For hundreds of Loudoun County business and community leaders, Friday night was a chance to celebrate. They dressed to the nines and made their way to the National Conference Center to raise a glass to the men and women who helped shape the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce over its 50 years.
The organization was started in 1968 by a handful of business owners and has grown to be the largest chamber in Northern Virginia, with more than 1,200 members
Loudoun Chamber President and CEO Tony Howard made a toast to kick off the organization’s 50th anniversary party.
“Let’s raise a glass. Let’s please remember and honor the hard work, the investments and the sacrifices that are made by so many Loudoun business leaders over the course of the last 50 years who helped make this Chamber a world class organization and Loudoun County a world class community,” he said. “Here’s to another 50 years.”
The evening was also a night to officially pass the responsibilities of chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors from Tina Johnson to Mitch Sproul.
Sproul has been involved in the Chamber since 2006, when he moved from Mount Vernon to Loudoun to take a job as director and vice president of business development at Toth Financial. Within a few weeks of taking the post at Toth, Sproul joined the Chamber’s Ambassadors Committee, which recruits and helps new members plug in to the organization. He went on to chair the Ambassadors Committee, and then in January 2013 he joined the Chamber board.
Sproul told the audience that he’s proud to be involved in the Chamber because the work its members do—from advocating for business-friendly policies to helping nonprofits and supporting public schools—is meaningful.
“Our Chamber and its mission require a calling and a spirit of volunteerism and a belief that the abundance created by our businesses and our work will pour over and out in our community,” Sproul said. “Through this abundance, our community becomes a better place to live, work and play.”
He offered a call to action to those in the room, saying, “OK, Loudoun County Chamber, let’s go to work in 2018 and let’s have fun doing it.”
Several awards were handed out during the festivities, including five Community Leadership Awards. Scott Hamberger, of Integrus Holdings Inc., won for the Executive Leaders category; D. Todd Pearson, of B.F. Saul Company/Pearson Smith, won for the Young Professionals category; Integrus Holdings Inc. won in the small organization category; Inova Loudoun Hospital won in the large organization category; and Melissa Heifetz, executive director of The ARC of Loudoun, won in the nonprofit executive category.
Susan Banville, of Embrace Home Loans, was named Ambassador of the Year.
Tina Johnson, the Chamber board’s past chair, handed out three Chairman’s Awards, all to past board chairs: Tracey White, Brian Chavis, and Tom Moler.