Clovis Chamber Hosts Virtual 2021 Salute to Business

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig was honored with the Einar Cook Leadership Award at the 2021 Salute to Business Awards hosted by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. (Clovis Chamber)

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce held their 2021 Salute to Business event on May 6 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. to recognize and celebrate various businesses throughout the Clovis community.

This year’s Salute to Business was held online via the Chamber’s website to minimize the amount of in-person contact amidst the pandemic.

The ceremony began with an introduction from President and CEO of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce Greg Newman as well as a shoutout from Clovis Mayor Jose Flores.

Following this introduction the 2020 Board Chair, Ryan Indart, awarded the afternoon’s first honoree, Dr. Lori Bennett of Clovis Community College (CCC) as Director of the Year for her willingness to serve the community alongside CCC.

Bennett said she joined the board of directors almost five years ago and that she was thankful for the kindness the group had shown her when first arriving in the city.

“This group embraced me and helped me connect with people throughout the City of Clovis. For that, I’m truly grateful,” Bennett said.

After awarding Dr. Bennett with Director of the Year, the 2021 Board Chair Keith Hester introduced the 2021 members of the board of directors and thanked them for their commitment to the community.

Hester also touched on the resilience of the Clovis businesses during the pandemic.

“Our businesses learned much in 2020 and I think they’re going to continue to evolve in the future,” Hester said.

“Your chamber is here to support you through the tough times and through the easier times…I look forward to coming out of this pandemic stronger than before.”

Following Hester’s speech Susan K. Hatmaker was announced as Business Person of the Year.

Along with owning Hatmaker Law Group, she also serves as a member on the Clovis Unified School District Board.

Hester described Hatmaker as, “A passionate and experienced leader in our community.”

Hatmaker worked with her team at Hatmaker Law to provide the Clovis community with free webinars, educating them on the changes in guidelines during the pandemic.

“I give back and volunteer because I feel like I’ve been blessed,” Hatmaker said. “Yes, I work hard, but I have some expertise and life experience that I can part on other people and I want to do that.”

The next award winner was introduced by Chamber membership director Diana Hunnicutt who honored Kurt Sieve as Ambassador of the Year.

The Clovis Chamber Ambassador program consists of individuals who wish to give back to the local business community and the Chamber itself.

Sieve has been an ambassador for the Chamber since 2015 and is a State Farm insurance agent in Clovis.

Hunnicutt said Sieve has demonstrated, “a dedication and determination to ensure that the chamber was able to continue to provide value to our membership in 2020,” and, “Kurt is always doing his part to give back.”

When accepting his award, Sieve said that it meant a lot to him to be recognized as Ambassador of the Year.

“Being recognized amongst the other honorees is really special. I mean they’ve all stood out in the community this year and it makes me feel good that I’m being recognized as well,” Sieve said.

Chamber staff operations director Priscilla Montell introduced and awarded Clovis Hills Community Church with this year’s Community Impact Award for their help in providing supplies and shelter to Creek Fire evacuees.

Pastor Shawn Beaty and the community at the Clovis Hills Church served over 5,000 people and handed out over 8,000 lbs of food when providing help to those affected by the Creek Fire in 2020.

Montell said, “Pastor Shawn has encouraged his congregation to be the church and this last year they have shown our community what an impact we can make when we all come together.”

Beaty accepted the award on behalf of the church and said he was grateful to be a part of such an incredible community here in Clovis.

“The church is the people and it was the people that did this, and we just opened the campus and the people came,” Beaty said.

This year’s Business of the Year recipient was Clovis Community Medical Center.

Newman said the medical center was a beacon of humanity and hope during 2020 for their extensive work in treating patients who had fallen ill during the pandemic.

After a brief introduction, a short video was played highlighting the medical center and the new improvements being made to further expand their outreach in the future.

The Einar Cook Leadership Award was the last award of the afternoon and was given to Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.

“The Einar Cook Leadership Award is a special award given to an outstanding leader who exemplifies the characteristics of the amazing man who shares the awards name,” Newman said.

Grandson of Einar Cook, Todd Cook of Cook Land Company, introduced Magsig as the award recipient and honored him for his efforts in helping the community during the events of the Creek Fire.

Todd said there are three key factors when choosing the honoree for this award, “Professionalism, being a visionary and serving your community…Nathan Magsig embodies all three of these items.”

When the Creek Fire first began Magsig used Facebook Live as a way to relay information to the public about the changing conditions of the situation and continued to do so throughout the duration of the fire.

“My goal was not only just to film and let people see what had happened, but I wanted to communicate a message of hope too,” Magsig said. “Clearly this fire has devastated many people’s lives, but together as we work as a community we will rebuild.”

The event ended with a special shout out from guest speaker Dough Lipp who was the former head of the Disney University training team at Disney’s corporate headquarters

After this Newman closed by touching on future events the Chamber will be holding and thanked the public for joining them in honoring and celebrating the community with them virtually.

List of awards presented in order of appearance:
Director of the Year: Dr. Lori Bennett, Clovis Community College
Businessperson of the Year: Susan K. Hatmaker, Hatmaker Law Group
Ambassador of the Year: Kurt Sieve, State Farm Insurance Agent
Community Impact Award: Clovis Hills Community Church
Business of the Year: Clovis Medical Center
Einar Cook Leadership Award: Supervisor Nathan Magsig

Halle Sembritzki was born in the small Swedish village of Kingsburg, California and graduated from Kingsburg High School in 2017. She now attends Fresno State and will graduate with her Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism in spring 2021. She aspires to use her voice as an outlet for those who can’t use their own and hopes to educate the public on important news topics happening within her community and the country.