Chamber Banquet Gives Reason to Celebrate, Amid Chiefs Loss

Okay, so the Chiefs lost on the evening of January 16th, but that didn’t stop a good time from being had at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet that same night. First of all, I would note, the upstairs bathrooms just outside the Schendel Conference Center were very well kept. I know because I spent quite some time in there adjusting my tie and making sure my teeth were free of any (first-impression dampening) food bits. I needn’t have worried, I ended up having a great time while also being introduced to many fantastic people from our Ottawa community. 2016 Chamber Board of Directors Chairman, Shawn Turner even taught me the ancient secret of the always ready, two-minute speech.

The evening started out with a silent auction as part of the Chamber’s fundraiser. The net proceeds raised ($4,931) will be split, half going towards the Chamber foundation and half being used to continue to support our non-profit partners such as local schools, youth groups, and the like. The pre-dinner bidding, provided a perfect opportunity for chamber members to socialize while perusing the assortment of items up for auction. There were a number of interesting items up for bid thanks to many of our member businesses which provided auction items. I actually managed a winning bid myself.  Thanks to Exclusive 3rd Street Spa, my girlfriend will be getting a pedicure, which is sure to award me serious brownie points, after we had to spend Valentine’s Day driving for ten hours.

silent auction socializing award presentation alternate award presentation

Photo Credit: Rick Oglesby 

Once everyone had found their seats, our charismatic Master of Ceremonies, Dennis Tyner led us to one of the best parts of the evening for a poor college intern, the food. Sodexo catered the event and the lemon parmesan chicken was delicious (truthfully anything above Ramen noodles was going to satisfy me). Throughout the evening, we heard from key speakers including Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce President, John Coen, Ottawa City Mayor, Mike Skidmore and 2016 Chairman, Shawn Turner among others. As dinner wrapped up, the live entertainment proceeded. Not only did I attend my first silent auction that evening, I attended my first live auction as well. It was a welcome respite from another night of writing papers for classes. The remainder of the evening entertained an enjoyable balance between the live auction items and the presentation of awards for the 2015 Chamber year.

The award winners include: Sabina Huskey (Favorite Smile Award), Casey Colbern (Horizon Award), the Ottawa Library Children’s Department (Quarterly Image Award), Scott Schultz (Entrepreneur Award), USD 290 Board of Education (Community Builder Award), and Blake Jorgensen (Russel Crites Award). Once again, congratulations to all of our award winning members. The Ottawa community is grateful for these exceptional people’s hard work.  As far as award ceremonies go, this was by far the most entertaining I’ve attended. It was wonderful to have a chance to meet the hardworking, kind, funny individuals who are part of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce. I eagerly look forward to further getting to know this amazing community as it continues to grow. Don’t forget to check back here over the next few months for our new chamber member spotlight blog series, including individual pieces on our award winners and new members!