RIVERVIEW – Members of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce had a gas recently as they celebrated their Annual Membership and Awards Dinner by tripping back to the 1960s. Dressed in mini skirts, tie-dye shirts, knee-high boots and head bands, they grooved to the music of The Temptations, The Beatles, Monkees and The Troggs. Many even sang along.
“We had a remarkable turnout,” said Debbie Kirkland, the chamber’s assistant executive director. “We has 315 RSVPs out of our membership of 520. The evening’s theme drove the excitement and attendance. Everyone truly seemed to enjoy themselves.”
Pastor John Legg of South Shore United Methodist Church, East Bay High School Jr. ROTC Color Guard and the group 4PartHarmony opened the evening. Master of Ceremonies Jim Smeaton, a smooth-talking, joke-cracking hipster, got things rolling.
Outgoing President Donna Lee Fore of P.F. Auto Glass gave a review of her year at the helm and the successful formation of an Economic Development Team and Military Veterans Affairs Committee. She lauded Trick or Treat Street, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last fall, and other highly successful events like the annual honorary mayor’s race and annual new teachers breakfast.
Commissioner Al Higginbotham made a special presentation on behalf of the Hillsborough County Commission to Executive Director Tanya Doran, commending the chamber for its efforts “to advance the economic, civic and educational initiatives that enhance the quality of life of all in the Riverview area.”
“I was so honored and humbled to accept this recognition on the chamber’s behalf,” Doran said. “It’s the efforts of well over 500 people that make this chamber what it is.”
Then it was on to the chamber’s annual awards for 2013 and the winners:
• Ambassador of the Year – Jennifer Caskey, CenterState Bank, Riverview
• Margy Watkins Volunteer of the Year – Jordann Scruggs, A Sweet Haven
• Riverview Citizen of the Year – Tammy Holmberg, Chick-fil-A, Lake Brandon Village
• Shining Star of the Year: Jennifer King, Rodan + Fields
For the first time Business of the Year finalists were also recognized in three categories according to the number of employees each had. Finalists in the small business category were Great Florida Insurance South Shore; James Pulkowski CPA; and Mackey Productions. In the medium business category, the finalists were Canine Cabana; Carr Pediatric Dentistry; and The Alley at SouthShore. And the large business finalists were CenterState Bank; Mosaic Fertilizer; and South Bay Hospital.
The awards went to:
• Business of the Year for organizations with up to 10 employees: Mackey Productions
• Business of the Year for organizations with 11 to 300 employees: Carr Pediatric Dentistry
• Business of the Year for organizations with more than 301 employees: South Bay Hospital
The chamber also recognized Cliff Kennedy of Alley Cat Pest Control, the 2014 Honorary Mayor of Riverview, and retiring board members Ross Spano of Christmas, Spano & Owen; Tim Sanders of Costco Wholesale; Bart Miller of Sweetbay Supermarket and Edward W. Booth Jr. of Huth and Booth Photography.
The evening wrapped with the passing of the president’s gavel to Joe Eletto of Century 21 Beggins Enterprises, his installation of the chamber’s 2014 Board of Directors and his remarks, which included an appeal for unity and an “addiction to service.”
Best decorated table went to Superior Residences of Brandon and Hawthorne Village Retirement Community for their over-the-top Caberet theme. The best dressed female of the evening – gauged by crowd applause – was Christine Ans of the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary. Best dressed male went to Chris McGill of EGC Wellcare. The event’s bartender won a huge tip when she took home more than $500 from the 50/50 drawing.