Chandler Chamber honors businesses, community leaders - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Chamber honors businesses, community leaders

June 17th, 2018 development
Chandler Chamber honors businesses, community leaders

SanTan Sun News Staff


Businesses and individuals were honored June 2 for their contributions to the city at the Chandler Chamber of Commerce’s annual Community Awards gala.

In addition, three young people each received $2,000 scholarships. They were: Devin Starr, Lucas Kaufman and Ariana Ring.

Here is a rundown on the honorees

Anne Marie Filiere – Educator of the Year

Anne Marie Filiere of Arizona College Prep-Oakland measures her success by the results of those who think that they cannot do math. She knows anyone can learn math. She sets up parent meetings to talk about how to best support her students when they leave her classroom for another grade level.

She emails the principal regularly to give updates about whom he can find and celebrate on campus. It can be as simple as “Student Ray Rodriguez earned a 92 percent on his test. They worked so hard with me in study groups. Can you call them up to celebrate with them?”

Principal Jayson Phillips said Filiere “makes me a better educator and reminds me daily why I picked education as my profession. She is an inspiration to so many students who struggle in math and to me as a fellow educator.”

Alexandra Ruiz – School Support Staff Employee of the Year

Alexandra Ruiz has been with the CUSD transportation department since and was described has having a big heart and someone who “loves to help her fellow workers and the community.”

“Her caring for others has let them know they have a true friend. Alex spearheaded a bake sale at transportation that raised over $1,000 to help a family that experienced a terrible accident taking the lives of three CUSD children and their grandfather. For the past five years, Alex and her family have participated in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer,” the Chamber said, adding:

“She is a person that always gives back to the community. Through her example, she is raising her two boys to have the same love for others that she demonstrates every day.”

Karen Martin – Administrator of the Year

Karen Martin, as assistant principal at Chandler High School, “is like the Wizard of Oz, working behind the scenes to keep Chandler High achievement racing at warp speed,” the Chamber said.

“This job is daunting when you think about the number of students, teachers and classes. Karen is a tireless advocate for students and passionate about seeing them succeed. She is always looking for resources and programs that will help students succeed. In the student services department, Karen creates and atmosphere of trust.

“Her style of leadership empowers the department to do and be their best and to work as a team in providing the best service possible for our students. Students know her as a firm but fair administrator that will listen to them before drawing any conclusion regarding their academic performance or discipline issues.”

Don Howard – Ambassador of the Year

As a Chamber ambassador, Don Howard of Legal Shield Associates “is everywhere, participating in most events and focusing on public policy agenda,” the Chamber said.

“His favorite thing to do is to mentor new businesses and owners that join the Chamber to get the most from their investment as possible. He is a former Marine who flew in Huey helicopters, but today he touches down at Chamber events around town.

MST Solutions – Business Diversity in Action

Thiru Thangarathinam accepted the award on behalf of MST Solutions, which the Chamber said “is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce in Chandler.”

“They have a Women in Technology program dedicated to attracting and retaining more women to MST, and tech jobs at large. The focus for the WIT program this year on equal pay and inclusive hiring practices. Due to the large growth over the past two years, the CEO has seen the need and committed to responsible growth as a corporate citizen of Chandler.

“Focusing on involvement in the community, including KIND Project, which works to help underserved women in the local community, he also has committed to expanding the diversity and inclusion program at MST to ensure that they are attracting diverse candidates and creating a workplace that celebrates and embraces the difference that make them stronger.”

Nancy Martinez – James R. Snedigar Award

“Nancy Martinez exhibits the character and standards that reflect those of the award namesake, Officer James R. Snedigar,” the Chamber said, referring to an officer killed in the line of duty.

The award, given to someone who has made a significant difference in the quality of life of an individual, a group or the community, honored Martinez, an investigative specialist for the Chandler Police, where she has been employed for 12 years, for her work with the Special Victims Unit.

“Through collaboration with medical and behavioral specialists, clinicians, parents and self-advocates, she created and has taught disability awareness classes to several hundred first responders throughout Arizona, including law enforcement and FIRE/EMS, lifeguards and dispatchers,” the Chamber said.

“She seeks to provide concrete communication strategies, challenge stereotypes and dispel myths, in an effort to increase successful interactions and promote partnerships. Her commitment and passion has built momentum for this very important issue.”

Waymo – The Chandler Cup

“Chandler continues to develop a strong partnership with Waymo since Google chose the city for its first Arizona destination of vehicle testing in 2016,” the Chamber said.

“Waymo has dedicated much of its research and development here in the community and continues to work closely with Chandler officials to enhance the safety capabilities of autonomous vehicles, particularly as Waymo moves into its ride-sharing program in the coming years,” the Chamber said.

Chandler Lions Club – The Community Cup

Ruth Wick accepted the award on behalf of the Chandler Lions Club, which the Chamber praised for its contributions to the community since its inception in 1939.

“The Chandler Lions is a group of dedicated volunteers of the Chandler Community who are constantly striving to represent and assist the community to the best of their abilities,” the Chamber noted.

“This includes, but is not limited to, participating in the City of Chandler’s holiday celebrations by bringing Santa and his elves to take free pictures during the Tumbleweed Parade and every Saturday leading up to Christmas.”

It also includes working with the Hamilton High School Leo Club, providing mentorship and opportunities for the students to participate in community events; staffing the snack shack at Snedigar Park weeknights and weekends to fundraise for community events and providing free eye care and glasses to the youth of the Chandler community.”

In 2017, the Chandler Lions provided eye exams for 150 Chandler Unified School District students.

Soho63 – The Chamber Cup

Megan Schmidt accepted the award on behalf of Soho63, which is about to mark its fifth anniversary. The Christensen family purchased this building in distress and within 60 days brought new life and a new business and immediately helped hysterical brides-to-be when the previous business closed on short notice.

To date, they have hosted about 400 wedding and events. The long tenure of the event curators “is a tribute to the wonderful work environment and atmosphere,” the Chamber said. Schmidt, the managing partner, is on the board of the DCCP and partner-brother James Christensen is on the Chamber board and involved in events. “Mother Kate Christensen keeps the kids on track and father Boyd is frequently seen working on improvements, enhancements of the building,” the Chamber added.

Form Prosperity – Micro Business Award

Jeremy McClymonds, financial advisor and principal owner of Form Prosperity, “devotes a great portion of his free time to serving the Chandler community,” the Chamber said.

He has served on the Chandler Chamber board and is a past chairman and currently is the business development committee chair.

“He is a champion of commerce for our community and has displayed this in his annual ultimate event along with numerous examples too long to list here,” the Chamber said, adding that his community involvement includes board member of the Chandler Compadres, the Kiwanis Chandler Young Professional Board and the Chandler Parks and Recreation Board.

Chamberlain Orthodontics – Small Business Award

Dr. Thomas Chamberlain “loves to give back to the community” and wanted to do something for teachers in Chandler. So, he gave 25 teachers free orthodontics treatments valued at $5,000 each. His practice also sponsors yearly essay contests at local high schools for free braces for kids in need.

It also has helped 100 Club of AZ, ICAN, House of Refuge, Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley and sponsored a Halloween candy buy-back and donate the candy to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for their CARE Carts.

Seton Catholic Preparatory – Medium Sized Business of the Year

Seton Catholic serves students from throughout the East Valley as well as Phoenix and Casa Grande. Today with a current enrollment of 581 students, Seton remains the only Catholic college preparatory high school in the East Valley, though the school is open to students of all faith, dedicated to academic excellence, leadership and loving service to others.

In September, Seton Catholic was named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School in the “Exemplary High Performing” category by the U.S. Department of Education. Seton is one of just five schools in Arizona to earn this honor this year.

Gila River Casino – Large Business of the Year

Over the Years, Gila River Casino has been involved with the City of Chandler and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, donating funds to local charities, hosting and sponsoring luncheons, and mixers and hosting the Chandler Chamber Annual Community Awards for several years.

“Gila River’s close involvement with the city has provided growth and stability, and benefitted the community in many areas, including education and healthcare,” the Chamber said.

Its contributions include: sponsorship of a Chandler D-backs Kids clinic, yearly donations to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament, Sun Lakes Rotary Club, Chandler Compadres, and $86,000 in donations to the Boys and Girls club of the East Valley since 2014.

Gila River has also donated money to Chandler-based nonprofits such as the Assistance League of the East Valley, Baby Sav, Chandler Lions Club, Si Se Puede Foundation, and the Chandler Self Help Foundation.  

Comments are closed.