For the sixth year in a row, the theme of the evening was Celebrate! in roaring twenties style.  Presenting sponsor OLG along with Elexicon Energy and Meta Employment Services helped set an incredible stage for the 159th President’s Dinner for the Belleville Chamber of Commerce held at Loyalist College.  Speakeasy style and choose your century fashion were the bee’s knees and enjoyed by over 200 members of Belleville’s business community.

In addition to the recognition of the service of retiring Board members, the Belleville Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of the sixth edition of the Cornerstone Awards, featuring the people behind some of the businesses in our community.

Recognition for their contributions to the Board were retiring members Wendy Kellar – Kellar Financial, Shaun Stickle – Sommers Generators Systems and Karen Poste, City of Belleville who has served as the City of Belleville’s representative for the past 16 years.  Also acknowledged were Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan who served while President of Loyalist College, Brian Pennell who served as the Quinte Manufacturers Representative and Ian Wilson as an appointed member for 2022.  Peter Kempenaar was recognized for his nine-year tenure on the Board and finishing off as Past President in 2022.

The President’s Recognition Award is presented by the outgoing President to someone they believe has gone above and beyond for the Chamber.  This year’s recipient is Jeanette Cyr-Guerreiro – Wilkinson & Co, who has been serving as Treasurer for the Board of Directors since January 2021.  Anthony Callaghan acknowledged her support to the Board in assisting them to perform their fiduciary duty with making financial reports easy to understand was very important to recognize during his presidential year.  The chamber is in a healthy financial position and her informative approach has allowed the Board to appreciate this in a very positive way.

Anthony Callaghan, McDougall Insurance & Financial received recognition for his service as the 158th President in 2022, presented by President Dale Hoard, MicroAge Technology Solutions.  Mayor Neil Ellis also presented Anthony with a Key to the City, a tradition started in 2018 to recognize the value the Chamber offers the community and the significance of the role the President serves. 

Following acknowledgements of service of the Board members, the Belleville Chamber of Commerce turns their attention to celebrating the contributions of their members through a variety of awards and the stories behind the recipients.

The COMMUNITY PARTNER award is presented to a person or organization that has been a valued partner with Chamber initiatives and they receive the honorary "Key to the Cabin".  The Kiwanis Club of Belleville celebrates their 100th anniversary this year and there have been many occasions where the Chamber and Kiwanis have partnered for the betterment of the community.  In fact, minutes from the 1923 Board of Directors noted they formalized this relationship in a motion to engage with regular meetings and presentations with each other along with the Rotary Club of Belleville.  The Rotary Club was recognized in 2020 with the very first award when they were celebrating their anniversary.

The Cornerstone awards are meant to distinguish and recognize members who have exemplified citizenship, founding, mentoring and vision and helped our community prosper.

The CITIZENSHIP award is presented to a Chamber member who has embraced the spirit of the community by their selfless acts and support to causes that improve the lives of Belleville’s citizens.  Greg Sudds, West City Honda and Past-President was recognized as the designated recipient of this award for 2022.  Quietly supporting the community for over 30 years, he accepted the award in hopes by being public it will serve to inspire others.  Greg’s most public impact was with the Humane Society PEH’s and their long awaited move to a new shelter.

The FOUNDER award is presented to a Chamber member who has built a business from its beginning or expanded an existing business that enhances the reputation of Belleville as a place where business can come to grow.   The award was presented to Barry Brown and Bill White who founded Bel-Con in 1973 and have been involved with a number of significant projects throughout the region, including the renovation of City Hall in 1988 but they’ve left their imprint with multiple business buildings.

The MENTOR award will be presented to a Chamber member who, through their daily work, intentionally or not, helps develop others with their leadership and guidance.  This year’s award is presented to Steve Weese, O’Flynn Weese (retired) and another Past-President for the culture of mentorship that remains his legacy to the firm.

The VISIONARY award is presented to a Chamber member who has seen an opportunity to revive or create something unique or unprecedented. Their dedication to this vision has resulted in raising the profile of Belleville and has contributed to the overall prosperity of the community.  This year, we recognize Andy Babiak, who redefined the window tinting business by developing template and cutting software that has transformed the industry world-wide (and his amazing transformations of planes & automobiles into BBQs for the BBQ in a Box seen at many corporate and family events).

Ultimately, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award could receive each of these awards individually. This year, the Belleville Chamber of Commerce recognized Peter Knudsen, K. Knudsen Construction Ltd.  Knudsen joins past recipients Maurice Rollins, Gerry Bongard, Alvin Parkhurst, Ed Lehtinen, Armin Quickert and Bob Doyle as a most deserving recipient and we thank him for choosing to come home to Belleville.  Knudsen projects are also recognized throughout Eastern Ontario (including the jet in front of the Holiday Inn in Trenton) and he has been recognized by multiple organizations for his philanthropy, including being named an Angel by the Children’s Foundation.

CLICK HERE for the photo gallery from the presentations as well as some candid photos from the evening.

CLICK HERE for the gallery from the Photo Booth.