Monica Simpson of Dunkirk and Simone Sellstrom of Jamestown were awarded the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award. The celebration took place during the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.
The meeting began with a welcome and introductions by Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Tranum. The meeting was called to order by past Chamber Chairman Curt Anderson. Anderson acted for Chairman Brian Bugaj who was unable to attend. Anderson thanked host and keynote speaker David Hart of Hart Hotels for hosting the event. He also thanked Journey Gunderson for her role with The National Comedy Center.
“Comedy plus tenacity equals the National Comedy Center. Thank you for what you have done for our community,” Anderson said.
In addition, Anderson thanked retiring chamber secretary, Ann Abdella for her contribution to the chamber.
“She’s been a board member for the past eight years and she is just magnificent,” Anderson said. “She’s coming off the board, thank you we wish you great success for your future.”
Anderson also acknowledged State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and County Executive George Borrello for their support of the local economy.
“Andy’s a big supporter of the business community and a big supporter of the chamber,” Anderson said. “George is a big advocate for the business community.”
The quorum was then verified by chamber secretary, Ann Abdella. The finance report was provided by chamber treasurer, Neil Frederick. The nominating committee report was given by Emily Reynolds of Cornell Cooperative Extension and remarks were made from Anderson.
The presentation of the awards then took place. The Lydic Award is named after the first executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Simpson is the Program Manager at the Fredonia Technology Incubator. In receiving the award Simpson thanked her family for being in attendance and the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel for hosting. She also thanked the chamber for the honor of receiving the award.
“Thanks to members of the Dunkirk Chamber for making me feel welcome from the beginning,” Simpson said. “I’m floored that I’m receiving this honor.”
Sellstrom is an assistant professor and director of media, visual, and performing arts at Jamestown Community College. Sellstrom is also communication coordinator at JCC. In receiving the award she described that her community service comes with her family history. She also thanked the community for welcoming her into the region.
“I married into a family who believes passionately in giving back to the community, and that every family member that has come before me with the Sellstrom name has given back to the county in some way,” Sellstrom said.
She also thanked the community for making her feel as part of a family. This rang true for Sellstrom who originally came from Oklahoma. “I thank the people at the Small Business Development Center who were vital in making connections and helping me learn who the manufacturers were in the industry, learn who the companies where and the different community partners that were available to us,” Sellstrom said. “I also want to thank the community partners I have been able to work with in my six years at JCC.”
After the reception, Hart spoke on the economic development in the region. At the same time he also congratulated the honorees and connected Simpson and Sellstrom to that economic development.
“You both are making us proud in Chautauqua County,” Hart said.
After Hart spoke he was presented with a map of Chautauqua Lake. Following the exchange, Tranum gave closing remarks.