Monticello chamber prepares for annual banquet

Bob Chiusano
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Monticello Area Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its annual “Member Celebration & Annual Banquet” later this month. 

The event will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Monticello Eagles Club. The Eagles will also provide the meal. 

The cost is $25, and includes the meal. There will be a cash bar. Social hour starts at 5:30 p.m., with dinner served at 6:15. The chamber will present their annual membership awards at 7 p.m., with the guest speaker to follow. 

This year’s guest speaker is Bob Chiusano, former COO of Rockwell Collins. After leaving Rockwell, Chiusano’s career focused on leadership development. In 2014, Chiusano wrote a book titled “Mediocrity is Not an Option,” about professional development. 

“Bob does a lot of consulting work and speaking engagements,” said Edward Jones Financial Advisor Chris Brokaw, who also serves on the chamber board of directors. 

Chamber Director Jan Hoag said Chiusano’s message would center on the theme “Becoming All You Can Be.” 

“It will focus on the review of the traits of a true leader, reminding us all that leadership is not a title or a position, but a capability to bring yourself and others to a place they would not go on their own,” explained Hoag. 

Brokaw said the chamber banquet committee talked about ideas for various speakers for the banquet and liked the idea of reaching out to Chiusano. 

“Lisa Folken (another chamber board member and director of Kirkwood’s Jones Regional Center) heard him speak and thought he would be a good fit,” added Brokaw. 

As usual, the chamber will recognize several member businesses, organizations, and individuals. The Community Pride Awards highlight existing business renovations, new construction, community services, and economic development. The chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding chamber member’s leadership and promotion of the community and chamber. 

Brokaw said the chamber intends to make a shift with these awards, and recognize as many chamber members as they can rather than one per category. 

“Our goal is to recognize multiple members,” he said. 

There will also be recognition of the Ambassadors as well. 

Chamber board members Mark Spensley with the Monticello Express and Denise Nealson with Yogi’s Inc. will be retiring following the end of their terms. Brokaw was re-elected for another three-year term. 

New board members Rae Ann Manternach with the Express and Maureen Gronstal with Bradley & Riley PC will be introduced during the banquet. 

The Monticello Chamber Banquet is open to the public. Brokaw said the chamber encourages the public to attend to learn about the work the chamber does for the business community. 

“You can be involved in the excitement of Monticello and our businesses,” he said. “We’re fortunate in the fact that we have a vital and vibrant community and businesses,” praised Brokaw. “We’re lucky to have them and they should be celebrated.” 

“MACC, Inc. is a non-governmental organization of citizens who are investing their time and money working together to improve the economic, civic, and cultural wellbeing of the area,” Hoag said. “This is our celebration of Monticello’s businesses, industry, and their employees, as well as the community in general.” 

As the chamber moves into a new year, Brokaw said they plan to place focus on their membership services, such as business after hours events, lunch and learns, etc. 

“We want to hear from and share the stories of our members,” he said. “We want to provide more value.” 

“A rising tide floats all boats and when our area flourishes, ALL benefit,” urged Hoag. “Our #ShopSmall, #ShopLocal, #ShopSmart campaign prompts our community to support the local economy knowing that when one does well, we all do well.” 

Make your reservations now to attend the banquet. RSVP by Jan. 22. 

For more information on the chamber banquet, to make reservations, or to become a chamber member, contact the chamber at 319-465-5626 or chamber@ The chamber office is located inside City Hall at 204 E. First St. 


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