Allendale Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes President Mantella as keynote speaker


GVL / Marc Green

Sean Cauvet, Editorial Intern

On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Allendale Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC) held their award ceremony. Executive Director Janessa Smit was excited about recognizing great businesses and said the ceremony has three award categories for the winners.

“Each of the award categories have a specific list of criteria that we’re looking for in the nominations,” Smit said. “There’s the community impact, the business of the year and the chamber catalyst.”

For the Community Impact Award, the AACC is looking for a business, corporation or business person whose civic involvement and community service goes above and beyond the normal responsibilities.

The Business of the Year Award recognizes a business or organization that demonstrates excellence in their respective field through their commitment to best business practices, outstanding customer service, employee development and engagement in business community.

The Chamber Catalyst Award recognizes a business or organization for their commitment to building a better business community by exemplifying the mission of the AACC through leadership, collaboration and strategic partnerships. The winners of each award can be found on the Allendale Chamber of Commerce website.

“Businesses are doing great things day in and day out, but this is our once-a-year opportunity to recognize the businesses that really set themselves apart and go above and beyond to demonstrate excellence in the community,” Smit said.

Grand Valley State University is connected with the AACC Awards because there is a tie between the students at GVSU and what the employers that attend the event are looking for. In many ways, this is a networking event for both parties.

“A lot of our employers here are so blessed to have Grand Valley State in our community and we are interconnected in a lot of ways with the business and education partnership we have together,” Smit said. “The employers here utilize Grand Valley students and they are integrally connected in the services they provide to the students and the faculty in the community. Potluck Pickup is one example and it services our community, not just in Allendale Township, but the university population and residents, too.”

The keynote speaker of the event was GVSU president Philomena Mantella, whose expertise is in entrepreneurship.

“It was such an honor to have President Mantella here to share her vision, especially as she talks about the entrepreneurship of education as we’re here honoring these businesses that are entrepreneurs,” Smit said. “She also gave an update to the business community and provides that daily connection to us, but to have the people in attendance be able to hear from her personally was great.”