Businesses honored at Chamber banquet _lowres

Advocate staff photo by Darlene Denstorff -- Gathering at the recent Ascension Chamber awards dinner, from left, are Michael Bonfanti, Bonfanti Investments; Shawn Nolan, Pinnacle Payroll Solutions of Louisiana; Haggai Davis, Gulf South Technology Solutions; Bridget Hanna, 2016 Ascension Chamber chairwoman of the board; Sherrie Despino, Ascension Chamber president/CEO; Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office; Jacob Waguespack, Faulk & Winkler, LLC and David Roscher, Guaranty Media.

Ascension Chamber of Commerce members were honored for their good deeds and dedication to the organization Feb. 2 during the group’s annual banquet at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens.

The 2015 Ambassador, Individual, New Business, Small Business and Large Business of the Year awards were handed out by Chamber President/CEO Sherrie Despino and board Chairwoman Bridget Hanna, Ascension Parish clerk of court.

Rae Milano, chairwoman of the Ambassador Committee, introduced the 2015 Ambassadors: Crystal Bergeron, Mike Bonfanti, Tracy Browning, Sheena Falgoust, Terri Kaaihue, Jenny Heroman, Jane Mathews, Jada Mayon, Aleaha Morgan, Shawn Nolan and Cheryl Rice. Nolan was named the Ambassador of the Year for his participation in the most chamber-sponsored events in 2015.

Individual of the Year nominees were Tracy Browning, executive director of Ascension Parish Tourism; Gasper Chifici, vice president Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc.; and Jacob Waguespack, Faulk & Winkler. Waguespack was named Individual of the Year for his commitment to the chamber and its mission.

New Business of the Year nominees were Guaranty Media, Kristina Cusick-Pennant Real Estate and NOLA Lending Group, A Division of Fidelity Bank. Guaranty Media won the New Business of the Year award, which is given to a new chamber member.

Nominated for Small Business of the Year were Action Therapy & Wellness Center, LLC, Express Employment Professionals, Gulf South Technology Solutions and River Parish Security Systems. Gulf South Technology Solutions won the Small Business award.

The Large Business of the Year nominees were Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Physical Therapy Lake, Eatel Corp. and EFCU Financial. Sheriff Jeff Wiley accepted the Large Business of the Year award on behalf of his department.

Mike Bonfanti, Bonfanti Investments, was recognized for outstanding service as the top producer in the Chamber’s 2015 Total Resource Campaign.