Who will be community award-winners this year?

Maricopa Chamber of Commerce will host its 11th annual Chamber Awards Jan. 20, and this year the Chamber is offering up something new.

With a night of food, dancing, raffles and awards, the Maricopa business community will celebrate recent achievements at the Elements Events Center from 5:30-11 p.m. The Chamber’s chairman is adding a sixth award to recognize an individual who went above and beyond to support the community.

In the past, awards have been limited to the five the chamber’s board collectively votes on; The Waz Award, Small Business of the Year award, Sonny Dunn Business of the Year Award, Non-Profit of the Year Award and the Renate Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Chairman’s Award, Maricopa Chamber director Terri Crain said, is a way for the leader of the board, Chris Cahall, to hand-pick someone who has done something extraordinary for the community.

“It can be given to anyone for doing something good,” Crain said. “It’s at the sole discretion of the chairman.”

The awards serve not only as a way to recognize past achievements, Crain said, but also as a way to “build a bridge to the future.”

Crain started the awards banquet in 2006 with the guidance of then-board member Bill Wasowicz, and it has proven to be a major source of pride for the business community, she said.

“It’s a great way for the community to come together and support small businesses and recognize our volunteers,” Crain said.

Having recently rejoined the Chamber, Crain sees it fitting to be a part of the tradition she helped create more than a decade ago.

Expected dignitaries include Mayor Christian Price, County Supervisor Anthony Smith and his wife, City Councilmember Nancy Smith. Tables of 10 can be reserved for $500, and reservations can be made until Jan. 18.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.