Chamber recognizes award winners


A Ladoga restaurant and a Crawfordsville lighting systems manufacturer were among the top businesses recognized Thursday at the annual Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce awards program at Stone Creek Lodge.

The Emporium 109 was named Small Business of the Year for its efforts to make the restaurant “the place to be.” Recent renovations to the downtown Ladoga property as well as vision and hard work for both the business and the community were cited in their nomination.

Acuity Brands earned the Large Business of the Year Award for going above and beyond in many areas and for establishing a strong connection with the community. Acuity was nominated for taking pride in its associates and its commitment to providing a clean, safe work environment.

Furthermore, Acuity drives shared values in the way it conducts business. “Curiosity, integrity, mentorship and collaboration across all departments allows for professional growth and development within the organization, thus providing the best place, for the best people to come and do their best work,” said Kim Keeling, the award presenter.

Winning the Emerald Educators Award were Jenny Veatch, Crawfordsville schools; Joy Jarvis, North Montgomery schools; and Erin Jones, South Montgomery schools.

Veatch was recognized for her effectiveness, passion and caring nature as a teacher and a school leader. Jarvis was honored for her deep understanding of reading instruction and her demeanor as joyful and kind to all. Jones was nominated for always going above and beyond for students, staff and the community.

Entrepreneur of the Year honors went to Ice Creams La Michoacana.

The Crawfordsville business on South Grant Avenue has made quite a splash with its many varieties of homemade ice cream, treats and Mexican foods.

Through the Gate, a residential treatment facility on Whitlock Avenue, was awarded the Community Organization of the Year Award. Presenter Brad Monts said the nonprofit works hard to help women learn a new way of living and doing. It takes women facing life dominating issues, like addiction, and helps them find resources for healing.

Dr. Jill Lamberton of Wabash College was presented the Champion of Change Award for her work in diversity, equality and inclusion. She was nominated for her tireless efforts to make the college and Crawfordsville a more welcoming place for people from all backgrounds. She has helped write grants and begin programs that help support and uplift people.

Erin Azar was the recipient of the Woman of the Year Award. Since moving to Crawfordsville in 2016, her focus has been on building and expanding the civil engineering business and raising her family in a Hoosier hometown. DES Engineering moved its business downtown to partner with historic district progress. Azar joined the Crawfordsville Main Street board of directors and has become the leading force in an architecture and engineering conditions assessment grant program for historic downtown property owners. She also serves as Chamber ambassador and is a member of Tri Kappa and Rotary Club.

Brittany Carr was awarded the Rising Star Young Professional of the Year Award. Carr works at a local credit union and serves as the president of the Montgomery County Leadership Academy. She also is a board member of the Education Foundation and Women in Business. She also serves as secretary for her children’s PTO board.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Nate Feltman, co-owner and CEO of the Indiana Business Journal and the Indiana Lawyer. He shared his thoughts on Indiana’s strengths and weaknesses.

Fifty-five member organizations attended the banquet as well as city and county officeholders, and State Sen. Brian Buchanan from District 7 and State Sen. Beau Baird from District 44 and U.S. Congressman Jim Baird from District 4.