Chamber celebrates year with annual Gala

Proud Jefferson City

Masters of Ceremony Dan Westhues, left, and Tami Turner hold up JCMO vanity stickers which were handed out to those attending the Annual Chamber Gala on Friday evening at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Masters of Ceremony Dan Westhues, left, and Tami Turner hold up JCMO vanity stickers which were handed out to those attending the Annual Chamber Gala on Friday evening at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Celebrating the pride of the Capital City, members of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce spent Friday evening toasting to the city’s accomplishments and success.

The annual event takes a look back at the big moments as well as the members who stood out in 2013.

Dan Westhues and Tami Turner acted as the emcees, stating points of pride throughout the night. Those who helped Jefferson City win Rand McNally’s Most Beautiful City award were honored.

The Chamber honored four others, with the annual Fast Forward Award, Chairman’s Award, Chamber Meritorious Civic Service Award and William W. Quigg Leadership Award.

The Fast Forward Award went to Kayla Wilbers of Huber and Associates. Wilbers was recognized for her outstanding leadership skills and making a positive impact on the community’s future. A co-worker endorsed Wilbers by saying “Her hard work ethic, attention to detail and creativity has made her one of the most valuable members of our extended team.”

Wilbers said when making a difference, she is looking at what she wants to do, and less of what she wants to be.

Roger Dudenhoeffer received the Chairman’s Award for his outstanding volunteer service to the Chamber throughout 2013.

“A couple adjectives that come to mind when describing this year’s award recipient: passionate and sincere,” Joe Scheppers, 2013 Chairman said as he presented the award.

Scheppers noted that Dudenhoeffer “sees the whole picture of what the Chamber is and does,” and “has his heart in the right place.”

Dudenhoeffer said he really believes in the Chamber, in Jefferson City, and the people present in the room.

Receiving the Chamber Meritorious Civic Service Award was Kathy Crow. The Chamber awarded Crow the honor because she is passionate about making a positive contribution to Jefferson City and “has gone above and beyond expectations in her service to the community,” presenter Bob Gilbert said.

Crow’s infectious laugh and her ability to relate to everyone she meets was also noted.

The recipient thanked the room through her tears, saying, “I don’t do what I do for this.”

The William W. Quigg Leadership Award was given to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of leadership, vision, and dedication to the community. Receiving the honor for his lifetime achievement was Mike “Pee Wee” Forck.

A distinguished leader in all aspects of life, Forck has thrived in the business sector, social and charitable networks, and local government.

“Our honoree has spent his lifetime in service to others,” Scheppers said. “No matter how busy this individual may be, he has time to stop and visit with people — and that’s what made him a great commissioner and what makes him a great person — his passion for people and for their welfare.”

While accepting his award, Forck said he hopes the community will keep up the progress. “I love the community, and I love the people I’ve met throughout the years.”

The Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce also honored its outgoing Chairman Joe Scheppers. Tom Naught and Chamber President/CEO Randy Allen both made toasts to the 2013 Chairman.

“Your leadership has been an inspiration to us all,” Allen said after thanking Scheppers for his service.

Scheppers highlighted several successes for the Chamber and the City in 2013, including the addition of Morris Converting, $1 million in grant funding for Lincoln University and Linn State Technical College, an 80-acre site being certified for future partnerships, Capital Region Medical Center’s upcoming $5 million expansion, and the recently announced re-purposing of St. Mary’s Health Center to Lincoln University and the state.

The 2014 Chairman, Bob Gilbert, introduced himself, saying this year comes with many opportunities. The Chamber will focus on membership, talent, growth and place. The internship programs in town and the Lafayette interchange project will be among top priorities. Having moved to Jefferson City just seven years ago, Gilbert said he and his family have felt an embrace from the community.

“The pride of Missouri rests here,” he said. “Let’s light the way for future generations of Missourians.”

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