Chamber honors local businesses with Industry Appreciation Awards

VERO BEACH — Each year, local business and political leaders, builders and architects gather at the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce Industry Appreciation Award Luncheon, to honor and celebrate the achievements of area businesses. 

The sold-out event, held at the Indian River State College Richardson Center, also recognizes the positive impact of architectural enhancements made to new and renovated buildings in IRC. The occasion is a way to acknowledge the major role local businesses play in helping to sustain our economy and enrich our lifestyle.  Local industries not only have a major economic impact on the community through jobs, taxes, sales and purchases, they are also key supporters of local non-profit organizations.

The awards process began with a committee of Chamber volunteers, under IAA committee chair Dawn Hopkins, which distributed nomination forms to potential honorees throughout the county, eventually determining the winners based on completed applications. 

Hopkins shared Master of Ceremony duties with Bill Penney, President and CEO of Marine Bank and Chairman of the Chamber’s Economic Development Division, and with Linda Schlitt-Gonzalez, Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman.

The Keynote Speaker at the luncheon was INEOS New Plant BioEnergy (INPB) President David King, who spoke of the company’s new BioEnergy Center.  In his introduction, Penney noted that the Chamber’s Economic Development Department had been working with the INPB team for the past two years. 

“It’s tremendously exciting to see it come to fruition; putting Indian River County on the alternative energy map,” he said.

The group officially took over ownership of the former Oslo Road Ocean Spray industrial facility this summer, and is transitioning it into a BioEnergy Center capable of converting vegetative waste into bioethanol. 

The $100 million investment will initially provide construction jobs to 200 workers; with plans for up to approximately 55 permanent positions when the facility is fully operational. King commented that he hopes that the BioEnergy Center will be a recipient of an Industry Appreciation award at at some future luncheon.

Firms honored with Company of the Year awards represent businesses that have an overall positive impact on our county through local economic stimulus, contributions back to the community and year-round employment.

Brewer International, owned and managed by brothers Steve and Jim Brewer, received the Manufacturer of the Year Award.  An international manufacturer of agricultural chemicals, including an organic spray utilizing natural citrus oil as a raw material, the operation moved to Indian River County in 1979.  They are actively involved with local non-profit organizations and with industry trade groups throughout the country.

The Latin Business of the Year Award was presented to Costa d’Este Beach Resort.  The boutique hotel, recognized as one of the top 10 celebrity-owned hotels in the world, employs 110 workers and has an annual economic impact on the community of more than $2.5 million. 

They have contributed to numerous non-profit organizations, and has partnered with the Chamber to promote the area as a “get-away” destination to other Florida markets.

The first Company of the Year Award, (less than 20 employees) was presented to Compass Medical, a rehabilitation center owned by Nancy Welter.  She and her husband Dr. Peter Welter have been serving the community since 1975 and boast the only aqua therapy tank in the county with an underwater treadmill. 

The company’s economic impact on the community is impressive, and they annually host special parties for veterans and for their patients.

Bill Penney accepted the next Company of the Year Award (21 to 40 employees) on behalf of Marine Bank and Trust Company. 

Founded in 1997, it is the only locally owned and operated independent community bank in Vero Beach, and has an annual economic impact on taxes and payroll of more than $1.67 million.  The bank and all its employees are fully committed to the community; monthly contributing more than 150 hours to community and business related events and, over the past five years, more than $150,000 to non-profit organizations.

Company of the Year (41 to 100 employees) was awarded to Vero Radiology Associates, established in 1971.  Its annual economic impact, at just under $2.75 million, is substantial, and they are deemed by the American College of Radiology as one of the 38 Breast Imaging Centers for Imaging Excellence.

They contribute $25,000 annual to area non-profits, hold frequent educational seminars and work with Pink Tie Friends to provide discounted mammograms to those in need.

Atlantic Health Care Center received the Company of the Year Award (100 to 200 employees) for their nursing facility, rated highest in Indian River County by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. 

Established in 1981, the company fosters an environment of personal growth and advancement for its employees and has an annual economic impact on the community of more than $3 million.  They sponsor numerous activities and often partner with other organizations to donate back to the community.

The final Company of the Year Award (200+ employees) was presented to CVS Distribution Center, which began operating in Indian River County in 2006.  The local facility employs 280 workers and services 287 stores throughout Florida, including six in Indian River County. 

With an annual payroll of $9.3 million, they are one of the top five taxpayers in the county and its employees regularly contribute to local non-profits.  In 2009 the facility provided more than 33,000 pounds of food to the Treasure Coast Food Bank.

This week CVS was also honored with the Richardson Enterprise Award, for excellence in a company wide United Way employee campaign.

Architectural Recognition Awards are based on numerous criteria including the building’s impact on the surrounding area, enhanced landscaping, unique or eco-friendly features and accessibility features such as parking, sidewalks and signage.

This year’s award winners were:

New Small Commercial Building – Don’s Import Auto Service

New Large Commercial Building – SpringHill Suites by Marriott

New Commercial/Non Profit Building – Children’s Home Society of Florida, Youth Transitional Center

New Government Building – Sebastian Municipal Hangar ‘A’, home of LoPresti Aviation

New Mixed Use Media – Ocean Park of Vero Beach

Small Commercial Building Redevelopment – Doughboy’s Donuts

Mid-Sized Building Redevelopment – Kmetz, Nuttall, Ewell, Graham CPAs

Large Commercial Building Redevelopment – Modern One

Restoration to Retain Historical Character – Courthouse Lofts (formerly the Palmetto Hotel)

Best Commercial Re-Use of Old Property – Ditch 13 Gallery & Gifts

Best Government Re-Use of Old Property – Old Fellsmere School

Green Commercial Construction – parc24

Green Government Construction – Storm Grove Middle School

Green Residential Construction – Habitat for Humanity

New Multi-Family Residential Community – By the River  {igallery 263}

Related Articles

Leave a Comment