Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Carbon County Economic Development Corporation held a joint event, "Winter Wonderland," to continue a tradition of hosting an annual dinner and holiday celebration.
The event was held Thursday night at the Mahoning Valley Country Club.
More than 100 people attended the festive event that featured a presentation of awards and the opportunity for the two organizations to engage in camaraderie with friends and business owners.
Dawn Ferrante, chairman of the Carbon County Chamber and executive director of the Carbon County Economic Development Corp., served as master of ceremonies.
Award recipients were:
Ÿ Frank R. Potoczak as the 2012 Carbon County Chamber "Volunteer of the Year." Potoczak has been responsible for chairing several events in the area and also organized the Farmers Market on Stanley Hoffman Boulevard.
"I love doing what I'm doing," he said. "People often ask why, when you are running two businesses and it's because I want to give back for a better community. I want to build a better community for my children and your children. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing."
Ÿ Blue Mountain Health System as the "2012 Business of the Year."
Blue Mountain Health System was recognized for integrating Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital and Palmerton Hospital into one health care system.
"In the last three years we've gone from a $10 million deficit to $1.5 million in profits," said Drew Harris, CEO and president of Blue Mountain Health System. "This allows us to give back to our employees and the community."
Ÿ Jack Strum received the William H. Bayer Lifetime Achievement Award.
"The William H. Bayer Lifetime Achievement Award was started last year in the name of a very special board member who passed," said Ferrante. "Bill Bayer was a man of great kindness and his generosity will never be forgotten. He lives on in this award that bears his name."
Ferrante said that Strum has contributed many hours of hard work and dedication to the chamber.
"Jack has worked hard to support the efforts of the chamber and has always been a 'go to' person for every marketing related for the chamber for many years," she added.
Jack's wife, Elaine, accepted the awards for him since he is recovering from surgery.
Jack gave a brief thank you via video presentation.
Ferrante gave a brief overview of each of the organization's accomplishments in 2012.
She noted that CCEDC has held entrepreneurial workshops, career fairs, supported expansions and continued to work on privatization for DCED certification.
The CCCC has been busy working on the consolidation of the chambers and councils, took part in entrepreneurial workshops, began a new committee structure and has new ideas for marking and outreach.
Ferrante was assisted with the presentation of the awards by Marlyn Kissner, executive vice president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and Patricia Handwerk, CCCC board vice chairman and chairman of the chamber's marketing committee.
Recognized were David Althouse and Strum, who, Ferrante said, worked hard the past three years in their roles as chairman and vice chairman of the CCCC.
Ferrante also recognized:
The CCEDC board of directors: Ronald M. Tirpak, Paul J. Canevari, Mark A. Sverchek, Frank J. Hager, William Smelas, Gail Christman, Michael Harleman, Victor Jahelka, Marshall Walters, Patrick Reilly, Kyle Whittaker, Craig Zurn and Ric Reaman.
The CCCC board members: Ferrante, Patricia Handwerk, Ralph Cortazzo, Frank Potoczak, David Althouse, Jack Strum, William Billowitch, Bart Springer, Peter Kern, Mark Sverchek, Richard Moore, Martha Rex, Marlyn Kissner, Elissa Garofalo, Dave Figenshu, Jake Arner, Joe Federanich and Ray Brader.
Kissner recognized the chamber's committee chairs, Frank Potoczak, events; Patricia Handwerk, marketing; Michael Harleman, sponsorships; Melissa Binder, volunteers; Chuck Dickenson, tourism. and chairing two committees, Akantha Susko, membership and Women in Business.
The evening concluded with a comedy presentation by Ross Bennett.