A Black-Tie Affair Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Gala
Top: Ryan Halleran and Enza Ciolino presented the Anthem Community Council’s Excellence in Community Service award to Kwailan Barsotti of Desert Lotus Boutique & Gifts. Pictured from left to right: Ryan Halleran, Kwailan Barsotti, Enza Ciolino and Miles Barsotti.
Top Left: Scott Zychowski (left) and Ryan Halleran (right) presented the Anthem Community Council’s Commercial Property Improvements award to Dameon Blair for Caurus Academy.
Top Centre: Carrie Clark-Keller (center) was presented with the inaugural Top Gun award — an award for her dedication and service to the chamber. Also pictured: Executive Director Heather Maxwell and Chamber President Dave Newham.
Top Right:Incoming Anthem Young Professionals chair, Massimo “Max” Sommacampagna and Jennifer Uhlig presented the AYP’s Leadership in Action award to Tyler (left) and Travis (right) Ringe of ProSkill Plumbing Heating and Air.
Bottom Left: 2016 Business Person of the Year Nominees pose with Executive Director Heather Maxwell (far left) and Chamber President Dave Newham (far right). Nominees (centered from left to right): Frankie Ruiz, Jamie Cottrell, Sandra Long, Ruth Longo, Chris Prickett and winner Justin Simons.
Bottom Centre: Pictured from left to right: Dennis Jones (2015 Business Person of the Year), Justin Simons (2016 Business Person of the Year), Executive Director Heather Maxwell and Chamber President Dave Newham.
Bottom Right: Executive Director Heather Maxwell and Chamber President Dave Newham with Justin Simons (center), who was named the 2016 Business Person of the Year for his integrity, community involvement and business accomplishments.
Writer Grace Hill
Photographer Michele Celentano
Beautiful dresses and finely-pressed suits filled the Ironwood Ballroom at Anthem Golf and Country Club on December 3. With no detail overlooked, the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Gala was Anthem’s event of the season. This special black-tie event brought together 230 Anthem business owners, leaders and residents to honor winners and nominees of the 13th annual Business Awards Ceremony.
“Our area business owners are indeed stars who deserve the red-carpet treatment,” said Heather Maxwell, the Chamber’s executive director.
After posing for pictures on the red carpet, guests enjoyed a spectacular evening starting with a cocktail hour that included champagne and delicious hors d’oeuvres. This time also allowed guests to mingle under Christmas lights and listen to The Swing Set Project perform their smooth jazz songs.
As the excellently prepared dinner was served, the Chamber president, Dave Newham, welcomed attendees. He also acknowledged Anthem Community Council board members and staff and thanked the evening’s sponsors: Anthem Community Council; Nanette McClelland Miller, State Farm Insurance; Merrill Gardens at Anthem; Edward Jones; and Daisy Mountain Painting Services. He also thanked Mike Spinelli Photography and Michele Celentano Portrait Artist for photographing the event.
Maxwell took to the stage to express her admiration for the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce and its many accomplishments. She then announced the recipient of the inaugural Top Gun award, which recognizes someone who selflessly serves the chamber, its members and the community. The award was presented to Carrie Clark-Keller of VIP Mortgage, Inc.
Ryan Halleran, president of the Anthem Community Council board of directors and current chair for the Anthem Young Professionals, continued with the awards ceremony by presenting the Anthem Community Council awards. Kwailan Barsotti of Desert Lotus Boutique and Gifts won the Excellence in Community Service award, and Dameon Blair for Caurus Academy won the Commercial Property Improvements award. The Excellence in Economic Development, another inaugural award, was presented to Dr. Wyatt Wood and Dr. Gregory Sheppard, owners of Legacy at Anthem Medical.
Halleran then introduced incoming Anthem Young Professionals chair Massimo “Max” Sommacampagna and Jennifer Uhlig. Together they announced that Tyler and Travis Ringe of ProSkill Plumbing Heating and Air were the recipients of the Anthem Young Professionals Leadership in Action award.
Dave Newham closed the ceremony by presenting the award of the evening, the 2016 Business Person of the Year. This award recognizes an outstanding Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce business member and Anthem business owner who shows community involvement, innovation, integrity and business accomplishments. Those nominated this year were Jamie Cottrell, Edward Jones Financial Advisors; Sandra Long, Computer Troubleshooters North Phoenix; Frankie Ruiz, Azteca Home Services; Justin Simons, State Farm Insurance; Ruth Longo, Anthem Trophies/J and R Branding Solutions; and Chris Prickett, Prickett Realty.
Dennis Jones, the 2015 Business Person of the Year, joined Newham on stage and excitedly announced that the 2016 Business Person of the Year award recipient was Justin Simons of State Farm Insurance.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Simons, as he tearfully accepted the honor. “It means the world to me, and I will continue to work hard and give back to our amazing community.”
The after-party ended the event with music by Anthem’s DJ Hybrid Thirty3. Guests danced the night away as they celebrated the winners, nominees, Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce and the Anthem community as a whole.
Newham summed up the evening perfectly.
“This was, without a doubt, the most spectacular event in the Anthem area in 2016,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what Heather and the chamber committees have in store for us in 2017.”