The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce honored leaders in the Loudoun community and passed the torch to its new chairman during its annual meeting Friday, Jan. 25.
Looking back on 2018, the organization’s 50th year, the chamber’s annual Community Leadership Awards recognized three people and two companies for their service to the community.
The executive leader of the year was Chuck Kuhn, founder of JK Moving services. This year under his leadership his company created the JK Community Farm, which grows and donates fresh produce to distribute through Loudoun Hunger Relief.
Kuhn, who this year was also awarded the Mosby Heritage Area Association’s Heritage Hero Award for his work, said there’s still more he hopes to do.
“We’ve got great plans for 2019 and 2020,” Kuhn said. “I think we’re off to a good start with Loudoun Hunger Relief who are here tonight, and our plans and hopes and dreams for ‘19 and ‘20 far exceed what we did in ‘18, and thanks for the opportunity.”
JK Moving Services was also named outstanding community leader in the large business category. And JK Moving Vice President Brian McGuinness also promised more work ahead.
“Loudoun County’s a great county to work in and to live in, and yet there are still so many people who are in need,” McGuinness said.
Carol Jameson, CEO of Healthworks of Northern Virginia, was honored in the nonprofit executive leader category and said it was an honor to work with other chamber members.
“Another joy that I think all of us in the nonprofit world share is working with our clients, because they welcome us into their lives, often in very difficult circumstances,” Jameson said. “And their welcoming us really enriches our soul. We are incredibly lucky to be able to work with them.”
Megan Imbert of Symantec Corporation was announced as the honoree in the young professional community leader category to screaming and applause.
“We all have a story and we’re all struggling in some different ways, and I think if we all show a little bit more love and compassion and kindness, we’ll have a ripple and ultimately that will create a wave,” Imbert said.
And Loudoun Now was named the outstanding community leader in the small business category. Publisher and editor-in-chief Norman K. Styer recalled jumping headlong into launching a new newspaper three years ago, and thanked the investors, advertisers, and readers who support the paper.
“The bottom line is, in our business, we know that we succeed when our community succeeds, and we succeed when you succeed,” Styer said.
The chamber’s annual meeting was also a passing of the torch from outgoing chairman Mitch Sproul, who said when he and his family came to Loudoun, the chamber became the portal to make connections with their new community.
“There were moments—and they were fleeting—when I wondered whether this volunteer time was worth it,” Sproul said of his work with the chamber. “They were fleeting. It is with great pleasure and joy and truthfulness that I say to you yes, exclamation mark, yes, it was worth it.” He said the time and talent he invested in the chamber “has been returned and rewarded back to me several times over.”
He awarded the 2018 Chairman’s Award to Mark Baker and Amy Owen.
The chamber board of directors’ new chairman, Arc of Loudoun CEO Lisa Kimball, made history simply by taking the gavel. She is the first nonprofit executive to lead the organization. She also promised a busy year ahead, including efforts to diversify both the people and businesses represented in the chamber to reflect a diversifying Loudoun.
“The chamber is relatively diverse as well, but we’ve got some work to do to ensure that all embers of Loudoun’s business community know that they are welcomed and valued by our chamber,” Kimball said.
She encouraged chamber members to do what they can for their community.
“Whatever your passion, whatever your talents, I guarantee there is a family, a child, a senior whose life will be forever changed for the better because you made the choice to share yourself with them,” Kimball said. “And in doing so, there’s a big secret: you’re going to gain far more than you ever give. The Loudoun County Chamber stands ready to make the connections to give back and pay forward.”
Finalists in the executive leader category also included Dr. Edward Puccio, Inova Loudoun Hospital; Tony Stafford, Ford’s Fish Shack; and Cyndi Urbano, AlphaGraphics.
Finalists in the nonprofit executive leader category included Paul Donohue, ECHO; Hillsboro Vice Mayor Amy Marasco, The Nature Generation; and Kim Tapper, A Place to Be.
Finalists in the young professional community leader category included Bo Machayo, chief of staff to Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large); Erin Rayner, formerly Community Outreach Director for then-Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10), now of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s; and Colleen Shumaker, Paul Davis Restoration.
Finalists in the outstanding community leader large business category included The National Conference Center, K2M, and Merritt Companies.
Finalists in the community leader small business category included AlphaGraphics, Insight Into Action Therapy, and Thirty Seven Media & Marketing Group.