Elgin Chamber honors best member businesses, brightest volunteers
On Thursday, March 19, the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce honored its best and brightest member businesses and volunteers at their annual awards luncheon at Elgin Community College.
The ceremony was lead by EAC board chairman Terry Royer of Winergy Systems and emceed by EAC vice chair of membership Jaci Kator of AT&T.
• The Elgin Development Group Innovation award, which recognizes the company for leading the way in their industry, was awarded to BluePoint Alert Solutions. Initially installed in Burlington Central High School with pull stations similar to the iconic "red" fire pull stations, blue strobe lights were placed throughout the school allowing for instant notification to both the police department and occupants in the building. Designed to protect lives during an intruder incident, BluePoint Alert Solutions provides a rapid response through this rapid alert system.
• The Non-Profit Community Partner Award went to Renz Addiction Counseling Center. Founded in 1961 by a small group of concerned business leaders who wanted to confront the growing alcoholism issues that they were witnessing in the workforce. Today, what once started out as a small, one-counselor agency known as the Community Concern for Alcoholism has grown into a multifaceted, outpatient treatment center that offers a wide-range of substance abuse treatment and prevention education services.
• The Enhancing Elgin award was awarded to HOPE Fair Housing Center. who joined with civic organizations to promote Elgin's affordable housing and promote Elgin as a diverse, inclusive community. To get people to think about moving to Elgin, HOPE ran a successful marketing campaign known as "ELG-INstead", which encouraged people outside the area to consider "Elgin instead of where you're living now"
• The Elgin Development Group Workforce Award, which honors a business or organization that is making exceptional strides in workforce training, was awarded to the Manufacture Careers Internship program. The program was designed to help employers find and hire young adults interested in manufacturing, the program features a three-week "manufacturing boot camp" where participants learn personal responsibility and soft skills, receive OSHA training and tour manufacturing facilities. After completing the "boot camp", the young adults are eligible to participate in a paid three-week internship at one of our area's leading employers.
• The Rookie Member of the Year Award went to Keith Rauschenberger of Rauschenberger Financial Consultants for helping to found the chamber's Elgin Area Small Business Network, which promotes the establishment and growth of small business. Leveraging existing resources, this small business community and network continues to grow through a semi-independent online forum based on the concept of entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs. He is also working with chamber staff and volunteers to launch and develop curriculum for the new Elgin Area Small Business Academy.
• The Showcase Award, which lauds a business owner who has helped spur economic development in the community, was awarded to Bob and George Karas of Alexander's Cafe for their recent modernization of the interior and exterior of the 6,000-square-foot family style restaurant.
• The Membership Volunteer of the Year Award, which is given to an active chamber member who is exemplary in supporting the mission of the chamber through voluntarism, was awarded to Jaci Kator of AT&T for her leadership on the chamber's membership council and board of directors.
School District U-46 CEO Tony Sanders also presented the School District's Business/School Partnership Award to the City of Elgin for their work with establishing the Alignment Collaborative for Education, a collective impact organization serving the 12 northwest Illinois communities around U-46 and Central 301 public school districts. Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and Cherie Murphy were on hand to accept the award.