As we roll in each new year, it’s very common for people to be excited about the changes ahead.
Whether it’s the year that you get into better shape, accomplish a life milestone or work toward a career goal, the focus is on looking at what’s in the future. At the DeKalb Chamber, we start off our new year by looking back and recognizing those who have accomplished great things or contributed significantly to the business community.
The DeKalb Chamber Business Hall of Fame recognizes individuals in the community who have made an impact on business. This year’s honorees have been tremendous assets to the local business community and will join 38 current members. The 2019 Hall of Fame inductees will be John Roberts (Pioneer Award), Mike Cullen and Wendy West.
Roberts spent many years with a variety of organizations in the area. He spent his work career with the DeKalb Agricultural Association. His service to the community included 26 years on the Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees and many years with other organizations, including the United Way and Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center. Most who have had the pleasure to know and work with John would agree that our community still benefits from his leadership and foresight.
Cullen has spent many years involved in a variety of organizations around the community. He has been on boards, committees, councils and task forces for more than 30 nonprofit groups, and has chaired more than half of them. He has helped lead campaigns for the DeKalb Public Library, DeKalb County Community Foundation and the new Kishwaukee Hospital.
West came to DeKalb as a student at Northern Illinois University, and has more than made her mark in the community since that time. Besides being a die-hard Huskie supporter, Wendy has shown a commitment to support the community in a variety of roles. Her leadership has been recognized as board chair of the DeKalb Chamber, president of the Kishwaukee United Way, chairwoman of the IHSA football playoffs in DeKalb and treasurer of the Oak Crest Board of Directors.
The 2018 Business of the Year recognizes a DeKalb Chamber member business that has contributed to the economic vitality and impact on the business community in the DeKalb area. This year’s finalists include Brad Manning Ford, Creative Therapeutics, OC Creative, Tapa La Luna and Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.
The 2019 Nonprofit Organization Award will be given to the nonprofit that has had a significant impact on the community including, but not limited to, job creation, collaboration in the community, philanthropy outside the organization, DeKalb Chamber involvement and social impact within the local community over the past three years. The five finalists are Adventure Works of DeKalb County, Barb City Manor, DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau, Proudly DeKalb and Voluntary Action Center.
Call the chamber office at 815-756-6306 to register for the annual celebration dinner at Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center on Jan. 24, or visit www.dekalb.org to register.
• Matt Duffy is executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.