Businesses Praise Employees at Ed/Glen Chamber Gala

March 17, 2023  |  Honoring employees and staff became a recurrent theme at the annual Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Awards Gala.

Small Business of the Year winner 1818 Chophouse’s Megan Pashea set the tone.

“What an honor being born and raised here,” said Pashea, flanked on either side by her father John Pashea and her business and life partner, Adam Washburn, who’s also 1818’s executive chef. “Thanks for always supporting us. I said I wasn’t going to cry…” as she started to become choked up.

She paused and continued.

“Our team, they’re the reason why we are here.”

Her father surprised her, asking the event room full of guests to sing “Happy Birthday” to Pashea, which they gladly obliged.

“I don’t know what’s better, acknowledging employees as the backbone of your business, or a dad being a dad,” emcee and deejay Daryl Luster, voted Best DJ in Hearst’s Madison County Best of the Best 2022.

The sentiment continued with the next award winner: Large Business of the Year Contegra Construction Co.

Contegra recently reached the $1 billion mark in completed projects and transferred 100% ownership of the firm to its employees.

“I grew up in Florida but my wife is from here, so I think I’ve been adopted,” said Contegra Chief Financial Officer Sean Ketcherside.

“We work here, we build here, we live here. Now we have 150 to 200 more stakeholders here.”

After the first couple awards the crowd at the Ed/Glen Chamber’s packed gala at The Ink House mingled — by design.

Ed/Glen Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Desiree Bennyhoff and Membership Director Katie Haas launched a new format for the gala.

Instead of guests sitting static, the ceremony took place about every 15 minutes with an award or two being announced, then it was back to networking. Tables of delicious cheeses, meats and appetizers, provided by 1818 Chophouse, were placed throughout Downtown Edwardsville’s The Ink House event venue for guests to approach at their leisure.

“The attendee experience drove this whole thing,” said Haas about this year’s gala recognizing 2022 honorees.

“It was a team effort to try to make this different, but also exciting, especially for the attendees.”

Awards continued with the Tallerico Leadership Award to Candice Fowler, the Albert Cassens Award to Eddie Lowry and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Keith Page, Anderson Healthcare’s Keith Page, president and chief executive officer.

Fowler is president and chief executive officer of Utilitra, a 100% woman-owned Edwardsville firm specializing in design, construction and technology solutions.

Fowler also referenced her team during her acceptance speech, saying she could not do what she does without them.

The Cassens award is based in philanthropy. Recipient Lowry is a nationally recognized real estate attorney, for which he has been recognized as one of the best real estate lawyers in America for the last four years. He also has spent tremendous time building up athletic program in the community.

In accepting the biggest award of the night, Page credited a commitment to service by all those involved and community involvement. Page recently marked 27 years of leadership with Anderson Healthcare, where he started as chief operating officer in 1996 when it was Anderson Hospital. Anderson is one of the region’s largest employers.

“It is my life’s work,” Page said of leading Anderson Healthcare.

It was also announced that the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (IACCE) recognized the Ed/Glen Chamber of Commerce’s Bennyhoff with the Chamber Excellence Brann Award in November 2019. The Ed/Glen Chamber won IACCE’s Outstanding Chamber of the Year in 2020.

In addition to organizational achievements, Bennyhoff and Haas each earned professional certifications. IACCE President Lisa Weitzel, of Springfield, presented the pair with their respective awards at Thursday night’s awards gala.

Article courtesy of The Telegraph