Chamber wraps up another year


The Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce wrapped up another year Thursday night.

The 87th annual dinner drew a record number of people to Celebrations on the city’s east side.

The highlight of the evening, as always, was the presentation of seven awards, including the Citizenship Award, which went to Seymour native John T. Beatty, and the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award went to Bob Poynter.

Beatty, who has been in the insurance business since May 1972, said he was humbled and honored to be recognized.

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“The list of previous winners is very impressive, and many of these people I consider mentors,” he said. “And I have had the good fortune of being the beneficiary of their wisdom and good work.”

Beatty, president of Beatty Insurance, said he also was blessed to have had parents who instilled in him the importance of community service. He serves as a director and finance committee member for the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, is a member of the advisory board of Jackson Jennings Community Corrections and is a member of the board of Schneck Medical Foundation.

Poynter, who owns three automobile dealerships in the city, said he has been very blessed to work with a great bunch of people over the years.

“Thank you for this award,” he said. “We will all cherish it very much.”

The chamber’s Rising Star Award, first implemented in 2008 to honor young active community members, went to Dr. Matt Pierce, a dentist originally from Anderson who decided to set up shop in Seymour.

“This award is really a surprise to me, and it is a real treat,” he said. “It’s a surprise for a couple of reasons. One, everybody hates their dentist. And two, I thought I was better know for my funky socks I wear at work.”

Mike and Katie Hall, who own The Pines Restaurants Inc., received the Small Business of the Year Award, and Educator of the Year Awards went to Jennifer Regruth (elementary), Cindy Ault (middle school) and Ann Tormoehlen (high school).

Chamber President Tricia Bechman gave the year-in-review reports and introduced her board as “a slightly competitive group.”

“They always want to see an increase attendance at events and increase in the bottom line on the financials,” she said.

Bechman said attendance at the 2017 annual dinner was the largest in the history of the event, but this year’s event was sold out.

“The annual dinner really jump-started our year, and it was followed up with an outstanding women’s conference that was attended by 250 and followed by a very successful golf tournament,” she said.

“As you can tell, we do have fun at the chamber, but we also take our job seriously, and that is to serve you, our members,” she said. “We want your membership to be of value to you.”

Bechman said the chamber always has had loyal members.

“In 2017, we celebrated a 92 percent retention rate and welcomed 23 new members,” she said.

The historic building that has served as the chamber’s office since December 1985 also underwent some upgrades this past year thanks in part to a grant from Seymour Main Street.

“Brick, mortar and rusted window frames were replaced,” Bechman said. “Iron pipes were repaired, and plaster was fixed — all much-needed repairs.”

Chamber board member Ray Eakins, who was the master of ceremonies, recognized the three outgoing board members, Ron Craig, Debbie Hackman and Joe Hildreth, and 2017 board chairman Marvin Veatch.

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