Tony Del Castillo, with the Tampa Times/TBT; Eric Butler, 2011 Business Person of the Year; and Sherri Walker, outgoing president of the Riverview Chamber celebrate Erik’s win.

It was a festive night at the Riverview Chamber Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet, held last month at the Showmen’s Club in Riverview. The theme was tropical and flowers were everywhere on Hawaiian shirts and dresses.  It was a celebration of the achievements of the Riverview Chamber, including installation of a new president and board of directors, and presentation of awards.

County Commissioner Al Higginbotham was the keynote speaker and spent a few moments telling of his struggles since his hunting accident that left him unable to walk. With perseverance, hard work and support of family, “I triumphed three years later,” said Higginbotham. He went on to not only walk again, but climb mountains, and documented his trials in an autobiography, By Faith, I’m Still Standing.

Outgoing President Sherri Walker, of Crane Tech, spoke sincerely, “The chamber is more than a place to network, and it’s the people that give it soul.” She reviewed the accomplishments of the chamber over the past year, including kicking off the South Shore Young Professionals Association. She passed the gavel to incoming President Ed Booth, of Huth & Booth Photography. Booth. 

The emcee for the evening, Tony Del Castillo, with TBT and Tampa Bay Times, did a great job keeping the festivities flowing. Jim Johnson, of Mosaic Fertilizer, was named director emeritus to the chamber board for his 14 years.

Honorary Mayor Lisa Kennedy, with Alley Cat Pest Control, received the key to the chamber; Tanya Doran was honored for her hard work as director each and every day; and the following awards were issued for 2011: Margie Watkins- Volunteer of the Year; Larry Brooks, A & A Mortgage- Ambassador of the Year; Mary Ellen Owens, Black Diamond Associates – Shining Star Award; Gabrielle Perham, Mace Multimedia- Riverview Citizen of the Year; Barbara Jones, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office-Business Person of the Year; Eric Butler, Take Out Butler- Business of the Year, Four Paws Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Kim Tyson.

Booth explained that the chamber has major plans for this year, including launching its first membership drive, a golf tournament planned for St. Patrick’s Day, the annual Springfest and Teacher of the Year, Honorary Mayor’s Race, New Teacher’s Breakfast and Trick or Treat Street.

“We’re going to make this absolutely the very best year we’ve ever had,” said Booth.

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Suzy Wiesenhart
Suzy is one of the Advertising Representatives for the Riverview area. She started with the Osprey as an advertising assistant in 2008 and has various positions since then. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Riverview Chamber of Commerce. She has lived in Bloomingdale with her husband, Tom for the last 22 years.