MUSCATINE, Iowa–The evening of March 24, around 230 members of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry gathered together for the organization’s annual meeting and recognition night. A special time to bond, celebrate the achievements of Chamber members, and to honor transitions, this year’s event did not disappoint.
For the evening’s entertainment and education, former CIA Chief of Counterintelligence James Olson returned. A crowd pleaser at the 2015 GMCCI annual meeting and recognition dinner, Olson made a second appearance to share more of his experiences as an Iowa farm boy who grew up to work as a spy for the CIA, gradually advancing through the ranks. Olson stunned the audience with real-life stories of how he helped catch double agents selling American secrets.
Chamber staff members also presented their three most prestigious awards, Chamber Ambassador of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, and Volunteer of the year.
Anne Carroll received the Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award for her dedication to promoting the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry both near and far. Throughout the year, Carroll donated her time and talents to make Chamber events, such as their job fairs, Business After Hours, and member visits, successes. Carroll also helped get the word out about Muscatine across the state by driving to smaller visitors’ centers and providing them with Muscatine Visitor’s Guides to give to travelers.
The Young Professional of the Year Award went to Albert Samuel. A member of the Young Professionals Network Executive Committee, Samuel played an active role in organizing the group’s monthly events. Samuel assisted with the Intern Event Series, which started last summer. “Samuel has been a fantastic representative of our Young Professionals Network and a role model to other young professionals in our community,” stated Director of Business Services and Advocacy Hannah Howard.
The celebrated Volunteer of the Year Award went to Diana Tank for her involvement in many Muscatine organizations including, the American Cancer Society, the Melon City Bike Club, the Muscatine Community Improvement Action Team, the Muscatine County Arts Council, the Muscatine Healthy Hometown Committee, and the Muscatine Trails Committee. Marketing and Events Coordinator Dena Ferreira praised Tank’s dedication to making Muscatine a better place. “One of the most critical attributes of an amazing volunteer is that she shows up, reliably, every time, ” said Ferreira. “During the last COVID-filled year, she actively participated in the events provided on our riverfront.”
The GMCCI also thanked outgoing board members Chris Daniel, Debra Lins, Donna Meade, Dave Mohr, Santos Saucedo, and Tom Spread and welcomed new board members Megan Francis, Brad Hodapp, and Katie Usher. Naomi DeWinter also passed the gavel to new Board Chair Gage Huston.
A good time for all involved, Howard believed everyone felt glad to come together and celebrate what makes Muscatine a special place to do business: “GMCCI staff were thrilled to finally get our members back together for this beloved annual celebration after a two year hiatus. It was a wonderful evening celebrating our members and Muscatine’s strong business community.”