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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 2 years ago

Erika Spence: Business in the Park

Celebrating our members
by: Erika Spence

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce recently recognized several of its members at the organization’s annual Membership Awards Celebration presented by CenturyLink and Rollins College. In addition to presenting awards to the organizations and individuals that made positive contributions to the Chamber and Winter Park community in 2016, John Casebier, senior vice president at Seacoast Bank, was honored as the Lydia Gardner Citizen of the Year. John is actively involved in numerous community organizations, including Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Plaza Live Foundation, Winter Park Public Library and Leadership Winter Park, among others. He is a graduate of Leadership Winter Park Class I and became a facilitator to help launch the Youth Leaders program, a role he championed for 16 years.

Created in 1985, the Winter Park Citizen of the Year Award is as an opportunity for the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce to recognize an outstanding member of the community each year. The Citizen of the Year is someone whose leadership and service to Winter Park has made a significant impact to the economic, educational and civic well-being of the area. In 2013, the award was renamed posthumously to honor Lydia Gardner for her leadership, passion and public service.

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce also honored Mead Botanical Garden as the Community Organization of the Year award for its efforts to create a meaningful, relevant and extraordinary place, and the Winter Park Police and Fire-Rescue Departments for their assistance with permitting, event security and public safety for the many events and celebrations held throughout the year.

Several other awards celebrated individuals and companies that contributed time and talent to the organization, including:

• Ambassador of the Year: Debbi Beers, Citizens Bank of Florida

• Chairman of the Year: Charlene Hotaling, Seacoast Bank, for her leadership of both the Ambassador and Membership committees

• Business of the Year: Westminster Winter Park

• Small Business of the Year: Redbird Printing

• Volunteer of the Year: Gerry Marino

Finally, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce celebrated its Chamber Hero, an award that recognizes a city of Winter Park employee whose service to the Chamber and the community is unparalleled. This year’s recipient is Ronnie Miller, Parks and Recreation assistant director for the city of Winter Park. Ronnie always goes above and beyond to find ways to elevate the event experience for guests. The Taste of Winter Park, Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, Winter on the Avenue and Leadership Winter Park Pancake Breakfast would not be possible without his passion for enriching the community with memorable experiences.

The Sip takes a political twist

You can mark the changing of the seasons by the Chamber’s popular Sip, Shop and Stroll events. On March 2, from 5 to 8 p.m., the event takes on a new twist with a straw poll. The Sip, Shop and Straw Poll presented by Allegro will include the first City Commission Straw Poll in addition to the Park Avenue stroll. Guests will check in at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce on Lyman Avenue and cast a straw ballot for City Commission Seat 1 before strolling to new and popular merchants along Park Avenue. The stroll features one of Park Avenue’s newest shops, Fig and Julep in the Hidden Garden, along with 27 favorite stores and restaurants.

A complete list of participants, event details and tickets are available online at

New to the Welcome Center

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome three new concierges for our community. When you stop by the Welcome Center for a meeting, program or information about Winter Park, you will meet one of three new concierges ready to assist you. Please stop by and welcome Eric Patrick, Candice Travieso and Jacqueline Roberts to our team.

Erika Spence is the vice president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.

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