Chamber Day of Champions

Nick Knight speaks after being awarded the Ambassador of the Year during the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce's 14th Annual Chamber Day of Champions at The Arizona Grand Resort on Friday, Feb 8, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Since 1999, the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has honored the community’s top businesses with the annual Chamber Day of Champions Awards breakfast. The chamber takes great pride in our business community, and we know that its success is rooted in the people. Each year we recognize outstanding businesses and celebrate individuals who are remarkable in their dedication to our community.

Kicking off the inspirational event will be keynote speaker Pam Gaber, CEO of Gabriel’s Angels. She’ll share the story of her entrepreneurial success she built from a passion to make a difference in the lives of others. In addition, attendees are able to meet with our local political leaders including Sen. John McComish, Rep. Jeff Dial and city of Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio to ask questions and discuss current issues affecting our national, state and local government.

Chamber Day of Champions honorees are members of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce and show unwavering support for the business community, demonstrate dedication to the betterment and growth of the Ahwatukee area, and exhibit enthusiasm for and make a significant difference in their community. Nominations are accepted from the public, as well as business peers. Each nominee is then asked to submit additional information regarding the company’s products and services, charitable donations and volunteer work. A panel of independent judges reviews the information and selects the finalists in each category.

Business of the Year nominees must exhibit a successful business performance, be involved in chamber activities, and be of service to the community while exhibiting leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Since 2010, the chamber has recognized New Business of the Year. Nominees are those companies which have been in business less than two years, have a successful business performance and are involved in chamber activities.

As a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer of the Year is an individual who has been active during the year on more than one chamber committee or event. This person strengthens the chamber and its membership by contributing their time and talent while exhibiting leadership within the chamber.

Educational Mentor of the Year can be a teacher, administrator, coach counselor or any other position from a member school or learning center. This person must exhibit leadership and act as a positive role model and be of service to the community through leadership roles, memberships or donations.

New this year, the chamber will award Nonprofit of the Year to a 501(c)3 organization that have exhibited exceptional achievements in assisting the community and enhancing the quality of life in Ahwatukee.

The 2014 honorees are:

Business of the Year

Edward Jones — Joseph Ortiz

Desert Computer Solutions

Elements Massage

Dignity Health Urgent Care Ahwatukee

New Paths to Healthcare

Town Planner

A-List Pest Control

The Neighbor Ladies

Clean N Fresh Cleaning Services

Christie Ellis United Brokers Group

New Business of the Year

Karra Crawford Personal Training

Phoenix Premium Outlets at Wild Horse Pass

The Perfect Pear

Cobblestone Auto Spa

Uncle Bear’s Brewhouse & Grill

C2 Tactical Shooting Range

Dr. Nicholas Poff

Aloha Hearing Solutions

Cactus Mountain Properties

Non-profit of the Year

Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA

Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee

Connecting to Serve

Boys & Girls Club Thunderbird Branch

Horizon Community Learning Center

Volunteer of the Year

Jim Hunt

Nick Knight

Jim Philo

Andi Pettyjohn

Sheila Coonen

Ernst McComish

Educational Mentor of the Year

Nicole McNeil, Early Language Learning & Arts (ELLA) Studio

Melissa France, Summit School of Ahwatukee

Melissa Wendell, Mountain Pointe High School

John Hillis, BASIS School

Jamie Brennan, Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary

Kristine Gorovitz, Desert Vista High School

Nancy Emmons, Horizon Community Learning Center

Karen McComish, Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary

This year, in honor of the chamber’s 20th Anniversary, 20- and 10-year members will be recognized for their vision and consistent dedication to the community. The chamber will also recognize the committee volunteers who provide their time and talent to assist the chamber in making their programs a success.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite the community to attend our 15th Annual Chamber Day of Champions awards breakfast. In addition to shopping locally, we encourage the community to come out and support locally-owned businesses that help make a difference in your community.

Chamber Day of Champions will take place at 8 a.m. on Feb. 7 at the Arizona Grand Resort, 8000 Arizona Grand Pkwy. Reserve your seats today at or call the chamber at (480) 753-7676.

• Anne Gill is president and chief executive officer of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at (480) 753-7676 or

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