Tompkins Chamber Announces Annual Award Winners to be presented at Annual Meeting

Tompkins Chamber Announces Annual Award Winners to be presented at Annual Meeting

Ithaca, NY — The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners of the four business and community recognition awards that will be presented at the Chamber Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony. The event will take place on Thursday, January 25th, at Ithaca College’s Emerson Suites.

The Award categories are: Distinguished Business of the Year, Non-Profit of the Year, and Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as the Howard Cogan Tourism Award.

Distinguished Business of the Year is being awarded to the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, for their strategic management of this critical transportation asset and continued investment in Tompkins County. Last year, the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport was awarded a $2.4 million rehabilitation grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, and $250,000 from the NYS DOT for marketing. 2017 also marked the first year in which the airport transitioned to all jet aircraft service, and that Tompkins County committed to providing jet bridges to supplement this service.

“The Airport management has worked tirelessly to improve customer service, enhance air service to Tompkins County, upgrade its infrastructure, and make a solid business case for government grant investment,” said Chamber President Jennifer Tavares. “The Airport benefits from an engaged Air Service Board, dedicated long-term consultants, the support of the Tompkins County legislature, and a community of business leader advocates that help ensure the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport continues to sustain and be a noteworthy regional transportation asset.”

Non-Profit of the Year is awarded to the Friendship Donation Network as a recognition of their commitment to reducing food waste and supporting hunger relief programs. In its 30th year as a non-profit in our community, Friendship Donations Network’s mission is to rescue fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise be thrown away from stores and farms, and redistribute it to neighbors in need. The Chamber received numerous nominations for this awardee, including reference

“Friendship Donation Network’s volunteers rescued 250 tons of fresh food this past year from landfills” said one nomination. “It provides food donations to hunger relief programs serving more than 2,000 people a week, and diverts over 1,000 lbs. of good food from local landfills every day,” said another.

The Entrepreneur of the Year is being awarded to Rachel Hogancamp, Managing Partner of Rasa Spa, for her expansion of services in Tompkins and Cayuga Counties. Rasa Spa was founded in 2006 as a partnership between Hogancamp, Island Health & Fitness, and Cayuga Medical Center in the building known as Cayuga Wellness Center. In 2017, Rasa Spa developed a second location and collaboration with the Inns at Aurora, and continued commitment to growth through local community connections.

“As Rasa Spa celebrated its 11 year anniversary in 2017, it expanded to offering massage therapists on staff at the hospital, as well as to the Inns of Aurora” says one nomination. “Rasa Spa serves as a pillar of the community, giving to over 300 different non-profits and fundraisers in the Ithaca area every year.”

The Howard Cogan Tourism Award is a special commendation given only occasionally by the staff of the Ithaca/Tompkins Convention and Visitors bureau, and is named after Howard Cogan—the famed creator of the “Ithaca is Gorges” slogan. The award will be presented to Tom Knipe, Tourism Program Director. As Tourism Program Director for the County, Tom Knipe has transformed the Tompkins County Tourism Program, guiding the Strategic Tourism Planning Board’s investment of room tax dollars collected by the County annually.

Tom’s steady guidance and careful planning has led to the development of effective strategies for pursuing niche marketing opportunities and development of new product that aligns well with our unique communities,” said Peggy Coleman, Tompkins Chamber VP of Tourism and CVB director. “The tourism economy in Tompkins County has grown stronger because of Tom’s work.”

The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau applauds these winners and their continued commitment and dedication to the economy, strength, and quality of life of Tompkins County.

For more information about the dinner, click here.

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