mints that have graced the dining tables of homes and restaurants since 1893. Through the years, Richardson’s chocolate filled candy covered mints have become the preeminent ‘thank you’ used by thousands of fine dining establishments throughout the U.S.A. to show customers appreciation for their patronage. Through both organic growth and acquisition, Richardson Brands has expanded to offer a selection of fine, highly recognizable nostalgic favorites. Gravymaster® Browning and Seasoning Sauce, Dryden & Palmer® Rock Candy, Beechies® Gum and Bogdon® Old Fashioned Candy Sticks® are included in their impressive portfolio.
All of Richardson’s brands carry a long heritage of quality and staying power: Dryden & Palmer was introduced in 1880, Richardson Mints in 1893, Gravymaster in 1935, Beechies in 1936, and Bogdon in 1945. 2010 brought new flavors, line extensions and very contemporary usage for Richardson’s nostalgia brands. By early 2011, all of their brands will be produced at the company’s headquarters, in Canajoharie. An integral part of Richardson’s longer term vision is to become the pre-eminent employer in Canajoharie. Richardson is committed to expanding its operations in Canajoharie, and to work with local and state officials to restore the economic vitality of this community. Richardson has plenty of room to grow in Canajoharie, where its 180,000 square foot facility proudly carries the State of New York’s coveted Good Manufacturing Practices Seal of Approval (GMP), as well as a superior rating, the highest awarded by AIB (American Institute of Baking) International.
Richardson Brands Company has made Canajoharie the center of its new product development unit, furthering the company’s goal to double in size in three to five years. The company has moved about 40 jobs to the area from a combination of positions at the company’s now-closed Branford, Conn. location and its Kansas City, Missouri plant, and plans to move 30 more from Kansas City in January.
Richardson Foods owns and manages the Richardson Brands of mint candy, Dryden and Palmer rock candy, Bogdon reception sticks and Beechies Gum, as well as Gravymaster cooking and grilling sauce.
“Richardson Brands is very proud to be selected to receive the Chamber’s Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year Award, thereby joining an illustrious group of companies that have played a key role in the economy and life of Montgomery County,” said Richardson CEO Don Butte. “Richardson has relied on skilled and dedicated employees–often generations of many families–to manufacture high quality candy and other food products that are enjoyed in homes and restaurants in the U.S.A. and internationally since 1893. Through the years, Richardson’s chocolate filled candy covered mints have become the preeminent ‘thank you’ used by thousands of fine dining establishments to show customers appreciation for their patronage.”
“Richardson’s presence in Montgomery County is steadily growing as we consolidate all of our businesses in our Canajoharie Plant, including Gravy Master, Dryden & Palmer Rock Candy and Bogdon’s Candy,” continued Mr. Butte. “This growth underscores our commitment to Montgomery County and is consistent with the spirit of the Chamber’s Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year Award.”
Nominees also included: Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Stewart Family Funeral Homes, Inc., Hannaford Brothers, and Helmont Mills.
The Chamber’s Agricultural Award will be presented to Karen’s Produce. It was April of the year 2001 when Stephen and Karen Terleckey came to their children with an opportunity to purchase a farm stand formally known as the Dufel Scho-Mo Farm. From that point on, hard work, determination, family bonds and dedicated customers have created what is now known as Karen’s Produce and Ice Cream.
Today Karen’s Produce and Ice Cream serves a variety of homemade foods as well as hard and soft ice cream. On the 100 acres of land bordering the Schoharie Creek and the Mohawk River, many fruits and vegetables are harvested which are then sold at the main stand and Farmers Markets throughout Montgomery, Fulton and Schenectady Counties.
This truly is a family run business. Whether visiting the main site of any one of the Farmers Market, you will be sure to see a member of the Terleckey family. And, if anyone wonders where the name Karen’s Produce comes from, it is derived the person who always keeps it all together, their mother, Karen Terleckey.
“On behalf of the Terleckey Family, we are honored to be chosen for the Chamber’s Agricultural Award,” state the Terleckey’s.
Nominees included: Herba’s Acres Tree Farm, Hummingbird Hills Winery, and Natural Bridge Farm.
The Young Professional Award, which recognizes young professionals whose commitment, enthusiasm, and positive energy contribute to the betterment of Montgomery County, will be presented to Julie Pierce, Community Benefits and Outreach Manager at St. Mary’s Hospital.
Most recently, Julie extended her role of providing a wide range of health-related educational programs to include the critical job of identifying unmet community needs and assisting the hospital in assessing the options and possibilities for needed services. For years, Julie has handled her responsibilities with a positive attitude; her passion for the vulnerable and her community spirit are a perfect fit for St. Mary’s Hospital. If you ask anyone about Julie’s work – perhaps some agency with whom she has collaborated on a healthcare seminar, or a member of one of the St. Mary’s support groups, or an associate who has been fortunate enough to have Julie as a leadership training facilitator – you will hear about a woman who shares her knowledge, her compassion and her enthusiasm for making our community a better place to live.
Julie holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Oswego State University, a Masters of Science degree from the State University of New York at Albany and has completed additional post-graduate work from the College of St. Rose. She is a graduate of the 2007 Fulton-Montgomery Leadership Academy, a member of The Chamber’s Young Professional Committee, TILT, a former member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors (2008 and 2009) and a fitness instructor at Alpin Haus. Julie serves as Second Ward Alderwoman for the City of Amsterdam where she chairs both the Shared Services and Personnel Committees. She is also the proud mother of a daughter, Emma, who Julie boasts is her greatest accomplishment and inspiration in life.
“I am grateful to be recognized as “Young Professional of the Year,” states Ms. Pierce. “It is an honor and a privilege to work for St. Mary’s Hospital and to have the opportunity to serve both personally and professionally towards the betterment of our community”.
Nominees for this award included: Jennifer Moyer, Peter Rose, Crystal Ricciuti, and Bethany Schumann-McGhee.
Additionally, the Workforce Development Board, representing Montgomery County, will present their Business Partner of the Year Award to River Ridge Living Center, LLC. River Ridge Living Center, LLC is a Skilled Nursing Facility that specializes in long and short term, inpatient and outpatient skilled nursing. River Ridge Living Center, LLC is located in a quiet and picturesque residential neighborhood in Amsterdam, New York. Owned and operated by Susanne and Paul Guttenberg, River Ridge Living Center, LLC is a warm and inviting place. The staff is dedicated to enhancing the lives of their residents. River Ridge Living Center has been utilizing the Workforce Solutions Center’s services to find their next employees. They post their open positions with the Central Job Bank and have recently had a success in utilizing the monthly newsletter to obtain qualified candidates for employment. They are presently taking advantage of Customized Training Program incentives to cut the cost of training and further development of their employees’ knowledge.
RiverRidge continues to strive to be consistent in their efforts to hire and train new workers and maintain a stable work environment for their employees. They have been taking advantage of Customized Training Program incentives to cut the cost of training and further enhance their employees’ knowledge. They strive to ensure that their staff is well trained in all aspects of their job so that they provide top quality care to their residents.
Join The Chamber in honoring these recipients, Friday, January 28, at The RiverStone Manor, a Chamber Member since 2004. The is the largest networking event of The Chamber with an annual attendance of over 300 people. Sponsors to date include Liberty, Rose & Kiernan, and Quandt’s Foodservice Distributors.
For more information about the dinner, place an ad in the program booklet, or to make a reservation, please call The Chamber at 842-8200.