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“The Chamber Awards Luncheon is a great opportunity to take a moment out of our busy schedules and recognize the accomplishments of individuals who have gone the extra mile to help ensure that New Castle County has a strong economic climate so that our 1,300 member businesses can achieve success,” said Mark Kleinschmit, president.
The David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be presented to Mark Landis, president, Metro Merchant Services, Delaware City.
Since 1997, Landis has been focusing on finding the right Merchants and keeping them as customers.
Metro has recognized by one of the largest processors in the industry as having the lowest customer attrition rate. With more than 19 years of experience, Metro has agent representation nationally, serving thousands of merchants all over the country, a Chamber release stated.
The Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award will be presented to Frank DeSantis, program director, Emerging Enterprise Center. The Emerging Enterprise Center is a Business Incubator that serves early-stage & start-up businesses in New Castle County. DeSantis is retiring from the post, with a search underway for his successor.
After a 36-year career in the corporate world with Sears in both its stores and its home office, Frank has spent the last six years helping small business owners start and grow their companies. Starting first with SCORE Delaware, and for the past three years at the EEC, Frank’s understanding of both the strategic and practical sides of running the business has helped EEC companies grow their business, develop business skills, and refine their business models, a chamber release stated.
The Wallace Johnson Award for Community Service Award will be presented to Kineta and Joe Russo of Texas Roadhouse, Bear.
Supporting local and national charities is also a big part of Texas Roadhouse in Bear. They partner throughout the year with charities such as The Salvation Army, Easterseals, Blood Bank of Delmarva and the American Cancer Society on the national and regional level to help support programs.
The Texas Roadhouse owners support local charities and families through fundraising drives, participating in local walks and helping out in any way they can.
Joe and Kineta contributed $60,000 last year through 10 percent fund-raiser nights, beef and beer donations, sport and dance team gift card drives, and other programs.
Kineta said “Our partnership with the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce has opened many doors for us with local businesses both big and small in our community. We have been able to support local businesses through networking lunches at the Chamber or at Texas Roadhouse.”
In 1972, the Chamber established the Wallace Johnson Award for Community Service to recognize a Chamber member who was very active in the community and involved in making New Castle County a better place. The award is named after Dr. Johnson, a family practice physician in Newark.
The Ambassador of the Year Award will be presented to Cheryl Strootman of Costco Wholesale. The Chamber Ambassadors donate their time and energy to provide customer service to fellow members and serve as the public relations arm of the chamber.
Cheryl Strootman has worked for several companies including Olan Mills Studios and was a manager at Electrolux. In 1999, Cheryl started her career with Costco Wholesale.