Riverview Chamber Honors Members at Annual Dinner

The chamber paid tribute to the business people who have supported the chamber and community throughout the year at its annual dinner Jan. 18.

For Lisa Kennedy, owner of Alley Cat Pest Control in Riverview, the third time proved a charm.

During the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Jan. 18, Kennedy first appeared on stage to open the event by singing the National Anthem. The 2012 honorary mayor of Riverview then followed up by introducing those attending the dinner to the 2013 honorary mayor, Elijah Heath.

But, to her surprise, Kennedy was called up to the stage a third time -- this time to receive the Business Person of the Year award from last year's recipient Erik Butler of TakeOut Butler.

State-certified pest control operators, Kennedy and her husband, Cliff, started Alley Cat Pest Control in 2007 and quickly became involved with the Riverview community.

In addition to serving on the chamber's board of directors and running for honorary mayor of Riverview, Kennedy chaired the South Shore Young Professionals Association, is active with the American Cancer Society, the South Shore Business Association and Christian Business Connections.

In her business, Kennedy is passionate about educating the public on pest control issues and writes a regular blog on the company's website.

Other nominees for the award were Alison Farnan of Grimebusters Pressure Cleaning and .

Kennedy wasn't the only chamber member to walk away from the evening with honors.

The chamber also presented the 2012 Business of the Year award to Hess Orthodontics for its success, strong leadership in the community and community involvement. The practice's founder, Michael A. Hess, DMD, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of his staff.

Hess currently has a practice in Riverview and is building a second office off FishHawk Boulevard in Lithia, due to open later this year.

In addition to hailing Hess Orthodontics for its entrepreneurship, customer service and use of new technology, the chamber noted the practice's dedication to patient education and commitment to the community. The practice participates each year in a food collection drive for Feeding America Tampa Bay, a Halloween candy buy-back program, the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce's annual Trick or Treat Street, the FishHawk Chili Cook-Off and various fundraisers for local schools.

The award was presented to Hess by last year's Business of the Year recipient, veterinarian Kim Tyson of Four Paws Veterinary Hospital. Other nominees were the Osprey Observer and S&S Tacos/Pizza & Stuff.

Larry Brooks of A&A Mortgage Funding, last year's winner of the Margy Watkins Volunteer of the Year award, presented this year's award to Alison Farnan, owner of Grimebusters Pressure Cleaning and co-owner with her husband, Peter, of the FishHawk Ranch-based business, Clik-Me-Quik photography.

In addition to serving as an ambassador for the chamber, Farnan, is an active member of the chamber's Taking Care of Business networking group and served as this year's volunteer coordinator of Trick or Treat Street. 

Farnan also launched a copy paper drive to provide more than 200 school teachers with copy paper, is involved with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, A Kid's Place in Brandon, the Brandon Emergency Care Help Organization, Faces of Courage camp for those with cancer and Hand to Hope, a nonprofit for caregivers.

The award is named for longtime Riverview volunteer and chamber ambassador Margy Watkins, who was unable to attend the dinner after recently suffering a mild stroke.

Last year's Ambassador of the Year, Mary Owens of presented this year's award to a man who has earned the title twice before.

Joe Eletto of Century 21 Beggins also received the award in 2008 and 2010. Eletto is president-elect of the chamber.

The Shining Star award, presented by last year's winner, Gabrielle Perham of Mace Multimedia, went to Randy Ramos of Riverview Plumbing. The award is presented each year to the new chamber member who is most involved in chamber activities.






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