Leaders Night Out

March 14, 2017

Marietta Times. A standing ovation filled Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College in honor of Dan Stephan Sr., 80, of Williamstown, Monday evening.

Stephan, the man who held onto a historic landmark in Marietta which now hosts a variety of shows as the Peoples Bank Theatre, was recognized as the 2017 Gabe Zide Citizen of the Year at the 102nd Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce dinner.

The dinner gathered nearly 700 local business members to recognize excellence in 2016 and those who have contributed not only to their professions but also to the community as a whole.

“I’m overwhelmed and deeply humbled,” said Stephan as tears glistened across his cheeks. “I really don’t know what to say except it wasn’t me that brought the (Peoples Bank Theatre) to life, it was the community that embraced it through the renovations and then this past year by continuing to come to the shows and buy tickets.”

Hunt Brawley, director of the Hippodrome Colony Historical Theatre Association which headed the renovations after Stephan formed the group, said there was no one more deserving of the award.

“When we were cleaning things in November of 2015 as renovations were wrapping up, the crew power washing a back wall uncovered a name scrawled on the wall,” said Brawley. “I thought it was a distant relative of (Stephan) until I called his wife and she told me it was his father.”

“My dad was in a minstrel show in 1932 with the high school and they performed when the theater was the Hippodrome,” explained Stephan. “And now people are enjoying the music, the arts and the interaction that I did there growing up.”

David Pickering, doctor of osteopathic medicine, made sure to congratulate Stephan at the close of the evening.

“He deserves it, with all he’s done,” said Pickering. “He’s treasured the history of this area and made sure the rest of us do too.”

2017 Business Leader of the Year

A married couple heard an alternative version of their love and business story Monday which kept them guessing who were the business leaders of the year during the introduction speech by last year’s recipient, Mark Mondo.

“I thought it was us, then the story took a turn and it surely wasn’t us,” said Brian Chavez, 44, of Marietta. “But then I thought, wow, there’s someone else here with an eerily similar story to ours.”

Brian and his wife Christy Chavez, 45, own Condevco, Inc., a local oil and gas company.

“I grew up here in Marietta and am truly honored that we were chosen for this award,” said Christy. “We don’t do our work in the community for the recognition, we do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

“But we would sit here in dinners in years past and think, maybe one day we could earn this,” added Brian. “Now it just makes us want to work harder.”

The couple serve as volunteers in the St. Mary Catholic School system and they also serve outside their business but within the oil and gas industry as ambassadors for small business at the state and federal level.

Brian serves on the board of Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association, on the Board of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and is current President of St. Mary Catholic School Boosters.

Christy is president of the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association, serves on the board of directors of Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council, and works with the economic development group Shale Crescent USA.

“We also hold a weekly radio show on Saturday mornings on WMOA to talk about how the oil and gas industry impacts this area,” explained Brian. “In fact our true story will be on WMOA this Saturday at 8:55 a.m. But with “Energy Insights” we share each week how the oil and gas industry has been a part of Marietta’s history.”

2017 Elizabeth “Betty” A. Hadler Zonta Woman of the Year

Christine Cavalier had no idea that even her husband knew she was to be recognized Monday night.

“I’m so shocked and honored,” she said. “I just try to live by doing what I said I’d do to help.”

Stories of Cavalier’s support of downtown merchants through crises and boisterous events continued even after the dinner concluded.

“She’s fabulous, always comes to my store with a smile and is always at Cash Mob Mondays,” said Jennifer Sturgill, owner of Green Acres in Marietta. “But I had no idea how much history of her being fabulous there was and how much she has helped people.”

Presenter of the award Beth Spaziani told more of Cavalier’s history of not only brightening the days of her former students, but also selflessly providing meals to downtown merchants in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

“She brought dinner for the entire 100 block of Front Street, recruited her seventh grade students to serve the meals and (owner of American Flags and Poles) Sylvi Caporale said she didn’t make herself a hot meal for a month because of the generosity of (Cavalier),” said Spaziani.

“This award was named after my mother and she would be thrilled that you have received it,” Lori Strahler told Cavalier at the dinner. “You deserve this and so much more recognition for all that you do for this community.”

2017 Washington County Council of Cooperatives Agricultural Award

Humbled and attributing the award to the trust of his clients, bovine veterinarian Phil Lowe, of Beverly, was selected by the Washington County Council of Cooperatives the recipient of its 2017 Agricultural Award.

“My clients in the are the ones that have trusted my advice and believed in me, this award is really thanks to them,” said Lowe.

But Lowe’s contributions to the community haven’t ended with serving the cattle of the area, they’ve extended to the schools, Beverly Volunteer Fire Department and the Muskingum Valley Safety Town.

“One of the hallmarks of a good citizen is the level of interest they take in the local community,” said presenter Kenley Schewendeman. “Dr. Lowe has inspired us with what he has put into our community with more than just the dairy and beef producers but with his neighbors and the whole area.”

Lowe’s local involvement includes participation in and support of the Fort Frye athletic Boosters, Cub Scouts, the Morgan County Firefighters Association, the Beverly Presbyterian Church, more than 30 summers as the veterinarian for the Waterford, Barlow, and Washington County fairs and 41 years serving the volunteer fire department, most recently as its chief.

2017 Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year

Laura Miller, marketing director at Glenwood Retirement Community, was called the “cheerleader of the chamber” by MACC President Carrie Ankrom and recognized as the chamber’s ambassador of the year.

“She has the energy and the spirit of Marietta business in all she does,” said Ankrom.

Bouncing onto the stage at the college Miller encouraged those present to get more involved in chamber.

“We really have the most fun as ambassadors,” she said. “I’ve been in this area for about six years and even though (the chamber) is such an enormous group, it’s still that wonderful small town feel and people are so nice and fun to work with.”

Since moving to the area, Miller has attended mission trips to Haiti & France, served as a Faithlink board member, RSVP board member, Rotary member and chamber ambassador.

Award recipients

≤ 2017 Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year: Laura Miller, marketing director at Glenwood Retirement Community.

≤ 2017 Gabe Zide Citizen of the Year: Dan Stephan Sr., 80, of Williamstown.

≤ 2017 Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce Business Leaders of the Year: Brian and Christy Chavez, owners of Condevco, Inc.

≤ 2017 Washington County Council of Cooperatives Agricultural Award: Dr. Phil Lowe.

≤ 2017 Elizabeth “Betty” A. Hadler Zonta Woman of the Year: Christine Cavalier.

By Janelle Patterson

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