ELIZABETHE, In. — On Thursday, Nov. 14, approximately 275 One Southern Indiana (1si) members and friends gathered at Horseshoe Southern Indiana to celebrate the winners of the 2019 ACE Awards. The 1si Awards are given annually to individuals who have used their skills and talents to not only enhanced their organizations, but also make their community a better place to live, work and grow. The ACE Awards are aptly named as the purpose of the ceremony is to Appreciate and Celebrate Excellence.
The finalists in each category were:
Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, James W. Robinson Young Professional of the Year
- Jamie Ogles Slye, Volunteers of America Mid-States
- Rachel Smallwood, The Orange Clover LLC
- Josh Staten, The City of New Albany (winner)
Kightlinger & Gray, LLP Sam Day Professional of the Year
- Lisa Huber, Duke Energy (winner)
- Scott Olinger, Harding, Shymanski & Company, P.S.C.
- Martin Padgett, Clark Memorial Health
Duke Energy Kevin Hammersmith Community Leader
- Bill Burns, RE/MAX FIRST
- Dana Huber, Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards (winner)
- Theresa Reno-Weber, Metro United Way
The Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, James W. Robinson Young Professional of the Year ACE Award is given to young professionals (under the age of 40) in our business community for their career achievements, community service and the promise they have shown for being the next generation of successful business leaders. This year’s winner was Floyd County, Ind., native Josh Staten, redevelopment director for the City of New Albany, Ind.
Staten began his career in 2010 working on political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level based all over Southern Indiana from Clark and Floyd County to Terre Haute and Evansville. After earning a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs (MPA), a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning (MUP), and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development (GCRED) in 2016, he accepted a position working as a zoning planner with Collier County Growth Management in Naples, Fl., until 2018 when he was tapped to serve as the City of New Albany’s Economic Development and Redevelopment Director, directing the day-to-day operations of both departments. Staten also serves on the newly created U of L Public Administration Program Advisory Council, the 1si Economic Development Council, as well as the Volunteers of America Mid-States Southern Indiana Development Team.
When asked about his accomplishments, Staten said, “Over the past 19 months as director, I have played a leadership role on multiple projects, which local public incentives have led to the creation of approximately 260 jobs for the City of New Albany. These projects range in size from larger companies such as Sazerac coming to New Albany, to smaller businesses expanding and growing. I have worked with the Mayor, other city officials and staff, and many outside groups to continue to develop New Albany’s streets and sidewalks, park projects including the restoration of the Loop Island Wetlands, blight removal, and much more in order to raise the quality of life for New Albany’s current and future residents.”
The Kightlinger & Gray LLP Sam Day Professional of the Year ACE Award is given to a professional who has exemplified a commitment to success in his/her company and/or community. Lisa Huber, government and community relations manager for duke Energy in Southern Indiana was named the 2019 recipient.
Lisa has had several careers before coming to Duke Energy, including being an award-winning news reporter, starting a successful public relations department for a lobbying group, making it a full-service public relations and public affairs firm and an entrepreneur with her own communications consulting business. Her work with Duke Energy keeps Lisa busy, but she also finds time to serve as Vice-Chair for the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana Board. She recently finished her term as past Chair of the Board of Directors for One Southern Indiana and currently serves on the board. Lisa is on the governing board for Align Southern Indiana. Prior to that she served on the operating board for Align and was a member of the Metro United Way Cradle to Career advisory group, which was a predecessor to Align. In addition, she serves on the steering committee for the Academies of Greater Clark and the business advisory committee for Clarksville Community Schools.
Lisa stated, “I have been in this position for nearly five years and am proud Duke Energy makes significant contributions to the communities it serves through time and money to nonprofit organizations, schools and municipalities in Southern Indiana to make it a better place to work and live. Through my leadership and involvement, I work with organizations to see where Duke Energy may be able to support community needs. In addition, I have successfully helped resolve escalated customer issues brought to my attention.”
The Duke Energy Kevin Hammersmith Community Leader ACE Award honors an individual whose volunteer involvement has been significant and impactful, resulting in measurable improvements in the lives of individuals within his/her community. Huber’s Orchard Winery and Vineyard’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Dana Huber, was the ACE Award winner in the category.
In that role, the company has been able to bring more than 500,000 visitors to the property annually, highlighting one of the many reasons why Southern Indiana is such a great place to live, work, and play. Dana is also a member, and past chair of the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority. She is proud of her work with the Clark County Sheriff’s office to implement impaired driving education courses, inspired by local high schools that had booked proms at Huber’s Plantation Hall.
Dana said, “Community involvement came naturally for me growing up. I always wanted to help others – whether it was a helping hand after school or just listening to a friend – I valued and prioritized being involved and helping.”
Dana is a board member of Wine America, an advisory board member for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Agribusiness Council and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, as well as being a board member for the U of L Family Business Center, SoIN Tourism Board of Directors and First Harrison Bank. She is also a former chair and member of the One Southern Indiana Board of Directors. In 2019, she was featured as Today’s Woman “Most Admired Woman” for the food and entertainment category, and the business received a certificate of distinction from Purdue University, as well as being the featured farm family on the opening day of the Indiana State Fair. Dana continued, “My favorite part of community involvement is the people you meet along the way and the difference that the work of each board brings to others in our community. This work not only makes me smile but brings a smile and hope to so many.”
Finally, Nu-Yale Presented a Special Recognition Award to three 1si staff members who are celebrating 30 years of service with the organization: Communications and Database Manager Becky Ellenburg, Executive Vice President Matt Hall and Controller and HR Coordinator Gail Prather. Chairman’s Legacy Award is given to an individual selected by 1si’s President and CEO and current board chairman. one-time award given to three One Southern Indiana employees whose combined service to the organization amounts to 90 years. While Prather will be moving from her full-time position as Controller and HR coordinator to a part-time position of co-director of First Impressions, it is the hope of the staff and board members Ellenburg and Hall continue to serve the organization as they have the past 30 years – admirably, with great professionalism and an intact sense of humor.
Ellenburg joined the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce team as a temporary worker in April of 1990. Company officials soon realized her potential and hired her permanently as the receptionist. Since that time, Ellenburg has expanded her knowledge base to become the “go-to” expert on the 1si database, website and advertising. She is called upon to work through any and all technology issues and her graphic designs, such as the new ACE Award logo and the Insurance Under ONE logos, have drawn rave reviews from both staff and members. Her behind-the-scenes work continues to propel the image of 1si as one of the best chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in the nation.
Hall began his career in economic development for the Southern Indiana Economic Development Council in November of 1989. Since that time, Hall has worked in various capacities to bring a wide diversity of commerce and jobs to Southern Indiana’s economy. Hall was named as one of the twenty people to know in economic development by Louisville Business First as well as an Honorary Secretary of Commerce by the State of Indiana.
Hall headed up the Business Retention and Expansion team that was named the 2009 “Best in the Midwest” by the Mid America Economic Development Council, and later that year, winner of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Award. He was also the team leader in 2013 when the IEDC awarded 1si a Gold Award for its work before and during the Ohio River Bridges Project. Most recently, Hall announced One Southern Indiana’s 174th successful project location. Collectively, these 174 projects are investing over $1 billion in new capital and have committed to creating over 14,800 new Hoosier jobs representing $560 million annually in new payroll dollars in Southern Indiana.
Prather was hired in November of 1990 as the bookkeeper for the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce. For the past thirty years, Prather has continued to grow her expertise in accounting through additional training and has never been intimidated by expanding her knowledge to include new procedures or software programs. As her duties expanded to including coordination of human resources, Prather became indispensable not only in the daily duties of an HR coordinator but also for the company culture of 1si. Her ability to make everyone feel welcomed and cherished is one of the many things that make her special, and such an asset to 1si.
The ACE Awards are judged by a panel of independent judges with only 1si representative. This score accounts for 90% of the final score and public online voting is the final 10%. This year’s judges were:
- Susan Alexander, One Southern Indiana
- Jillian Cantu, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana
- Karen Finlinson, Park Community Credit Union
- Dr. Travis Haire, Ivy Tech Community College
- Stephen Lukinovich, MCM CPAs & Advisors
- Brian Smith, Callistus Smith Agency, Inc.
- Jeff Thomas, First Harrison Bank
The 1si ACE Awards are an annual signature event organized by the Business Resource team with help from the ACE Awards Committee. The members of that task force were:
- Chair Kim Friend, MCM CPAs & Advisors
- Brandie Burks, Sounds Unlimited Productions
- Jessica Carroll, The New Washington State Bank
- Kim Martin-Dawkins, PNC Bank
- Bob Kleehamer, retired
- Brent Rogers, Sounds Unlimited Productions