The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce thanked influential mentors, volunteers and businesses during its 14th Annual Chamber Day of Champions awards breakfast Friday morning.
The chamber named Vision Community Management as the Business of the Year. Christine Vanderpool of Mountain Pointe High School was named Educational Mentor of the Year, Janet Schwab was named Volunteer of the Year, and Wedge and Bottle was named New Business of the Year.
The breakfast, at the Arizona Grand Resort on Feb. 8, is an annual event to honor the businesses and community members that have made the chamber so successful. The chamber recognized Nick Knight as the chamber’s Ambassador of the Year.
“Being an ambassador is not about winning accolades or recognition,” Knight said. “It’s about giving back to this phenomenal organization that helps bring the business community of Ahwatukee together. It’s an honor to be an ambassador … it really makes your membership far more worthwhile, not only for you but for the people you help.”
The nominees along with Vanderpool for Educational Mentor of the Year were Kelley Brunner, Darcy Dicosmo, David Maloney and Martha Takacs.
Vanderpool, a coach at Mountain Pointe High School, said she moved to Ahwatukee when she was 10 and fought her parents the entire way, but Ahwatukee has become her home.
“I was a freshman in 1991 and we had the opportunity to vote for our mascot,” Vanderpool said. “We chose the Pride of Lions, which is a family. That’s exactly what Mountain Pointe has become to me for the past 20-plus years.”
Nominees along with Schwab for Volunteer of the Year were Jim Engel, Jim Hunt, Nick Knight and Ernst McComish. Schwab, who was instrumental in the chamber’s Women in Business group, thanked her business partner, Cami Crouch, for her help to win the award.
“I could not do so much for the chamber volunteering and being involved if I did not have the best, supportive business partner who does the operations that allows me to get out and be with the people,” Schwab said. “I think I have the best part of the job. She’s so supportive.”
A-List Pest Control, Elements Therapeutic Massage, Rodan and Fields Dermatologists, Spider Web Design, Wedge and Bottle, and Xpress Automotive were all nominated for New Business of the Year. Winners Troy and Krista Daily of Wedge and Bottle said for them their business is a dream come true.
“This is a passion project for us so to be recognized as a business is awesome,” Krista said. “We don’t think of it that way so it’s really cool to be up here. Our job is just to bring the products we love and share them with all of you. Ahwatukee has been so supportive.”
The Ahwatukee Foothills News, CK’s Tavern and Grill, Clean’n Fresh Cleaning Services, Dignity Health Urgent Care, Edward Jones – Joseph Ortiz, Henderson-Hunt Insurance Agency, State Farm Insurance – Lynn Hennessy, and Vision Community Management were all nominated for Business of the Year.
Winner Vision Community Management is celebrating 10 years in Ahwatukee and recently broke ground on a new larger headquarters in Ahwatukee. The company is one of the five largest community-management companies in the state and has plans to hire more people this year. Darin Fisher, CEO and managing member of Vision, said the award caught him off guard.
“Vision is a true family and a true team,” Fisher said. “Like any business owner I recognize I do not do this alone, I did not build this alone. I have the best people. I have a wonderful team, incredible clients, and so many friends here.”
This year, Sen. John McComish spoke, giving an update on the state Legislature and his goals for 2013. McComish said the Legislature is finally planning ahead when laying out the budget, but that the general feeling is an agreement to give more funding to education.
City Councilman Sal DiCiccio also shared a few words at the event. DiCiccio worked in 2012 to make business with the city of Phoenix easier. He promised to continue to push for more efficiencies and also to work to improve trade with Mexico.
Chamber President and CEO Anne Gill thanked those in attendance for a successful year. The chamber’s membership grew by 20 percent in 2012, and more than 7,000 people attended the annual Red, White and Boom. Gill said she’s feeling confident that Ahwatukee’s economy is on an upward trend.
For more information on the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, visit ahwatukeechamber.com.
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