KOKOMO, Ind. (Nov. 13, 2020) – This year, the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance recognized community leaders, businesses and volunteers with a virtual awards celebration.
The celebration, sponsored by Community First Bank of Indiana, was held via Zoom as a safety precaution due to COVID-19.

Presentations included the FIRSTS Award, Downtown Champion Award, Small Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, the IMPACT Award, the Chairman Awards, Business Person of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

This year’s award winners were:

• FIRSTS Award: All Kokomo hotels
• Downtown Champion Award: Sunbelt Rentals of Kokomo
• Volunteer of the Year: Shanelle Cahill, The Wyman Group
• Business Person of the Year: Tanya Foutch, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
• Small Business of the Year: RD Filip
• Large Business of the Year: Community Howard Regional Health and Ascension St. Vincent Kokomo

• Impact Award: Bona Vista Programs, Inc.
• Chairman Awards: General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the City of Kokomo and Howard County Government
New this year were the Chairman Awards. Joe Hooper, president & CEO of Community Howard Regional Health and chairman of the Alliance board, presented the awards to GM, the City of Kokomo and Howard County government for their work during the pandemic to support the community and those affected by COVID-19. FCA also received the Chairman Award for its new investment in Kokomo, announced earlier this year.
The FIRSTS Award, presented by Convention & Visitors Bureau Manager Sherry Matlock, recognized all Kokomo hotels for their work to provide safe, clean places to stay for visitors and first responders.
“From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, hotel managers and their staff members became essential workers, housing health care workers, first responders, and in Kokomo, ventilator production workers,” Matlock said. “Even with severely reduced staffing levels and rough economic times, they kept our hotels safe and clean for all guests and visitors. Thank you for going above and beyond during uncertain times this year to help keep our local tourism industry going strong.”
Charlie Sparks, president & CEO for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, addressed attendees during the virtual event.
“The fact that we’re conducting this event virtually this year really points out the extent to which things have changed this year in terms of how we operate, how we interact and how we communicate,” Sparks said. “The one thing that has not changed is our commitment to serving you, our members.”
Sparks reviewed the Alliance’s highlights for 2020, which included several ways in which the organization shifted gears during the pandemic. The organization hosted many events virtually, provided tools for businesses affected by the pandemic and provided grants to those in the hospitality industry facing financial strain due to COVID-19. The Alliance also continued to work toward a new industrial park in Howard County, which will be a critical step in attracting new investment and jobs, Sparks said.
Sparks thanked employers, local leaders and community members for their continued support of the Alliance and the community as a whole over the last year.
In addition to Community First Bank of Indiana, other sponsors included Duke Energy, Community Howard Regional Health, CFD Investments, Party City, Business System Solutions and Primrose Retirement Communities.
For more information on the awards celebration or the Alliance, visit GreaterKokomo.com.

About the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce
Since 1914, the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce has served Kokomo and Howard County businesses through advocacy initiatives, professional development, networking opportunities, and promotional programs implemented to grow the local business community. As a catalyst for economic development, the Chamber also assists community residents in finding reputable, established organizations and high quality services to utilize. Today, the Chamber serves over 620 diverse members and remains a trusted voice for local businesses. To learn more, visit www.GreaterKokomo.com.

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