Lake Zurich Area Chamber honors business, community leaders
Photographed with state Rep. Ed Sullivan and former Chamber president Chris Geimer (right), Claire Slattery, of Mindful Mix, took home the Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year award. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 3, 2013 12:37PM
LAKE ZURICH — Several community members were honored Jan. 19 at the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce’s Evening of Excellence Awards ceremony at Concorde Banquets in Kildeer.
The ceremony recognized a business, a volunteer, an educator, a citizen and a chamber member for going above and beyond in service to the community.
Jack Edgar, owner of Hawthorn Woods Family Dental, said he was honored to be recognized as the chamber’s Business of the Year. Edgar, who moved his practice from Chicago to Hawthorn Woods in 2007, reported that he gained 400 clients in his first year in the area.
“I’ve been very fortunate with business here,” Edgar said. “I thought this was going to be a sleepy little practice, but I’m glad it didn’t turn out that way.”
Edgar shared credit with the chamber, which helped him meet and network with area residents and business owners.
The chamber’s business award looks to highlight business growth, innovation and involvement in the community.
“I really tried to sponsor some of the community events,” Edgar said.
Edgar said he was proud to participate in Mission of Mercy, in which doctors, dentists and ophthalmologists from all over the Chicago area give care to community members free of charge over a period of two days.
Chamber Board member Ken Grooms, of Grooms Insurance Associates in Lake Zurich, was honored as the director of the year.
“I really didn’t expect to win because there were some pretty awesome people nominated with me,” said Grooms, who serves as treasurer of the Chamber.
Grooms, who has run Grooms Insurance Associates with his wife since 1986, explained that the chamber board oversees many local special events including the Taste of the Towns, the business networking events and the annual golf outing.
“The Lake Zurich Chamber is a very civic-minded organization and I’m proud to be part of it,” he said.
Lake Zurich resident Claire Slattery was recognized as Citizen of the Year for her involvement with organizations including the District 95 Educational Foundation and the May Whitney Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.
“We’re basically making sure we have events and learning opportunities for kids outside the classroom curriculum,” Slattery said. “It’s opening doors for other opportunities for growth outside the classroom.”
Slattery, who runs Mindful Mix, a small marketing company, said she also is involved with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), which mentors eighth-grade and high school students on starting a small business. YEA! is a joint venture between the Chamber and District 95.
Nancy Needham, who won Volunteer of the Year, also is involved with YEA! Needham supervises the weekly Sunday dinners at Emmaus House and is involved with the Career Advisory Council at Lake Zurich High School, which offers mock job interviews with students.
“I was very proud,” Needham said of the honor. “I try to do a lot for the Chamber and it’s great to be recognized.”
Needham, a 30-year resident of Lake Zurich, said she also volunteers for the District 95 Educational Foundation and helps on the Lake Zurich Rotary Club’s membership committee.
“Every year, we try to get a range of people who are like-minded and wanting to help out in the community,” she said.
Needham, who owns Melon Ink Screen Printing in Lake Zurich, attributes her ability to find time to volunteer to her staff.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to volunteer the way I do,” she said.
Regina Hope, a social worker at Isaac Fox Elementary, was honored as Educator of the Year.
“This has been the highlight of my career,” said Hope, who has been a social worker in District 95 for 10 years. “This is the district I grew up in, so it’s a huge pleasure to be recognized and honored with this award. It means more than the world to me.”