GENOA – The Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the year that was Wednesday night with a little help from someone who had plenty of cause to celebrate that year.
Fresh off a winning season, Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey served as the keynote speaker at the Chamber’s 62nd Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony. With the evening’s theme being “Working as a Team,”
McCaskey seemed right at home.
“Teamwork played a tremendous role in the Bears going from being one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2017 to one of the best teams in the NFL in 2018,” McCaskey said.
“At the Bears, we value teamwork over talent.”
McCaskey spoke about his long history as a resident of Genoa.
“Barb and I have been a part of this community for 30 years. We love it here,” the DeKalb County resident said in his short and straightforward speech.
Before McCaskey spoke, the evening opened with a cocktail hour and networking session, followed by a catered dinner. On the second floor of the Custom Aluminum Products building in Genoa, hundreds gathered for the celebratory evening.
While McCaskey drew loud cheers and applause – especially with a few well-placed barbs at the Green Bay Packers’ expense – the focus of the banquet was the local residents who won awards for their past year’s work.
Camelot Northwest School for Autism, Herron and Co. Barbers, Genoa Motors Auto Repair and host Custom Aluminum Products each were recognized with Excellence Awards.
Three Ambassador Awards were presented to businesses that represented Genoa well to the broader community in 2018. These honors went to the Genoa-Kingston Education Foundation, Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society and the Genoa Police Auxiliary. The Outstanding Chamber Ambassador award was presented to Emily Prickett. The Dave Tobinson Award recognizing an outstanding Chamber member went to Sherry Frankenbach, and the inaugural Top Banana Award was presented to Mike Walsh.
Additionally, the evening honored the Chamber’s corporate members celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Most notably, Slater-Butala Funeral Home was recognized for 130 years in business. Genoa-Kingston School District 424 and Bethany Animal Hospital also celebrated 70 years and 60 years, respectively.
After McCaskey’s prepared remarks, he opened the floor for a good-humored and informal question and answer session. To incentivize good discussion, McCaskey presented prizes for the first and best questions. This segment mostly focused on the Bears with a few questions about McCaskey’s family.