The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce presented the 2016 Business Enterprise Awards Thursday evening at Stonebridge Golf Club. The Small Business Award went to Washtenaw Glass and the Large Business Award went to Bank of Ann Arbor. In addition, Debra Locke-Daniel was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
People attending the awards dinner started arriving around 6:00 p.m. Guests mingled and purchased some liquid refreshment at the bar until around 7:00 p.m. Afterward a first class dinner was served cafeteria style.
To top off the meal, there were three cakes available for desert. Each cake honored one of the award recipients.
Guests did not have long to dine before the award presentation began. Each recipient was honored by various dignitaries or their representatives.
Mayor Brian Marl was only around long enough to present an award to Paul Bucholtz, founder of Washtenaw Glass. When Marl raced off to another event, John Olsen, Director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce, bestowed the honors.
State Representative Gretchen Driskell came early to the event, but had to leave for a similar event in Chelsea before any awards were distributed. She was represented by her legislative assistant Annika Doner.
Congressman Tim Walberg was unable to attend, so he sent his legislative assistant Dustin Krasny to represent him. Kransy is a native of Saline.
Jeremiah Johnson of J Andrew Financial acted as emcee of the award ceremony. Thomas Linde, operations manager and Kyocero-Unimerco and president of the Saline Chamber, also spoke at the event.
Linde said that over the years, 43 companies have received the Business Enterprise Award. He then proceeded to name many of them that were represented by people in attendance.
He said that a small business is defined as 20 or fewer employees, a large business 21 or more. He also provided the criteria used in selecting the year’s winners.
“They have a history of establishment of a successful business, demonstrated commitment to the overall health and productivity in the Saline area, demonstrated commitment to provide customers the best possible service, they consistently follow ethical and fair business practices and they contribute to the betterment of the community through volunteer efforts,” Linde said.
Paul Bucholz, the founder of Washtenaw Glass received the awards and proclamations lavished on his business as winner in the small business category. His daughter Jackie is now the manager of the business.
Patti Judson, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Bank of Ann Arbor, received all the accolades for the large business award.
As each honoree came forward, a series of dignitaries said spoke about their business. This included Marl (or Olsen), Doner and Kransy. The recipient also had the opportunity to speak if he or she chose.
The same procedure was followed for the award for Debra Locke-Daniel. Locke-Daniel, who worked for many years in the Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau, often supported and promoted the City of Saline.
When she had the opportunity to speak she took it enthusiastically. She observed that she likes to talk.
The two businesses who received winner’s cups will keep them for one year. After that time, they will forfeit the cups to the 2017 Business Enterprise Awardees.