Chamber members gathered for the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Meeting at Deer Valley Banquets on Thursday, January 26th.
“Thank you to everyone who attended the SVACC Annual Dinner. The support we received not only through a highly successful 2022, but every year is appreciated. It is through the commitment and loyalty of our members that we are able to help strengthen our community and serve our businesses” shared SVACC Board President, Dr. Jon Mandrell.
The CEO Class of 2022-23 played a role in the event by setting up, decorating, and providing entertainment through the evening. CEO student, Kaiyana Washington, provided a welcome speech for the evening while classmates entertained guests with a skit “The Adventures of Space Cow.” CEO students created “out of this world” desserts for the space themed event. Walmart Distribution Center #7024 sponsored the CEO students’ meals.
Highlights of 2022 included a series of signature events such as the Golf Outing, Agribusiness Steak Fry in the Country, Manufacturing Dinner, and the Fiesta Day Parade. The Chamber also welcomed 48 new members in 2022, completed 47 Ribbon Cuttings, and awarded 12 Customer Service Awards. Over 300 individuals volunteered on committees and at community events throughout the year.
Kris Noble, SVACC Executive Director, note key strategic priorities the chamber worked on in 2022. Collaborating with Sauk Valley Community College, Sterling Main Street, the SBDC at SVCC, WACC CEO and Digital Media Arts, ROE #47, Sterling Schools Foundation, Discover Dixon, GSDC, The City of Sterling, The Sauk Valley Keystone (millennial) Initiative and other community partners, priority initiatives included workforce development, child care challenges, advocacy for business, riverfront redevelopment and promotion of shop local.
The Chamber is proud of its commitment to reinvest in the community and in 2021 provided $37,000 in scholarships, donations to not for profit organizations, and to education (such as the CEO program).
Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Champion Award was awarded to Pam Martinez, Director, Sauk Valley Foodbank, and Dr. Lori Cortez, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Sauk Valley Community College. Pam’s nominator noted that she is a “person who has helped this community in so many ways- often behind the scenes, doing whatever is necessary to make sure the work gets done, and always having a smile on her face.”
Through her role as Director of the Sauk Valley Foodbank she has implemented new databases and procedures and increased the number of volunteers while serving hundreds of families in our community weekly. She is dedicated to addressing food challenges faced by many families and
is an advocate for those with food insecurity.
Dr. Cortez was nominated for giving “people the chance to be successful through motivation, support and resources to make sure that the Sauk Valley area can be a place where others would want to live, work, and contribute.” As the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Dr. Cortez is passionate about the continued growth of the Sauk Valley, which is evident in her creation and leadership of the SVCC Impact Program, a program which allows area students to earn up to three years of tuition at Sauk Valley Community College through volunteerism within our community.
She embodies “Service Above Self” in the community where she is part of numerous organizations and boards, and at the college where she connects directly with students, always offering a listening ear and continuous support.
The Lavonne Colloton Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to Jennifer Alvarez, Surf Internet. Outgoing Board recognition was given to Sheila Martinez, US Bank; Mike Loos, Edward Jones; and Rick Turnroth, Turnroth Signs.
The SVACC represents 406 members with over 13,183 employees in 31 cities. To become a member of the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, or to find out more information, please call 815-625-2400 or visit saukvalleyareachamber.com.
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