The Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce named Tricia O'Brien as its new president -- in addition to naming the winners of six awards -- at its third annual Celebrations of Excellence dinner last Thursday night.
O'Brien, a former employee of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, succeeded the retiring Cheri Sisson on Monday.
Sisson said the relatively new tradition of Celebrations of Excellence was a high note for her to retire on.
"It's the most fun of all the events I do every year," she said on her last day with the chamber she joined in 2008.
Two of the events' annual awards are chosen by the board of directors, recognizing businesses that have gone above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of the chamber.
The Chairman's Award went to Tate & Lyle, a very active member which does research and development in Hoffman Estates, Sisson said.
The Splash Award has very similar criteria but goes to a new member of the chamber -- in this case Audi of Hoffman Estates, recently relocated from Schaumburg.
"They just joined this year and joined in a big way," Sisson said. "They're a big asset in Hoffman Estates."
The remaining four awards are voted on by the chamber members at large, with more than 500 votes cast in each category.
Business of the Year went to W-T Engineering Inc., recognizing its significant involvement with the Hoffman Estates Park District and its foundation as well as its reaching out to students in the community.
"This is very well deserved," Sisson said.
The SOHO (Small-Office Home Office) Award, which recognizes an outstandingly involved company with five or fewer employees, went to ACM Realty Services LLC -- better known as Realtor Linda Dressler.
Though the chamber is blessed to have several large companies among its members, the majority fit into the category of five or fewer employees, Sisson said.
There were three nominees for the Public Sector Partner Award this year -- the village of Hoffman Estates, Hoffman Estates Park District and Harper College -- and the park district won.
"Life gets pretty boring without a place to play," Sisson said.
The final award, Volunteer of the Year, is the only one that recognizes an individual person. This year's went to Mike Anzalone of BluePrints By Design -- a true ambassador for the chamber, Sisson said.
"This was very, very well deserved," she added. "He's made my life so easy in this job!"
Sisson's immediate post-retirement plans include looking after her mother in Sioux City, Iowa, but she is also engaged and eventually planning to relocate to Lake Geneva, Wis.