TACC Commemorates Achievements of Area Businesses, Organizations, and Individuals
The Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards dinner on Tuesday, March 28th. Over 150 business and community leaders gathered to help the Chamber commemorate the achievements of area businesses and organizations.
The event was held at the Solstice Restaurant, in the recently expanded base lodge at Whitetail Ski Resort.
The dinner began with the invocation and flag salute, led by Clifford Smith, Jr. Thereafter, Alfred Bendell, IV, the 2017 Chairman of the TACC Board of Directors welcomed guests and announced the 2017 board of directors. Bendell is the President of Thompson Oil Company in Waynesboro. In speaking of one of the upcoming awards, he jokingly announced that “unfortunately, Whitetail Resort and Thompson Oil are not this year’s not for profit of the year”. He was of course referring to the strange winter season that took place. Bendell encouraged members to reach out to the Chamber, and to share your successes and struggles, “we are here to help”.
Robert Fignar, President of the First Community Bank of Mercersburg spoke next. The bank has been the annual awards dinner sponsor for the past several years. Fignar announced that at their annual shareholders meeting held earlier that day, Bob Hoffman was retiring as their board chairman, and William Sanders, Jr. was selected as the new chairman.
TACC Executive Director, Chris Ardinger, presented the first award of the evening, Volunteer of the Year. “This individual continues to remain active in our chamber, even in retirement,” Ardinger said of the winner, adding that she had worked for Whitetail Resort for 22 years, and retired in August 2015 as Director of Resort Services.
“She served on the Chamber of Commerce board for 9 years, and continues to volunteer for just about every event, as long as it does not interfere with her time with the grandkids,” said Ardinger. After a few more teasers, he announced that Judy Boyd is the 2017 Volunteer of the Year.
Next on the agenda was the Not for Profit of the Year award presentation, being presented by Mercersburg Mayor Roger Defibaugh. A PowerPoint slide listed a variety of facts about the nominee, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, having been active in the community since 1941, and some of its major achievements include: starting the Mercersburg Halloween Parade in 1941; manning a watch tour on the Mercersburg Academy campus to keep an eye out for planes during WWII; in 1949 the group purchased five acres of land and started a community park, and also hosts the Annual Mercersburg Community Fair. By this time, virtually everyone in the room had realized that the winner was the Mercersburg Lions Club and applauded enthusiastically as Defibaugh thanked them for their many years of service to the community. Joe Diamond, President of the Lions Club accepted the award, and thanked the Chamber for the honor.
The nominee for Business of the Year was established in 1873, and has grown into a multinational group, supporting customers in 180 countries with operations in 90. Their operation in Ft. Loudon was established in 1989, and they recently expanded into a 66,000 square foot addition, constructed in partnership with the Franklin County Area Development Corporation (FCADC), whose President, Mike Ross, made this presentation.
This consolidation has recently led to an additional 50 plus jobs for the region. This company began making products for railways, but has expanded into many other areas, including: compressors, construction and mining equipment, vacuum solutions, power tools, and assembly solutions. The nominee and their employees are very active in the Tuscarora region, and they support just about every local, non-profit organization, and they were also influential in establishing a welding program at James Buchanan High School.
It was clear soon enough that Atlas Copco was the 2017 Business of the Year, and Keith Mackling, General Manager of the Ft. Loudon site accepted the award, along with a team of employees. Mackling thanked his team of employees, and several organizations and individuals that made their expansion possible. He spoke very highly of the Tuscarora region, and said that Atlas Copco is proud to do business in the region.
The highest commendation that the Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce presents each year is the Business Person of the Year Award. This award is given to a person who is unselfishly committed to the business community. This year’s nominee was a 1961 graduate of Shippensburg Area Senior High School and began his working life on a local, dairy farm. In 1964, he married Doris, the love of his life. He completed Business Management courses at Shippensburg University and holds a Master Plumber and Journeyman Plumber’s license. Over the years, he worked for several different companies, moving his way up from a plumber’s apprentice to Superintendent of high-rise building projects in Washington, DC. Eventually, he decided that he wanted to start his own commercial HVAC business, which he did in May of 1994, starting out in the couple’s basement. In 2011, the nominee purchased the old McCoy Electronics building in Mercersburg in order to expand operations. Currently, they employ 15 people. In his free time, this individual is active in the Antrim Brethren in Christ Church.
Derek Stoy, Assistant Borough Manager for the Borough of Mercersburg said that this individual is a “huge supporter of the Borough” and is willing to lend his equipment and expertise at a moment’s notice to aid borough staff. Stanley Morgan, Facilities Director at Tuscarora School District added that “because of his assistance, we have been able to avoid cancelling school on more than one occasion”. As the crowd cheered, David Leidy of Leidy’s Custom Woodworking presented Marty Musser from Musser Mechanical with the 2017 Business Person of the Year award.
Leidy, whose business is a neighbor of Musser Mechanical, spoke very highly of Musser, and his willingness to drop whatever he is doing to lend a hand. Leidy said that “as the new kid on the block, Marty has been an inspiration to him and other neighboring businesses”.
Among the other honored guests were: Senator John Eichelberger; Nancy Bull from Congressman Shuster’s Office; Rep. Jesse Topper; Rep. Adam Harris; Franklin County Commissioners David Keller and Bob Ziobrowski; Mike Ross, President of FCADC; Janet Pollard, Director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau; Magisterial District Judge Jody Eyer; Dr. Matthew Strine, Tuscarora School District Superintendent, Mercersburg Mayor Roger Defibaugh, as well as several TSD School Board members, Borough Council members, Borough staff, and neighboring Chamber of Commerce Directors from Waynesboro, Greencastle, and Hagerstown-Washington County.
As the evening’s events concluded, Ardinger thanked attendees for coming out to celebrate the successes of Tuscarora area businesses and organizations, and thanked the First Community Bank of Mercersburg for being the event sponsor, and Whitetail Resort for being excellent hosts. He also thanked the Mercersburg Academy, Mercer-Vu Farms, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch and all of the silent auction donors for supporting this annual event.