CHAMBER AWARD WINNERS

The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce proudly announces the winners of the 2009 Annual Meeting Awards. The winners were recognized at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 5 and were selected from a pool of nominated Chamber members. Each winner was chosen based on a variety of factors including:
•Contribution to the business community
•A reputation for integrity and fair business practices
•Product and management innovation
•Positive examples as CEO/employee and dedication to the mission of their organization
The Chamber wishes to congratulate the winners for their outstanding contributions to the Fort Wayne business community and their continuous efforts to make Northeast Indiana a better place to work and live.

 

LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – BROOKS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
Brooks Construction is celebrating their 100th year of business, and was honored with the Governor’s Century Business Award this week. Brooks was founded in 1909 and has built thousands of miles of streets and roads, including Forest Park Boulevard, the first paved street in Fort Wayne. They also built a section of the Lincoln Highway – America’s first transcontinental highway. Brooks is now in the third generation of family to own and operate the business. The company is a leader in the practice of asphalt recycling and has been implementing “green” practices for many years. Brooks has also consistently and quietly donated to dozens of not-for-profit organizations in the Fort Wayne community. They recently held a fundraising event in celebration of their 100th anniversary which resulted in $50,000 being donated to a variety of charities within the community.

 

SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – APTERA SOFTWARE, INC.
Aptera has demonstrated commitment to the business community of Fort Wayne by working with local clients to improve their business and by providing high-tech, high-paying jobs to benefit the local economy. Within the last year alone, Aptera has added eight staff members to their team. Aptera has been a proud supporter of efforts to revitalize downtown Fort Wayne. Their newly renovated office is located downtown on the corner of Main and Harrison. Aptera began a new internship program in the summer of 2009, employing two local college students. The internships facilitated hands-on experience to complement the students’ classroom education. Aptera’s workload is based on repeat business established on trust from past clients. Each client’s solution is custom-built after thorough research and client input, and knowledge of the latest innovations in technology. This year Aptera was named one of Indiana’s 50 “Companies to Watch” by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

 

CEO OF THE YEAR – MIKE PACKNETT, PARKVIEW HEALTH
Mike Packnett is the CEO of one of the largest employers in Allen County, Parkview Health. Packnett has led Parkview in several endeavors that benefit the Fort Wayne community, including the largest-ever cash donation to Community Harvest Food Bank in 2008. An initial gift of $50,000 grew to $150,000 when other Fort Wayne businesses met Parkview’s challenge to contribute. The donations resulted in 790,000 pounds of food items for local families in need. Packnett is known for reading and responding to every email sent to him by co-workers and has established a new co-worker bonus incentive plan, offering quarterly bonuses based on patient perception of care and other factors. Packnett also recognizes employees that go above and beyond the call of duty, sending weekly reports praising employees who exemplify the Parkview Standards of Behavior. Under Packnett’s leadership, Parkview has won several awards and honors both locally and nationally, including recognition on the list of 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. Packnett’s vision for a revitalized downtown led to Parkview’s sponsorship of Parkview Field, a commitment of annual support for at least 10 years.

 

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR – STEVE YBARRA, INDIANA MICHIGAN POWER
Steve Ybarra supervises personnel responsible for the maintenance and operation of the electric distribution system in Fort Wayne. A veteran line mechanic and former instructor at American Electric Power’s line school, Ybarra’s leadership abilities are well-known among his peers. Ybarra’s leadership became even more apparent as he took charge to battle the effects of the ice storm that devastated the Fort Wayne community in December of 2008, causing widespread power outages. Ybarra and his team not only coordinated the recovery efforts, but took measures to accommodate the more than 1500 extra workers that were summoned for the restoration. In the face of challenging weather conditions, Ybarra ensured that all workers had the ability to complete their work safely. The power restoration efforts in Fort Wayne were complete by Christmas Day, causing many citizens to herald the efforts of heroic line crews during those frigid days. Many were unaware of those behind the scenes, like Ybarra, who enabled hundreds of skilled workers to complete their job in a time of emergency.

 

The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving its membership of nearly 2000 Northeast Indiana businesses. The Chamber serves as a catalyst for economic growth in Northeast Indiana by providing relevant business resources for our members and facilitating strategic connections across business, education, and government. As the recognized voice of commerce in our region, we leverage our influence to advocate a pro-business agenda at the local, state and federal levels while serving as a government watchdog to keep our members informed of policy changes that will impact their businesses. By working in partnership with regional stakeholders, we will align the development efforts of our community to drive progress and promote economic vitality for Northeast Indiana.

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