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Annual chamber event honors those who have made an impact on the community

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Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 8:00 am

At the annual Chamber Day of Champions Breakfast, the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce honored local stand-out businesses as well as men and women who have made an impact in the community.

The Feb. 4 event at the Arizona Grand Resort featured several guest speakers, which included Rep. John McComish (R-Ahwatukee Foothills) and Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

McComish spoke of the origins of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce and touched on the economy.

"We have had a 35 percent drop in revenue ... from our peak year in 2007," he told the crowd. "But the economy is getting better ... we all just have to stick it out."

DiCiccio took the stage and explained a potentially ground-breaking bill that he recently introduced to the state Legislature. The bill would allow outside entities to bid on government contracts over $50,000.

"I want to find a way to stimulate the economy," DiCiccio said. "(This bill) puts $1 billion in play."

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jan Gleeson, co-founder of Horizon Community Learning Center, who passed away on Oct. 15, 2010.

Gleeson was known throughout Ahwatukee Foothills as a leader in the community, chamber president Terri Kimble said.

"It's the first time we have ever done that (given the award posthumously) ... but we wanted her legacy to live on," Kimble said.

Gleeson's sister, Carole Descheemaker, accepted the award in her honor.

Foothills Ace Hardware, owned by Kevin and Lindy Cash, won Business of the Year.

"It's a great honor," Kevin Cash said.

Something Sweet, owned by Tina Damon, won Best New Business. She has been selling her pastries and more through her website,, and has garnered popularity by word of mouth.

"I always had an idea about opening a mom and pop bakery," Damon said. "I'm starting to establish myself, and I am getting closer to opening (a retail location)."

Joseph Ortiz won Volunteer of the Year. Ortiz believes he was chosen because of how active he is in the community.

"It was nice to be against people I know and like," he said. "I don't think any of us cared who won because we know each other and we know how passionate we are about doing work in the community."

Mike Smith won Educational Mentor of the Year. Smith is a physical education teacher at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School.

"I never expected anything like this," he said.

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