Central Hillsborough County Chamber of Commerce board members for 2024 gather onstage at the masquerade ball.

A new name and a new round of awards and recognitions marked the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce Masquerade Ball at The Regent in Riverview in February.

Before the night was through, chamber President and CEO Ny’Kole ‘Nykki’ Krivda asked attendees to bring their attention to the screens for the first public viewing of the chamber’s new logo, which in turn sported the chamber’s new name.

The Riverview Chamber, founded in 1966, now is the Central Hillsborough County Chamber of Commerce, a move Krivda and chamber Chair Tammy Folsom See, in a letter to members, said was necessary to offer “more equal representation of the multiple communities we serve.”

They noted that Hillsborough County Commissioner Michael Owen, a Bloomingdale High graduate, at a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, said, “Riverview has become the urban core now.” Now, as a chamber, “we must remain a relevant business leader in the surrounding economic core,” the letter continues.

With its Phantom of the Opera theme, featuring a show tune performance from former school board Chair Melissa Snively, the masquerade ball afforded an opportunity to recognize 2023 business award winners and 2023 Riverview Citizen of the Year Eleanor Saunders, executive director of ECHO (Emergency Care Help Organization). ECHO’s mission is to bridge the gap between crisis and stability for neighbors in roughly 20 ZIP codes.

Business awards granted in three categories went to Craig Beckinger for ABC Event Planning, Joe and Melissa Canfield for Grease Monkey in Ruskin and Vanity Barr-Little for Sylvan Learning of Apollo Beach.

In the category for up to five employees, ABC Event Planning faced finalist competition from Parwani Law, P.A. and Accent American, a disaster restoration firm. Grease Monkey, in the category for 16 to 19 employees, faced off against Your Pie and Ebb & Flow Yoga. In the category for more than 20 employees, Sylvan Learning of Apollo Beach topped ECHO and Hillsborough Community College.

Chamber awards were given as well to members who go above and beyond. The Joe Eletto Ambassador of the Year Award went to Lisa Jordan of Accent American. The Margy Watkins Volunteer of the Year Award went to Daisy Vega, founder of the Freedom to Walk Foundation, which helps cover the expense of a medical device that addresses foot drop.

Veteran Joe Eletto, who helped found and co-chairs the chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, learned at the ball that the ambassador award would be named in his honor. Eletto, a realtor, served on the chamber board from 2009 to 2014 and has been named top ambassador six times.

Rounding out the recognitions, Dave Lechuga of Florida Executive Realty received the Shining Star Award, given to first-year chamber members. Michael Broussard, immediate past chamber chair, was named 2023 Chamber Champion. He was not at the masquerade ball because he was on a mission trip in Honduras.

The night featured Riverview Honorary Mayor Brian Porter as emcee. Joe Zuniga sang The Star-Spangled Banner and James Blewett of Extraordinary Church delivered the invocation. The Best Decorated Table Award went to The Regent. Catering was by 3 C’s Catering; Nothing Bundt Cakes provided dessert.

The night concluded with recognition of the chamber’s 2024 board of directors, chaired by See. Also on the board are Krivda and board emeritus Jim Johnson. Filling out the seats: Ron Akers (FruxPay), Annette Bilyeu (Spectrum Business), Joel Brown (TECO), Dave Boyle (YMCA Camp Cristina), Jeff Campbell (Lydansco Business Consulting & Strategic Planning and Funding), Patrick Downes (St. Joseph’s Hospital-South), John R. Mayhew (Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil and county civil mediator), Gabriel Mbulo (Edward Jones), Jason Newmyer (AdventHealth Riverview), Theresa Sharkey (Your Pie), Bill Short (retired) and Elena Westrop (Charity Clothing Pickup).

For more information, visit www.riverviewchamber.com or call 813-234-5944. The chamber is in Winthrop at 6152 Delancey Station St.

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