The Woodlands Area Chamber Of Commerce Celebrates The 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon
The Woodlands, Texas (SEPTEMBER, 2016) The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated 38 years at the 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, September 16 at The Woodlands Country Club – Palmer Course in the Legacy Ballroom.
“The Annual Awards Luncheon has been a steadfast event in The Chamber’s history. It is important to not only commemorate and celebrate but also document the individuals that impact our community each year.” Says J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce.
The luncheon first recognized the 2015-2016 Board of Directors & Vice Presidents for their service and commitment to The Chamber.2015-2016 Board Vice Presidents include: Vice President of Business Opportunities, Jay Tompkins of MiddletonRaines+Zapata, LLP; Vice President, Chairman’s Appointment, Dr. Ann Snyder of The Woodlands Township; Vice President of Committed Volunteers, Mike Fortner of Open Door Benefits, LLC.; Vice President of Economic Development, Greg Usher of Cypressbrook Company; Vice President of Financial Visibility, Melissa Young of Corporate Incentives; Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Stuart Lapp of Stibbs & Co., P.C. Attorneys; Vice President of Legendary Leadership. Frank Holmes of Sam Houston State University; Vice President & Treasurer, Angela Strong of A Strong CPA, LLC; Vice President of Visibility & Image, Jenny Taylor of Market Street; Gil Staley of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership & Immediate Past Chair, Danny Schroder of Pioneer Bank.
The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce 2015-2016 Board of Directors recognized include: Brittani Burress of Triumvir Medical Partners Marketing, LLC; Dr. Curtis Null of Conroe Independent School District; David Argueta of CHI St. Luke’s Health – The Woodlands Hospital; Eric Saville of Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse; Josh Urban of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital; Julie Ambler of The Woodlands Christian Academy; Linda Head of Lone Star Corporate College; Monica Bomkamp Enia of Education for Tomorrow Alliance; Nick Wolda of The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau; Paco Rivera of Green Bank; Randy Lovelace of Paragon Independent Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Robert Heineman of The Woodlands Development Company / A Division of The Howard Hughes Corporation & Steve Berry of Waste Connections.
“The Chamber is driven by volunteer leaders.” Says Angela Storseth-Cooper, Director of Events & Governmental Affairs at The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce and Team Coordinator for Special Events Teams, the Business Advocacy Council & Mobility Team. “We rely heavily on our team leaders to pull off thirteen annual events and ongoing committees.”
The Team Leaders recognized include: Affinity Team Leader, Jay Tompkins of MiddletonRaines+Zapata, LLP; Business Advocacy Council & Whistle Stop Tour Team Leader, Linda Nelson of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital; Business After Hours Team Leader, Russell Kalousek of Link Magazine/ Graphic Design FX; 2015 Cards & Cocktail Team Leader, Paco Rivera of Green Bank; 2016 Chairman’s Ball Team Leader, Kathy Rifaat of Interfaith of The Woodlands; Community Job Fair Team Leader, Monica Bomkamp Enia of Education for Tomorrow Alliance; Community Relations & Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Team Leader, Leslie Williams of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion; Diplomat Team Leader, Kristy Villarreal of Urban Woods Realty; Economic Outlook Conference Team Leader, Mercedes Milstead of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking; Employment Law Update Team Leader, Stephanie John of Newfield Exploration Co.; Golf Classic Team Leader, Paige Baacke of MiddletonRaines+Zapata, LLP; Heath & Wellness Expo Team Leader, Kendra Windisch of MD Anderson – The Woodlands; 2016 Leadership Retreat Team Leader, Frank Holmes of Sam Houston State University; Meet the New Members Team Leader, Courtney Sweitzer of The Kimball Group, LLC.; Mobility Team Leader, Robert Heineman of The Woodlands Development Company / A Division of The Howard Hughes Corporation; Networking Breakfast Team Leader, Randy Lovelace of Paragon Independent Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Taste of the Town Team Leader, Elaine Smith of Berryhill Baja Grill & The Young Professionals Network Team Leader, Paco Riveria of Green Bank.
“We know every day that our mission is to serve our members” says Cyndi Alvarado, Vice President of Membership at The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, “and we are so proud to honor their commitment to both us and the business community.”
Chamber Members were honored for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 & 35 years of Membership. The following members were honored for a decade of membership: Amazing Spaces Storage Center, CLPF - Waterway Plaza, LLC, Crown Trophy, Edward Jones - Craig A. Tomasek, Financial Advisor, Efficient Wealth Management, ETSZONE, LLC, Everson Developments, LLC, Fine Line Glass Tinting, Fond Memories Pet Cemetery & Crematorium, Inc., Grotto Italian Restaurant, Guy M. Lewis, DDS, Hemline, Hereford, Lynch, Sellars & Kirkham P.C., Holiday Inn Express-Woodlands, Home Instead Senior Care, Junior League of The Woodlands, Inc., Keller Williams Realty, Legends Sports Complex & Events Center, Liberty Mutual Insurance - Bryan Selby, Liz Grimm Public Relations, Mamacitas Mexican Restaurant, McKenzie’s Barbeque, New Danville, Orgain Bell & Tucker, LLP, Paragon Independent Insurance Agencies, Inc., Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Rotary Club/The Woodlands, SDV USA, SERVPRO of The Woodlands/Conroe, Talk Fusion, Texas Center for Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, The Segway Experience, The Woodlands Lifestyles & Homes Magazine, Two Men and A Truck, University of Phoenix, Vanguard Pharmaceutical Machinery, Inc., Visiting Angels, Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown, Wickander Works, Woodlands Petmobile & WorkSpace Resource.
The following Chamber members were recognized for 15 years of Chamber Membership: A & H Electric, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP, CHI St. Luke’s Health - The Woodlands Hospital, Gulf Coast Limousine Service, Inc., Knighton & Stone, PLLC, Marimon Business Systems, Inc., Oak Haven Apartment Homes, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Picket Fences, Primrose School of The Woodlands, Randalls – Buckthorne, Randalls - Panther Creek, Sam’s Club, Texas Marking Products, LTD., The Woodlands Financial Group, The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N., The Woodlands Lions Club, University of Houston-Downtown, Wells Fargo & Willie’s Grill & Ice House.
The following Chamber members celebrated 20 years of membership to The Chamber: Amerigo’s Grille, Christ Community School, Drury Inn & Suites, Education for Tomorrow Alliance, GTIN Managed IT Support, Gullo Ford of Conroe, Investment Advisory Services, Inc., Landry’s Seafood House, Lone Star College System, Maureen Donelan Design, Montgomery County Women’s Center, Pregnancy Assistance Center North (PACN), Signsational Signs, T. Michael Gibson, DDS & The Woodlands Christian Academy.
The Chamber is proud to recognize the following members on their 25th Anniversary as Chamber Members: Amegy Bank of Texas - Grogan’s Mill, Brian of London, Robert Half International - Office Team, Shenandoah Convention & Visitors Bureau & LJF Marketing.
The following members celebrated 30 years with The Chamber: Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS, Conroe Regional Medical Center, HARC, Interfaith of The Woodlands, Milstead Automotive, Inc., State Farm Insurance - Mary Brunson & Woodforest National Bank.
In the Chamber’s 38 years of existence, the following members have been members for 35 years: Entergy Texas, Inc., McDonald’s, The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center and Wiesner Buick-GMC-Hyundai.
The final half of The Annual Awards Luncheon recognized individual members with the following awards: Diplomat of the Year, 2016 Volunteer of the Year, 2016 Citizen of the Year, 2016 Legacy Award, The 2016 Chairman’s Award and final recognition of the 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board.
“Each year, we ask our membership to weigh in and nominate the Volunteer of the Year and the Citizen of the Year” says Cyndi Alvarado, Vice President of Membership for The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is always a pleasure to see the many nominations and the wonderful things our members have to say about their fellow members. It is encouraging to work in a community with such support for one another.”
The Diplomat of the Year was presented by Diplomat Team Leader, Kristy Villareal of Urban Woods Realty.
“After many years of Chamber involvement and sitting on several teams and committees, the Diplomat team has been one of the most rewarding committees that I have served on. You may not know this, but the Diplomat team is the hardest working team in The Chamber. Next to Chamber staff, the Diplomats play a huge role in the way The Chamber operates. They welcome new members, attend ribbon cuttings, call you on your anniversary, help to run the networking events and assist the membership department in maintaining an annual target income. These are well versed members that volunteer their time to assist in the daily operations of this wonderful organization. I am proud to be a part of this group.
Each year we get to recognize one Diplomat that goes above and beyond the call of duty and chooses to give extra effort to the team and their responsibilities. This years’ Diplomat of the Year came onto the team and took it by storm. They worked hard to attend events and welcome their new members. This person has brought laughter and liveliness to the team and we are so lucky to have them as a part of our group and our Chamber. Please help me congratulate Zach Richmond.”
Zach Richmond of The Rock Star Realty Group- Keller Williams was awarded the 2015-2016 Diplomat of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year Award is given to a Chamber Member in recognition of their outstanding service to The Chamber. The 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award was presented by Missy Herndon of Interfaith of The Woodlands.
“This person, we are honoring today, is impactful, caring, helpful and in one word: Selfless.
Over the years, this person has been committed to The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, serving the Community Relations, Chairman’s Ball and Diplomat Teams. This person has been a Team Leader of both the Community Relations Team and Chairman’s Ball.
A servant leader at heart, you will have seen this person working at the CrawPHish Festival, Taste of the Town Event, attending Business After hours, Ribbon Cuttings or Meet The New Member events. This person talks the talk and walks the walk of service, spending the last 12 years of her life helping building a more loving and caring community at a local social service organization. She has a tremendous love of people and the programs that serve them. Those that know her well have seen her shed many tears as she speaks about her work and the people impacted, especially, children.
Her weekends are filled with serving others through one of the many projects of the National Charity League with her daughter or cheering on her son at his sports events or serving at one of the many events of Interfaith of The Woodlands.
She is a great role model, leader, volunteer and amazing Mom to Ashley and Reed. It is my great honor to present to you this year's Volunteer of the Year, Ms. Kathy Rifaat.”
Kathy Rifaat of Interfaith of The Woodlands was awarded the 2016 Volunteer of the Year.
The Citizen of The Year is awarded to a community member that shows outstanding service to The Woodlands Area through their involvement and commitment to quality of life, economic growth, community outreach programs and service as a positive role model. The 2016 Citizen of the Year award was presented by Barry Blanton of Blanton Advisors, LLC.
“Our community and this Chamber are blessed with great leaders and some outstanding citizens. We pride ourselves on civic responsibility, giving back, and community involvement. This person does all those things and more. They truly go above and beyond as a citizen.
This person seriously cares deeply about everything that they dedicate time to. Their love and passion for people and causes is obvious. They are especially passionate about our youth, our schools and education. Their level of caring is evident in their actions and their hard work has resulted in positive actions. Our community, our schools and our children are better off because of the efforts and dedication of this person.
This person is the Past-President and Lead Mentor for the Executive Women’s Alliance, which is a mentoring program for high school students, they are also the Power Mentor for the Montgomery County Association of Business Women. She has played a significant role in bringing the community together after all the teenage suicides that our community was faced with last year. She has emphasized the importance of letting all the children in our community know their individual worth. And she worked to help bring programs to fruition that drove the kindness matters campaign in an effort to raise suicide awareness. She is secretary of the CISD Board, the Founder and President of Better Bookkeepers, Inc. She is married to Alan and they have two wonderful young daughters Rebekah and Audrey. Please join me in congratulating, recognizing, and thanking, my good friend and business partner, your Citizen of the Year – Melanie Bush!”
Melanie Bush of Better bookkeepers was awarded the 2016 Citizen of the Year.
The Legacy Award is given annually to a distinguished individual who has through personal example and selflessness demonstrated personal accomplishment, professional achievement, responsible citizenship and humanitarian service. The 2016 Legacy Award was presented by Dr. Ann Snyder of The Woodlands Township.
“I remember meeting today’s recipient because when you meet people of character, you know. Today’s Legacy Award recipient is one of these rare individuals who reflects all that is good. And has never asked “what’s in it for me” rather how he or she can be of help in any way.
The greatest contribution that today’s recipient makes is that he/she gives of himself and is always working for the long-term betterment of our community. In short, this individual is a role model for the young and old. His dedication to The Woodlands and the county during the past several decades PLUS has been both unending and distinctive. His tireless efforts accent his numerous leadership roles focused on the community/people aspects of our area.
The Legacy Award recipient has served on many Boards and always displays true leadership. Serving on the Conroe Independent School District Board of Trustees as Immediate Past President, the Interfaith of The Woodlands Board of Directors serving as Chairman of the Board as well as Chairman of the Interfaith Community Clinic Board of Directors. An active public speaker and community advocate, he also has served on Boards of South Montgomery County YMCA, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce serving as Chairman, and the Economic Development Partnership. For many years, he has been involved with The Woodlands United Methodist church and feels that it is part of his duty as a citizen to give back to help future generations by continuing to display eagerness, enthusiasm and commitment in these entities.
He is Regional President of Business Banking for Woodforest National Bank where he has been employed for over thirty years. He has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance and a Masters of Art in Counseling, both from Sam Houston State University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. He has taught workshops on lay chaplaincy and has taught courses on personal finance, budgeting, conflict resolution, anger management, leadership, customer service and has been a finance instructor for Sam Houston State University.
Simply, in this busy world, we all know that the most important thing we care share with others is the gift of our service. Today’s recipient always finds time and most importantly does whatever the feat with sincerity and compassion. He always gives freely of his time and talents, asks for nothing in return and is an inspiration to all who know him. Simply, he exemplifies all that the Legacy Award represents. Congratulations Mr. Ray Sanders!”
Ray Sanders of Woodforest National Bank was awarded the 2016 Legacy Award.
The Chairman’s Award is an opportunity for the current Chairman to call recognition to one person that impacted their time as Chairman. The 2016 Chairman’s Award was presented by the 2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel.
“[I want to recognize] a person who I feel assisted me during my reign as Chairman the most. I wanted to pick someone who also without fail, took my call, text or email and had my best interest in mind while keeping the spirit of the Chamber and the Woodlands Community in the equation.” Says McDaniel.
“This person was there for me all year. You always had my back through the good and challenging times, and you will always get credit for picking me first. But most importantly, you always encouraging and made me look good, which is not always that easy. Without further ado, my 2016 Chairman's Pick is my mentor but more importantly, my good friend Dr. Ann Snyder.”
Dr. Ann Snyder, Board of Director in Position No. 6 of The Woodlands Township, was awarded the 2016 Chairman’s Award.
The final award is given to the 2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel. This award was presented by J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Keaton served as my first Chairman of the Board and I couldn’t ask for a better experience during this incredible year. Keaton started with The Chamber as a member of the Young Professionals Network and is an example of a true Chamber success story.
We have spent a lot of time together – a lot of hours talking about what to do next, how we want The Chamber to change and how we want to be a collaborate force in the community and the region. Keaton has helped us do that. He has helped guide us with his forward thinking, creative ideas and service as a sounding board. I thank you for serving as a rock for me this year and I look forward to continuing our friendship.”
The Annual Awards Luncheon closed with announcement from The Chairman of the 2016-2017 Board of Directors, Ms. Linda Leto Head of Lone Star Corporate College.
The Annual Awards luncheon was sponsored by Fox Travel – American Express and Consolidated Communications. The centerpieces were sponsored by Entergy Texas, Inc.
The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing quality services, creating opportunities for business success and serving as an effective catalyst for the economic growth and prosperity of our community.
Note to Media: The Annual Awards Luncheon Program can be found HERE with additional information.
Photos can be found HERE with captions below (there are a few extras that also include family):
AAL 1: 2015-2016 Chamber Board Vice Presidents: (L-R) Danny Schroder, Gil Staley, Greg Usher, Anne Snyder, Frank Holmes, Angela Strong & Jenny Taylor
AAL 2: 2015-2016 Chamber Board of Directors: (L-R) Randy Lovelace, Paco Riveria, Monica Bomkamp Enia, Linda Head, Julie Ambler, Josh Urban, Dr. Curtis Null, Brittani Burress, Nick Wolda, Robert Heineman
AAL 3: 2015-2016 Chamber Team Leaders: (L-R) Randy Lovelave, Linda Nelson, Paco Riveria, Kathy Rifaat, Monica Bomkamp Enia, Leslie Williams, Kristy Villareal, Frank Holmes & Robert Heineman
AAL 4: Chamber Members recognized for 10 years of membership
AAL 5: Chamber Members recognized for 15 years of membership
AAL 6: Chamber Members recognized for 20 years of membership
AAL 7: Chamber Members recognized for 25 years of membership
AAL 8: Chamber Members recognized for 30 years of membership
AAL 9: Chamber Members recognized for 35 years of membership
AAL 10: 2016 Diplomat of the Year, Zach Richmond: (L-R) Diplomat Team Leader, Kristy Villareal of Urban Woods Realty; Diplomat of the Year, Zach Richmond of The Rock Star Realty Group- Keller Williams; J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce; 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments
AAL 11: 2016 Volunteer of the Year, Kathy Rifaat: (L-R) J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce; 2016 Volunteer of the Year, Kathy Rifaat of Interfaith of The Woodlands; 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments
AAL 12: 2016 Citizen of the Year, Melanie Bush: (L-R) J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce; 2016 Citizen of the Year, Melanie Bush of Better Bookkeepers; 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments
AAL 13: 2016 Legacy Award, Ray Sanders: (L-R) 2016 Legacy Award recipient, Ray Sanders of Woodforest National Bank; 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments
AAL 14: 2016 Chairman’s Award, Dr. Ann Snyder: (L-R) 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments; 2016 Chairman’s Award recipient, Dr. Ann Snyder of The Woodlands Township; J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce
AAL 15: 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel: (L-R) J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce; 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, Keaton McDaniel of Edward Jones Investments
Photo: The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated 38 years at the 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, September 16 at The Woodlands Country Club – Palmer Course in the Legacy Ballroom.