Chamber awards pay respect to long-standing businesses, members
BULLHEAD CITY — In his “state of the chamber” address to open Friday night’s board installation and awards banquet, John Pynakker declared the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce to be “as strong as ever.”
At the end of the evening, he and the chamber honored a number of businesses and individuals who have made it that way.
Pynakker, president and CEO of the chamber, recognized 13 longtime chamber members — those with 30 or more continuous years of membership.
Joe Heath was honored for 38 years of membership.
“I remember when we put the shovel in the dirt for this building,” Heath said, noting that the current chamber building in Bullhead Community Park replaced a small trailer that served as the organization’s first headquarters several years before Bullhead City was incorporated in 1984.
“To say that the community has grown ... is a total understatement,” Heath said.
Superior Tire (37 years), Apple Construction/Coast Garage Doors (36 years) and McCormick Realty (35 years) were the longest-tenured businesses with nine others in the 30-year club: El Palacio Mexican Restaurant and L&M Food Service (34 years each), Snowbird RV Resort (32), Reinke Heating & Air Conditioning and Desert Lawn Funeral Home (31 each) and Dr. Thomas Dallman, Tropicana Laughlin, Southwest Alarm Service and Springberg McAndrew Financial Services Inc. (30 years each).
Pynakker also presented awards to the chamber’s Member of the Year. Actually, he presented three — one to the City of Bullhead City as the company of the year and the other to Terri Sponder and John Hassett as individual members of the year.
“I go to a lot of conventions for chamber executives,” Pynakker said. “We love to have conventions, apparently. Invariably, the discussion at some point turns to the relationship between the chambers and their local government.
“It seems an overwhelming amount of chambers have a poor relationship with their local government. Every time, I get the chance to gloat that we have an excellent relationship with ours.”
That relationship includes the chamber and city working together on many projects, including partnerships in sponsoring events and working to benefit area businesses.
“We don’t always get what we want,” Pynakker said, “but I know they do everything they can to make sure that the businesses and community are afforded every opportunity to succeed.”
Pynakker said that both Ponder and Hassett were “someone that if they were not part of the chamber, we would suffer dramatically.”
“Terri is one of those rare people that you can ask to help you and she throws herself into it completely,” he said of Ponder, who runs Ponder and Associates real estate company and on Friday was named to the chamber’s executive board.
Pynakker joked that Hassett is largely responsible for the chamber’s solid financial footing.
“Over the past year, John has been key in keeping the chamber solvent just by paying the chamber dues for his many businesses,” he said. Earlier Friday, Hassett, of Desert Lawn Cemetery and All Pets Go to Heaven, was installed as vice chairman of the chamber’s executive board.
“John has been involved in many, many things that have helped the chamber get healthy and stay healthy,” Pynakker said.
Melody DuMouchel received the Jan Barrios Ambassador of the Year Award, named in honor of the late Jan Barrios, a longtime chamber member and civic leader.
“To me, as the Ambassadors go, so does the chamber,” Pynakker said of the group of volunteers who serve in various capacities to organize, operate and promote chamber events and membership. “I will never take them for granted.”
DuMouchel, of the Mohave Valley Daily News, was named the chamber’s first special events coordinator.
“Sounds fancy, huh?” Pynakker said. “Well, basically, it was ‘please take care of coordinating all the events that we do and create some new ones for us so I don’t have the headache.’ I think if I worded it like that, she would’ve said ‘no.’”
After reciting a lengthy list of events that DuMouchel coordinated over the last year, capped by the inaugural Oktoberfest last weekend, Pynakker said DuMouchel was “always professional and always a great representative of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.”
Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady, a former judge, presided over the installation of the executive board and board members.
The executive board for 2018-19: Chairman Mehdi Azarmi, Fairway Constructors Inc. and Los Matadores; Vice Chairman John Hassett, Desert Lawn Cemetery and All Pets Go to Heaven; Treasurer Gregg Eidsness, Farm Bureau Financial; Executive Committee members Tyler Carlson, Mohave Electric Cooperative; Terri Sponder, Sponder and Associates; Joe Keunen, Eagle Motorcycles; and Cindy Head, Hospice Compassus.Chamber board members: Steve LeSuer, myMarketing Designs and The Bee; Karen Summitt, Summitt’s River Realty; Patty Stewlow, Mohave State Bank; Jeremy Keating, Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport; Brenda Fury, Mutt Manners and Colorado River Women’s Council; and Janice Bernenheger, Janice Berkenherger Coaching.