Lima Chamber honors community professionals

By Camri Nelson -

LIMA — Various organizations and business professionals in the Lima community were honored during the 16th Annual Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce Award Gala Wednesday.

Jason May won the Young Leader of the Year Award because of his professional experience, devotion to improving quality of life through civic and community service, active development of leadership skills and continued growth towards future goals.

“I want to thank the YP for providing the avenue to meet people and to network,” said May. “I want to thank First Federal Bank for allowing me to do what I do in the community. I like to thank my wife for being here tonight to support me tonight. I also want to thank my mom and dad who have been my role models and have shown me that hard work and dedication will help you get where you want to go.

Visual Eyes was nominated for the Emerging Business of the Year Award because of its uniqueness, independent ownership, successful transition from a start-up to an emerging business and community involvement.

“I’m so honored to be here for my sister as she is at a conference in California right now,” said Dawn Miller, the sister of Ann Miller, owner of Visual Eyes. “My dad and I are so proud of her and she has just worked so hard for this.”

NOW Marketing Group won the Woman of the Year Award because of its demonstrated of excellence, creativity, initiative in their business, investment in the community and its empowerment of women to be successful leaders.

“Thank you to my team and the community who believed in social media before social media was a thing,” said Jessika Phillips, founder of NOW Marketing Group. “Thank you all for supporting our vision — it means the world to me.”

Our Daily Bread won the Nonprofit of the Year Award because the organization has promoted a safe and accessible workplace, is financially sound, has mentored employees and others in the community, has participated and supported other non-profit organizations and has improved the Allen County economy.

“The best part about my job is having new volunteers come in and fall in love with the place like I did,” said Randy Kimpel of Our Daily Bread. “I want to thank the community for their donations because we have been able to survive off of just that.”

Annette Swisher of the Wingate by Wyndham won the Athena Award because she has demonstrated excellence, creativity, initiative in her business, has invested time into the community and has empowered women to be successful leaders.

“I think that this community is such an amazing place to work. I want to thank my family, kids, my husband, my amazing staff from Windgate by Wyndham that is here with me tonight and my mentor,” said Swisher. “Thanks to the community — I appreciate it.”

Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services won the Small Business of the Year Award because the company has been financially stable and profitable, is involved in the community, has 150 or fewer employees and has been in business for five years or less.

“I want to thank God, my wife, my staff and all the customers we have served over the last 31 years,” said Paul Swartz, founder of Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services. “My wife believed in me and we took a leap of faith. We have been blessed with a great staff and great community.”

“Thank you for supporting these businesses tonight,” said Jed Metzger, President of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. “They are fine examples of what it is to be great Americans of the Greater Lima Region. The awards gala is one of my favorite Chamber events because it reflects the majority of the businesses the chamber serves.”

By Camri Nelson

Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.

Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.

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