On Wednesday, May 26, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce held its Leadership Awards Dinner at L'Affaire in Mountainside. It is an annual tradition, but this year's dinner was the first to take place since the changeover to the Springfield Patriot Chamber of Commerce. Previously under the umbrella of Gateway Regional Commerce, Springfield now operates independently.
Celebrating that change, Keynote speaker and Business Development Manager for the NJ State Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Christine Overton spoke of transition using butterflies as a metaphor. She also spoke of treating businesspeople as people, and not businesses. Overton carries around thousands of business cards with her on a daily basis, helping clients connect to one another. She connects her clients with the intimate knowledge of what they do, finding the perfect fit for one another.
Rider Motorcycle Insurance was honored as the 2010 Business of the Year. Harry Bleiwise started the insurance company in 1977, and has given back substantially to both local and national organizations. A motorcyclist himself, Bleiwise started his own company after trying to insure himself as a rider. Rider Insurance now operates in several states including NJ, PA, OH, WV & IN.
Linda Donnelly was honored as the Volunteer Leader of the Year. She is the assistant to the Township Administrator and acts as both Deputy Township Clerk and Deputy Registrar. Ms. Donnelly and her family have lived in Essex County all her life, and moved to Springfield 30 years ago. Ms. Donnelly is an integral part of planning for Springfield's Memorial Day Parade, as well as the POW monument unveiled today in town.
Special recognition was given to Pinkava's Motor Company, on their 100th year in business.
"This was first-class event" said Springfield Township Committee member Marc Krauss."It is not every day you hear of a family-owned business like Pinkava's celebrating its 100th anniversary, meet a man like Harry Bleiwise who started a business in his basement and grew Rider Insurance into a multi-state business headquartered in Springfield or the volunteerism of Linda Donnelly, it was an honor to attend."