The Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce recently recognized a host of business and civic leaders for contributions to the local community and economy.
A lucky 13 individuals and businesses were honored March 1 as part of the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual Community Celebration and Business Showcase.
Held at the St. Agatha Church Parish Hall, the event was an opportunity for the chamber to look back at Upper Arlington's evolution and the chamber's own beginnings in 1977, as well as the direction of the community and area business sector.
"The theme 'Go Back to the Future' gave attendees an opportunity to go back in time and see how Upper Arlington was formed while traveling decade by decade until they finally arrived to present day," chamber President Becky Hajost said.
"During the video presentation, each past chairperson of the board was recognized for their contribution and winners of the Taste of UA were recognized as gift cards were drawn by various audience participants."
This year, the chamber allowed the public to determine the winners of the Community Celebration and Business Showcase through Internet voting. The only criteria is that award finalists must be chamber members.
"The chamber's Community Celebration is a time to celebrate the economic vitality of Upper Arlington," said Debbie Segor, Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce membership director. "And each year, we look forward to celebrating the efforts of our member businesses as well.
"This event is the culmination of a year of the chamber's hard work in helping our members sustain, expand and grow their business in the local UA area," she said. "This one day lets us celebrate our successes and honor our members."
Among the many individuals and businesses honored was Wes Newhouse, who received the 2012 W. Arthur Cullman Business Person of the Year Award.
"It is a great honor to receive this award," Newhouse said. "We live in an exceptional community with great schools, good government, excellent not for profit institutions and great businesses.
"They all work together to make Upper Arlington a very special place to live and work."
Hajost said Newhouse's work with the chamber has been vital to its success and to the local community and business sector.
"Wes is a member of the chamber board of trustees and is the chair of the chamber's economic development division," Hajost said. "He works with the business development committee, which he chaired for two years, and the retail committee.
"(He's also a) guest lecturer and on the panel of judges for the UA High School Entrepreneurship Class and Competition. Wes has also been a speaker for the Ask the Expert and Breakfast Networking programs."
Other high-profile awards went to Horizons Cos., which received the 2012 Green Award; Ruth McNeil, the Upper Arlington Public Library's community relations manager, who was given the 2012 Public Sector Award; and Upper Arlington City Councilwoman Deborah Johnson, who received the 2012 Community Service Award.
Additional winners were:
* Giant Eagle Market District, 2012 Large Business of the Year.
* Bello Giardino, 2012 Small Business of the Year.
* National Church Residences, 2012 Corporate Citizen Award.
* Whole Foods Market, 2012 Business Image Award.
* Mary L. Dauberman Professional In-Home Care, 2012 Health and Wellness Award.
* Susan Toothman, 2012 Jeanne E. Schaal Contributing Member of the Year Award.
* Continental Realty, 2012 Economic Development Award.
* TechColumbus, 2012 Outstanding Technology Award.
Additionally, 2011-12 chamber board chairman Doug Ryan received recognition in appreciation of "Outstanding Service and Dedication."
"This year's event featured tradition, progress and the future while trying to honor all of those that have made significant contributions," Hajost said. "We have an excellent business climate in the UA area.
"The Columbus region is growing, and the chamber is helping to make a real impact on the economic future in partnership with the city and all of our strategic partners."