BELOIT — Beloit pride was in full bloom at the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce 90th Annual Dinner Tuesday evening.
From the presentation by Wisconsin Tourism Secretary and Beloit native Stephanie Klett to the awards honoring local residents and businesses, the evening highlighted what's right about the Greater Beloit area.
The record crowd of 416 people enjoyed dinner and the awards presentations in the eventful evening.
Klett, who was the featured speaker for the dinner held at the Eclipse Center, said her job as tourism secretary is to market Wisconsin as a vacation spot — getting people out of their ordinary environment to have fun. She encouraged people to take time for themselves, saying they will never regret spending time with family and friends.
She also said for her, coming to Beloit is always special, not just because she gets to see family and friends, but because it is a special city and she recognizes its beauty and its flaws.
“It's a city that I love, that is in my blood,” she said. “The thing I like about it is we don't ever pretend that we are perfect.”
Incoming Chamber Board Chair Mary Marino said the chamber had an eventful year.
Maggie Littlefield was hired by the chamber as the new community concierge. The Ambassadors Club hosted eight ribbon-cutting events and several ground-breaking events. Chamber members helped students doing mock job interviews and Lunch and Learn events.
She said she hopes the chamber will do more in the coming year and she stressed she wants to hear from the members of the chamber on topics important to them.
“We want to hear more from you. We want to think of you as our proactive business partners,” Marino said.
Curt Lansbery of North American Tool Company received the Laurence Raymer Headliner Award.
Jeff Adams was named the recipient of the Ken Hendricks Spirit of the Community Award, noting his involvement in Beloit 2020 and other community improvement endeavors.
The Small Business of the Year award went to Lucy's No. 7 Burger Bar. The downtown restaurant which specializes in stuffed burgers opened in 2015 in the Phoenix building and has been pleasing hungry customers ever since.
The Large Business of the Year award went to Pratt Industries. The company settled in Beloit's Gateway Business Park in 2016 and produces corrugated packaging materials.
The Economic Development Award went to Comply 365. The company helps business clients leverage technology to drive operations.
The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Brad Brown of Brownfield Environmental Engineering. The company provides environmental site assessment, compliance consulting, remediation and redevelopment services.
The Non-Profit of the Year Award went to the Stateline Family YMCA. The YMCA is preparing to move to its new home in downtown Beloit in the Ironworks complex.
The Ambassador of the Year Award went to Chuck Wilson who has been to nearly all the Ambassador Club meetings and events.