The year 2019 has been a big one for the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Fresh off celebrating our 50th anniversary and receiving the Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Ethics, our chamber has worked tirelessly toward advancing our mission to enhance the business climate and quality of life in our community.

The year began with a business seminar, "Powered by Happy," led by Beth Thomas, our 2018 Businessperson of the Year and CEO of Change 4 Growth, that focused on growing happier and healthier offices. Following the seminar and annual meeting, came roughly 50 networking and development events provided for the membership, which included selling out Taste of Westerville and Evening of Elegance, along with hosting a headliner concert at our Westerville Music & Arts Festival with the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department that included the Urban Jazz Coalition and the Reaganomics.

Throughout the year, our government relations committee and board of trustees tirelessly researched both levies on the November ballot and endorsed both supporting our Westerville police and Westerville City School District.

We collaborated with the Central Ohio Transit Authority on an online video series, CMAX Chats, as we discuss with leaders topics like workforce and development opportunities and accessibility into our community and region. The chamber, along with key community partners, completed an extensive talent assessment and developed strategies to continue workforce efforts in our community.

Our chamber experienced an 89% retention rate this year with member businesses, resulting in nearly 750 businesses, representing 20,000 employees. Capping off the year, we are excited to announce our 2019 Annual Chamber Award Recipients:

* Business Person of the Year -- Megan Ada, Asterisk Supper Club

* Young Professional of the Year -- Alli Redinger, Robin Enterprises

* Large Business of the Year -- The Champion Companies

* Small Business of the Year -- MAD Scientists Associates.

All in all, 2019 has been a strong year for our greater Westerville business community and the chamber. We are thankful for the countless volunteers and business leaders who helped to make this one of our best years to date. We can't wait for 2020.

All event times and details can be found at westerville or by calling the chamber office at 614-882-8917.

Janet Tressler-Davis is president and CEO of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides Chamber Corner to ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion.