This is a community announcement from the Tompkins Chamber. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements, please send them to Matt Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tompkins Chamber is pleased to announce that it will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, at the Statler Hotel at Cornell University. Annual recognition awards for the Entrepreneur of the Year, Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year, Distinguished Business of the Year, the Noel Desch Key Person of the Year, and the Howard Cogan Tourism Award will be a key aspect of the program.
The Tompkins Chamber and its Convention & Visitors Bureau are pleased to announce the following award winners, to be recognized as part of their annual meeting and celebration later this month:
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be awarded to Kevin Sullivan of ITH Hospitality. Kevin Sullivan has slowly but steadily grown an expansive presence in Ithaca, leaning into alternative models to manage eight brands across six locations: Luna Inspired Street Food, Catering by Luna, Ithaca Ghost Kitchen, Beacon Events & Catering, Jack’s Collegetown Grill, Pronto Craft Pizza & Artful Salads, Revelry, and Purity Ice Cream. Utilizing a team of employees cross-trained to staff multiple locations, and centralizing prep & commissary space, ITH Hospitality is able to operate at a scale which no other local hospitality business has achieved. This scale also allows Kevin to provide a living wage and benefits which would be challenging for these businesses to access if they were all segmented.
The Not-for-Profit of the Year Award will go to the Ithaca Community Childcare Center (IC3). IC3 has been a provider of childcare in our community since 1976. They have recently completed an expansion of their facility and programs, and with new construction, have expanded their reach to serve more families. They have weathered a pandemic, a construction project and a volatile employment environment – while taking care of the littlest ones in our community. IC3 continues to invest in their team, improve their organizational culture, and has many staff who have been there over 20 years!
The Distinguished Business of the Year is Gimme Coffee. In a story of true resiliency, Gimme Coffee employees turned the most dire of circumstances into a story of success and hope. During the pandemic, Gimme Coffee employees were told that they had a choice: purchase the business or it would close permanently. They worked diligently to assume ownership of the business and create an employee co-op model, which was finalized in 2022. They have since re-opened all five locations, preserving much-loved and essential community spaces, while prioritizing the well-being and dignity of staff throughout the whole transition.
The Howard Cogan Tourism Award is being awarded to Gary Ferguson. Gary Ferguson will be recognized with the Howard Cogan Award for his 24 years of service to our community as the Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. Under Gary’s leadership, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance has led numerous efforts to strengthen and revitalize our downtown, expand economic impact through tourism, and drive projects like the Commons rebuild and the Ithaca Downtown Conference Center forward. Gary has served as an ex-officio member of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Strategic Tourism Planning Board, and also provided expertise through board service through numerous community organizations such as Cayuga Health System and the State Theatre of Ithaca.
The Noel Desch Key Person of the Year Award is being awarded to Greg Hartz. Greg Hartz is retiring this spring after 40 years in community banking, 21 of those with Tompkins Financial. Having grown up in Ithaca and graduated from Cornell University, Greg’s commitment to our community’s growth and success is rooted in his personal and professional values. This is evidenced by his community service through numerous nonprofit boards and the many leadership roles he has undertaken over decades. Greg currently serves on the board of Cayuga Health System as a member of the executive committee; as past board chair of Ithaca Area Economic Development and executive committee member; has served on the Cornell University Council as well as the Dyson Advisory Council and Cornell Community Relations Committee; and on the event committee for the Racker Rivals Big Red. Past community service has includes serving the Legacy Foundation as past board chair; United Way as past campaign chair and board chair; Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce as past board chair; and Challenge Workforce Solutions as past board chair.
About Noel Desch: “Every day is a gift.” Noel Desch was a community leader who had a significant impact on Ithaca and Tompkins County over several decades. Noel was an engineer, a veteran, a town supervisor, a giver, and a doer. He was quiet, patient, respectful and always acted with integrity; never with any expectation for personal gain or recognition. The Tompkins Chamber was one of several organizations that benefited from Noel’s leadership, intelligence, heart, and engineer’s penchant for quality.
The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and CVB looks forward to celebrating these award winners and reporting on the Chamber and CVB’s community’s accomplishments from 2022. Learn more and register for the event, visit tompkinschamber.org/events.