Chamber names Renaissance as business of the year

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Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel was honored with the Applause award at the Carmel Chamber’s December luncheon as the 2011 business of the year. The Applause award is presented to a business based on its success in growth and stability, commitment to quality, creative and unique solutions to challenges, entrepreneurial spirit and overall contribution to the community. Other awards were also presented, including ones for Lifetime Achievement and Most Valuable Volunteer.

Applause Award for Business of the Year – Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel
Since 2008, when Manager Paul O’Connor took the helm of the new property, Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel’s goals have been two-fold – exceed customer expectations and provide a positive working environment for associates. Since that time, multiple awards for service excellence, leadership excellence and customer satisfaction have been received from Marriott International. Renaissance employees have also garnered awards including three Rose Awards from the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, three Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association Stars of Industry Awards, two Hoosier Hospitality Awards from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and several Marriott International awards for excellence and spirit.

The Renaissance has exceeded budget expectations, achieving 114% of their market share, and given back to the community through annual donations to over 16 non-profit organizations, including Special Olympics, Humane Society for HamiltonCounty, United Way, Extreme Dreams Project, Peyback Foundation and others.

Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel was one of five finalists for this year’s Applause award for business of the year. Other nominees were NORTH Magazine, Pedcor Companies, Senior 1 Care and Woody’s Library Restaurant.

Lifetime Achievement
The Chamber’s newest award, the Harold Kaiser Award for Lifetime Achievement, was presented for the first time to recognize an individual who has made a lifetime commitment to business in the Carmel community. This year, the Chamber honored Harold Kaiser, the award’s namesake and one of the founders of the Carmel Chamber, for his devotion and enthusiasm for business, volunteer work, the city and the Chamber.

Harold’s efforts to start a chamber of commerce in Carmel in 1960, when the city’s population was just over 1,400, was put on hold when a small group of business people trying to launch the organization decided there weren’t enough businesses to support a chamber. Ten years later, when the population reached more than 6,500, the group successfully started the Carmel Chamber and Harold’s 41-year commitment to the Chamber began.

Among his many involvements in the business community are establishing Kaiser Real Estate in 1970 and serving as the first chair of the Hamilton County Realtors Association, a group he also helped to start. Harold is also committed to giving back to the Carmel community and began volunteering for St. VincentCarmel Hospital when it opened, continuing that commitment until retiring in 2010.

MV2 – Most Valuable Volunteer
The Chamber’s Most Valuable Volunteer award, established to celebrate and recognize outstanding volunteer contributions by an individual who also works full time, was presented to Beth Smietana, Communications Manager at the Carmel Clay Public Library.

Among Beth’s current volunteer activities are serving as board chair for the Hamilton County Leadership Academy and board secretary and marketing director of the Arts & Design District Business Association (ADDBAC). A 13-year volunteer for the American Red Cross, Beth works specifically with their media and communications team assisting during emergencies. She has been an active member of the Carmel Chamber and its Arrows Young Professionals group, and, in the past, has also volunteered for the Humane Society for Hamilton County as a foster for pets needing special care.

Look Awards – Renovation & New Construction
Nominees for both Look awards were judged on the quality of work, appropriateness of the construction to its surroundings and the contribution of the project to the overall look of the community.

The Look award for Renovation was presented to PFM Automotive Group for their newly opened PFM Car & Truck Care Center located at 116th Street and Guilford Road. The re-utilization of the existing building creates an attractive retail center which offers service-related businesses to the community.

The Look award for New Constructionwas presented to Pedcor Companies for their Carmel City Center project located at City Center Drive and Rangeline Road. Carmel City Center is a one million square foot mixed-use development that offers the appeal of a neighborhood and the vibrancy of a downtown.

Carmel Green Award
TheCarmel Green award recognizes an organization or company that is solving environmental challenges using innovative and green practices or by setting up creative partnerships to enhance the environment. For their support of environmental education and funding of environmental projects, Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program was presented the Carmel Green award.

This innovative youth-directed program awards small grants and provides technical guidance to young people for their youth-led environmental projects in Carmel. The program uses high school students to inspire and mentor youth to identify environmental needs within the community and to design, fund, implement and evaluate appropriate projects to address those needs.

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