Clovis Chamber to honor local business leaders at annual awards dinner

The business community comes together at 2017’s Clovis Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership and Salute to Business Dinner held at Clovis Veterans Memorial District. (Clovis Chamber of Commerce)

Clovis Chamber of Commerce is holding its 2018 Annual Membership and Salute to Business Dinner on Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Classic Catering in Old Town Clovis.

The annual dinner is a time of celebration where farewells are shared with the 2017 Board of Directors and fresh faces are welcomed in 2018. Following an elegant dinner, many awards will be presented to local business leaders in homage of their challenging work and dedication in improving our local community. The Clovis Chamber of Commerce 2018 Board of Directors will be installed and sworn in and the outgoing Chair, Layla Forstedt, of the Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau will pass her gavel to the incoming Chair, James Dunn, of California Health Sciences University.

Dr. Janet Young to be recognized as recipient of prestigious Einar Cook Award for 2017

Dr. Janet Young served as Superintendent of the Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) beginning in July 2011 and retired in June 2017. For Dr. Young, assuming the role of Superintendent capped a 39-year career in CUSD that began when she first joined the District as a first-grade teacher in 1979. Her professional experiences in Clovis Unified prior to being named Superintendent provided her with extensive knowledge of both the instructional and business division of the District, and included holding the positions of Teacher, Learning Director, Principal, Director of School and Community Relations, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources for the District’s approximately 6,000 employees and more than 42,000 students. In 2007, Dr. Young was honored with CUSD’s Crystal Award, the highest form of employee recognition granted by the District. In 2008, she was recognized as a Top 10 Business Woman of the Year by Fresno’s Marjaree Mason Center; and in 2012, Dr. Young received the Noted Alumni Award from the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State.

Chamber will also honor the 2017 Business of the Year, Hedrick’s Chevrolet

This dealership originally opened its doors in 1944 as Hallowell Chevrolet in downtown Clovis. Bill Hedrick joined the Hallowell Chevrolet team in 1959 as a parts driver and began selling cars for the company in 1963. He later achieved the role of partner with Mr. Hallowell in the late 1970’s. In 2000, Bill and Brett bought the business from Mr. Hallowell and changed the name to Hedrick’s Chevrolet in 2005. Through it all, Bill continued to keep their cattle ranch business going while managing the dealership. Today, he still works as President of Hedrick’s Chevrolet and strives to prioritize employee happiness, customer satisfaction, and excellence in service. Brett Hedrick began working for the company in 1978 and has remained a critical leader of this organization since 1984. Today, Brett’s son Blake works full-time at Hedrick’s Chevrolet, further continuing the family legacy.

Carole Lester of B.O.O.T. will also be recognized as the 2017 Business Person of the Year

Lester began her business career with Title Insurance & Trust in Fresno. For over 20 years, she worked in downtown San Francisco for various title companies in sales and business development management roles. She and her husband moved back to the Central Valley in 2003 and settled in Clovis. Soon after, Lester started working for the Fresno Historical Society as the Public Relations and Events Director. She put on six Civil War events with her biggest contribution being the coordination of the Sesquicentennial Parade for Fresno County’s 150th birthday. Lester joined the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T) in 2010 and went to work expanding the local Farmer’s Market and rejuvenating unique events, like the now-popular Wine Walk and Craft Beer Crawl among others, to attract more people to visit, shop, and enjoy the charms of Old Town Clovis. Today, the results of her efforts, along with supportive Board Members, staff, progressive merchants, and new businesses moving into Old Town are evident.

The Chamber will also present awards for the 2017 Ambassador of the Year and Director of the Year.