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Awards Honored at Star-Studded Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA - Nothing brings the valley together like a good party, and that’s exactly what occurred Tuesday night as the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner at Mohegan Sun Pocono.


Times Leader Media Group Publisher Mike Murray introduces the presenter for the 2019 Legacy Business of the Year Award. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

The theme of the night, according to chamber CEO and President Wico van Genderen, was “acceleration,” referring to the rapid pace at which business continues to grow in the Wilkes-Barre area.


Businesses from all over the Wyoming Valley were represented at the dinner, with 15 different businesses and organizations being recognized for their achievements over the past year with special awards presented to them by various community leaders.


Bill Sordoni, President and CEO of Sordoni Construction Services, Inc., right, presents the Charitable Organization of the Year Award to Gertrude McGowan and staff of Family Services Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

The ceremony was kicked off by van Genderen and his staff, introducing four women who represent the board chairs of the Chamber of Commerce: Mary Erwine, chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Liz Graham of the Chamber of Business and Industry, Teri Ooms, the chair of the Industrial Fund, and Tara Mugford Wilson of the Chamber of Development corporation.


Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Gerry O’Donnell was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in the area’s business leadership and economic development.

O’Donnell’s list of business accolades and accomplishments includes stints with Junior Achievement, the Osterhout Library, the Board of American Diabetes Association and advisory roles at King’s College, Luzerne County Community College and Keystone College.

“I’m the only thing standing between you all and the door,” O’Donnell joked with the crowd during his acceptance speech, remarking that his wife told him to be “short and funny.”


Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Gerry O’Donnell listens to speakers. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Legacy Business of the Year:

  • Eye Care Specialists

The award for Legacy Business of the Year was introduced by Times Leader Media Group Publisher Mike Murray and presented by Barbara Maculloch, the Pennsylvania president of Community Bank, to Eye Care Specialists. The award was accepted by Dr. Richard Roth.

Times Leader Media Group was honored with the award last year.


Eight awards were handed out as the highlight of the event:

  • Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania (Charitable Organization of the Year)
  • Mobiniti (Emerging Business of the Year)
  • Pennsylvania American Water (Diversity Champion Business of the Year)


Dan Landesberg of Geisinger Northeast, left, presents the Pride of Place Award to Patrick Endler of Borton-Lawson Engineering. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Pride of Place Awards:

  • Borton-Lawson
  • FNCB Bank
  • The Jewish Community Alliance of Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Misericordia University
  • Woodspring Suites Wilkes-Barre.


Allison Hess of Geisinger Health, left, and Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber President/CEO Wico van Genderen, right, present the Healthy Workplace Award to Matthew Adams and Anthony Melf of PA CareerLink of Luzerne County at Wilkes-Barre. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Healthy Workplace Awards:

  • Luzerne County Head Start
  • PA CareerLink of Luzerne County
  • Riggs Asset Management
  • Sundance Vacations


Regional Partner Achievement Award:

  • Kevin O’Donnell won the Regional Partner Achievement Award for his work as president of Can Do Inc., the greater Hazleton area’s economic development agency

“This is really a special honor,” O’Donnell said. “I really appreciate the recognition.”

Artist Devon O’Keefe, of Moscow, paints a Market Street Bridge scene at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Township during the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber annual dinner on Tuesday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

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