The Valrico FishHawk Chamber of Commerce 2023 board members. (Photo courtesy of Linda Chion.)

The Valrico FishHawk Chamber of Commerce (VFCC) at its annual meeting presented awards as board members took their oath and a newly named nonprofit became the chamber’s 2023 fundraising focus.

In recognizing the VFCC’s 10-year anniversary, Elijah Heath, chairman of the board, presented an award of appreciation to Michael Holmes for his “ongoing commitment and dedication” to the chamber founded in 2012. Without Holmes’ leadership, Heath said, “We would not all be here today.”

Holmes presided over the chamber’s first meeting as the group’s founder and president. In a 2012 news report, Holmes said it was time to “push the needle,” noting that local business owners needed “foot traffic, access to our businesses and more sales in the cash registers.”

The chamber’s growth can be measured in part by the ballroom crowd at the January 27 annual meeting at The Regent in Riverview.

“This has been an incredibly successful event and I so appreciate all the businesses and people who participated and contributed,” said Patti Sutherland of QuiAri, the chamber’s president. “We have some big goals this year for the fastest-growing chamber in Eastern Hillsborough County, the Valrico FishHawk Chamber.”

The dinner allowed for the recognition of A Caring Touch Skin Therapy, for which Rhonda McDaniel, vice president of the VFCC, took home the award for Small-sized Business of Year, for operations with up to four employees. Shannon Keil, president and chief executive officer of The Regent in Riverview, accepted the award for Medium-sized Business of Year. In the large business category, Hi-Tech Automotive received the award for enterprises with at least 10 employees.

Board member Erica Jourdain, chair of the VFCC Shop Local committee, was named the chamber’s Ambassador of the Year. Meanwhile, Bill and Angie Kagey of the Impact Program received a check for $14,675.19. As the chamber’s 2022 Charity of Choice, the Kageys’ Impact Program received proceeds from annual chamber fundraisers, including the newly instituted kickball event. The Impact Program promotes healthy lifestyles and relationships for teens.

The Charity of Choice for 2023 is Faces of Courage, a cancer patient support organization that runs annual camps for women and children at Rotary’s Camp Florida in Brandon. Programming for men is set to begin this year as well.

Also at the annual dinner, highlights of chamber life were reviewed, including the VFCC Shop Local Holiday Expo, ribbon-cuttings, Midday Power Hour Networking, Business After Hours, general assembly meetings and the VFCC University schedule of 90-minute, grow-your-business classes for members and nonmembers.

Joining Heath, Sutherland, McDaniel and Jourdain on the 2023 VFCC Board of Directors are Jerry Rothstein, chairman of the board-elect; Sara Battaglia, secretary; Kevin Suba, treasurer; Kim Ruiz, ambassador chair; Brodie Gonzalez, awards and recognition chair; Kelly Anderson, Business After Hours chair; Amy Fabian, back-to-school chair; Denise Olson, general assembly chair; Brian Porter, Midday Power Hour chair; Carolyn Clarke, ribbon-cutting chair; Mechelle Thursby, VFCCU chair; and Kathy Vircik, VFCC administrative assistant.

For more information, visit the chamber’s website at The chamber is located at 3115 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. To reach it, call 813-324-7902.

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