MLCC Celebrates Milestone 20 Year Anniversary in the Laurel Highlands
Over one hundred Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce members and affiliates joined together recently in celebration of the non-profit organization’s 20th anniversary.
Executive Director, Kris Enberg, said she was happy with the turnout and thrilled to honor the milestone anniversary with a special dinner at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
“It seems like just yesterday we were starting the Chamber and now we’re celebrating two decades,” said Kris, who has been with the MLCC for 19 of its 20 years. “We have so much to be proud of and so much to reflect on. There are many people who have worked very hard to make our Chamber the success that it is.”
Kris thanked the current MLCC board members, including president Shari Bukovac, for their commitment and drive in keeping the organization running smoothly.
“It’s been a great pleasure to serve the community with Shari,” Kris said. “She takes such great pride in her community. I sincerely thank her for her friendship and for being my mentor.”
Past board presidents and charter members were also recognized.
The MLCC boasts twenty-four charter members who have been active in the organization since its inception in 1998.
“These members are the true backbone of the Chamber,” Kris said. “We have all enjoyed seeing how the organization has grown and supported small business development in the Laurel Highlands over the years. Our dynamic stems from great leadership – from past and present members who volunteer their time, energy and resources to the good of the community and I am happy to follow their leadership.”
Guests at the celebration enjoyed mingling over hors d’oeuvres and drinks and dining on an exquisitely prepared meal. Festive baskets were awarded as door prizes to thank those who attended and to show appreciation to those who have generously donated to the chamber’s endless function over the years.
Former and current members shared fond memories of years past and highlights of exciting events and activities to come.
“When you think about the independent, competitive nature of business owners – to see a group of individuals like this come together to support each other is just so great,” said past president and chamber member Dr. Merle Skinner. “We all understand how incredible this area is to live and work in.”
“I’ve heard several people mention how the Chamber brings people together and I couldn’t agree more,” said Tom Guiher, one of the MLCC’s first presidents. “Over the years, we’ve truly come together as a business group to help each other. Synergy is when two people’s energies come together to create something even larger and that is what we have here.”
Charter member Adrienne Wagner thanked everyone for their support of the organization. “The MLCC is very unique,” she said. “We’re all very different but we all find the insights to discuss issues at hand and work together. At the end of the day what I see is a group of people who love the Laurel Highlands. We all want what is best for it. I know we will all continue to work hard to build stronger relationships within the community and with the countless visitors that pass through.”
During the celebration, long-time member Joseph Sarnelli, owner of Sarnelli’s Corner, was honored for his community service efforts and presented with the MLCC Community Service Award.
Additionally, Jena Bukovac was recognized for volunteering her time at many MLCC events over the years. “We at the chamber tend to disagree that volunteerism is a thing of the past when it comes to our youth,” Kris said. “Jena began volunteering her time here as early as the fourth grade when she dressed as an elf at our Parade of Trees. She has volunteered at all of our Ladies’ Day Bashes and most recently she drove the drink cart at our golf outing.” Kris officially announced Jena as the Chamber’s official ‘Bud Light Girl’ and presented her with Bud Light hat and Star Award.
A huge round of applause was given to Jeff Smail of Smail Auto Group and John DePalma of Frank Fuhrer Wholesale for their generous and continued support of the Chamber’s golf outing. The two have collectively donated nearly $40 thousand dollars to the event.
“Thank you to our Administrative Assistant, Stefanie Cramer, Cami DiBattista for serving as our Freelance Writer, and to Boss Bear Creative for the creativity they bring to our social media platforms and to our marketing pieces,” Kris said. “And last but not least, a big shout out to my husband Don Enberg for always being there for us and helping with all of our activities.”
Stefanie Cramer said she has truly enjoyed being the MLCC Administrative Assistant. “It’s been great being part of an organization that does so much for the community,” she said. “Kris is awesome to work with and it has been a wonderful experience working here.”
During the celebration, members shared their thoughts on the MLCC’s accomplishments, including the organization’s success in reaching out and sharing information with the community.
Creating the Gateway to the Laurel Highlands Flyer was a large task to undertake thirteen years ago, but organizers thought it was important to get information out to fellow chamber members, as well as to the community.
“Since we started it, the flyer has been going strong,” Kris said of the monthly periodical. “It continues to tie nearly 10,000 people together in three counties. That’s a great accomplishment.” The flyer promotes community events, local businesses, and increases awareness within the community. Going forward, the MLCC plans to add human interest stories to its publication.
In addition to the flyer, the MLCC’s social media pages, brought to us by Boss Bear Creative, are loaded with valuable information featuring members, tourists and economic development issues. Visit the site today to keep tabs on exciting events happening in the community – www.mlchamber.com.
“I have loved working here,” said Kris. “I have built so many relationships and made so many friends. I’ve learned so much from everyone. I sincerely thank all our members for their support over the years. It’s been a pleasure working with all of you and a joy to call you my friends. When we decided to put this anniversary celebration together, we just wanted everyone to come out and have fun, and I think we accomplished that.”
An Extra Special THANK YOU to Our 20th Anniversary Dinner Celebration Sponsors, including gift/door prize sponsors:
LCT Energy, LP
Robindale Energy & Associated Companies
Mountain Pines Campground
Amerikohl Mining, Inc.
Dipaola Quality Climate Control
King Legal Group, LLC
Living Treasures Wild Animal Park
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Somerset Trust Company
The Daily American
Appalachian Fluid Power
Hughes Physical Therapy Services, LLC
Ridgeline Heating & Cooling, Inc.
Berkshire Hathaway The Preferred Realty – Donegal
Cenkner Engineering, Inc.
Donegal Dairy Queen
Hazelbakers Boat & Bike Rental
Laurel Highlands Campland
Shari Bukovac Bookkeeping