Business of the Year a benefit to communities

Business of the Year a benefit to communities

THE ISSUE: Coal Country Chamber recently recognized its business of the year and other community leaders

OUR VIEW:  Recognition is vital to encouraging civic and community involvement

CARLINVILLE (Feb. 8, 2018) – Recently the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) held its annual awards banquet. Named to receive the 2017 award for Business of the Year was the Goodman Agency. Also receiving recognition were: Jennifer Redolfi, Spirit of CCC award; Bill Miller of Bill’s IGA, Good Heart award; and Renee and Rich Katich, Good Heart award.

Winners of such awards are often puzzled why they were selected since they view their role as simply helping the community. Others, perhaps more informed, know that the myriad of events sponsored by a chamber of commerce take many volunteer hours to produce successful results. They also know that some of these winners are the quiet unsung heroes who on a daily basis help those in need, not seeking recognition.

Recognition is important, however, to pause and reflect on the successful attributes of the winners. In the case of the Goodman Agency, Roger Goodman noted that he and his wife Fran were shocked to be honored. Totally unexpected, Goodman said he and Fran were in awe of the honor at a very nice banquet. Their real estate and insurance firm began in Carlinville in 1977 as the Kasten-Goodman agency, Inc by Roger Goodman and Dale Kasten and continued under that name until 2007 when Kasten retired.  In 2005 they opened a second office in Benld.

According to CCCC treasurer Mike Brill, the Goodman Agency was recognized because of their dedication to the Chamber since establishing their Benld office. “They’ve been enthusiastic members of the Chamber,” he said. “You always see them volunteering for at least one summer concert, helping out at the concession stand during the fall festival. They’ve been a generous sponsor of a number of events as well over the years. It’s organizations like this that helps keep the Chamber going and providing the opportunities to the communities, as far as the summer concerts, the fall festival, the snack with Santa, the Holiday Sparkle, and all the great things that we’re able to do because of groups like this.”

Roger Goodman reflected that it is vital for Chamber members to be active members as it takes everyone working together to sustain such an organization. “Even competitors in business can work side by side for the betterment of the community when volunteering for the Chamber. We have a great staff, many of whom have been with us many years. They are the ones who have truly built our business and we owe a great deal of gratitude to them. They go beyond what is expected of them and do the right thing.”

The keynote speaker for the banquet, Kim Harber, senior vice president of Madison Communications, challenged those in attendance to take a more regional approach in community development, favoring public and private partnerships when possible. “The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce has done a great job of doing this,” he noted. “Be an active participant in your community. It’s human nature to analyze what’s not happening.” Harber favors being an agent of change and trying to learn and enjoy from the change. “Don’t be afraid of failure. Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before his next try which created the lightbulb. Be willing to learn from failure.”

Stressing the need to set aside differences in working towards a common purpose Harber added, “We all have differences and we need to learn to value them. Let’s work to create a community not just where we make a living but where we can make a difference. Share what you know and be willing to reach back and help someone else if needed.”

Harber acknowledged that while the time commitment can be very demanding, whether that be serving on a Chamber board or working in one’s respective life, he cautioned those in attendance to remember that “just because we’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean we are getting more done. Visions or dreams without goals are really just dreams.”

Congratulations to this year’s award winners. They exemplify those who are making a difference in our communities. May their efforts provide inspiration to others.