While I have attended several Charlemagne dinners in the past, as a guest, this year’s event was quite different for me, as this was the first time I attended and stood before the crowd as the new president and CEO of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and I am quite humbled and grateful for this opportunity.
When I reflect on the "Legend of Charlemagne," I am reminded of Charlemagne’s message to his four sons, “It is important that the settlement which arises on the banks of this river will develop a character unique among other communities … I would like you, my four sons, to be the guardians of this growing settlement, to see that it does become a great community in which men can live, can work, can be educated, can worship and can play.”
Well there is no doubt in my mind, after experiencing last week’s 96th annual Charlemagne Awards ceremony, that Charlemagne would be proud of the guardians he entrusted and very pleased with the amazing community St. Charles has become. Today, St. Charles has over 33,000 residents, 1,800 businesses and employs almost 20,000 people.
Our community is filled with rich history and culture and this year’s Charlemagne Awards continue to reinforce the commitment and passion that our business leaders and residents have for this amazing city. They have invested not only their time and talent, but also their financial resources, to make St. Charles a great place to live, work and locate a business. What an amazing gift to our community and I’m sure you would agree, we are grateful for their selfless leadership and support.
The evening was filled with excitement and energy as various members of our community were recognized for their contributions to our community, all of which exemplify the vision that Charlemagne had almost 200 years ago.
A few highlights:
Three local organizations were recognized for celebrating over 100 years in our community. Civic Awards were presented to the St. Charles Park District, St. Charles History Museum and River Corridor Foundation recognizing numerous improvements that were made to our parks, community center, river and museum. Several restaurants, retailers, industrial plants and entertainment venues were recognized for their significant interior and/or exterior improvements made to improve their properties, enhancing their brand and image for their customers and employees. Clint Hull, Kane County Circuit Court Judge and a local leader of our community, was presented with the prestigious Charlemagne Award.
I look forward to next year’s event and to see what this great city of ours has in store for us. I am also excited for the opportunity to lead the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce. My personal aspiration is to evolve the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce to be a significant, relevant and well-respected partner and center of influence within our community. My focus will be on providing relevant tools, resources, programs and events, creating opportunities for our business leaders to:
Build relationships Increase brand exposure Enhance skills and knowledge Engage with the community
When these services are combined with active member engagement, it will lead to both personal growth and business opportunities which we know they all desire. These are the very things our members, or the way I would like to think about it, our customers, have said that they value. I look forward to the journey ahead and doing my very best to meet the needs and expectations of our members and the community.
Congratulations to all the award winners of this year’s Charlemagne Awards and thank you to our amazing sponsors for making this year’s event, like no other.