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FCADC honors county industries

September 12, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

Big night for Mike

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Every year, the Franklin County Area Development Corp. (FCADC) honors industries in the county with a dose of good old-fashioned fun at its Industry Appreciation Dinner.

The FCADC has been a champion of enterprise in Franklin County since its inception in 1960 by working to encourage existing businesses while also welcoming new entrepreneurs to the area.

"We thought it was important to recognize both the small and large companies that do truly outstanding work, those that enjoy not just success as a business, but that contribute to the community as well," said L. Michael Ross, president of the FCADC.

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After 23 years, the dinner has become a well-oiled machine, Ross said.

The goal of the event is to give the hardworking friends of the FCADC a night out, complete with a catered meal and live entertainment, Ross said.

"It's a way to build relationships between folks that might not otherwise run into one another," he said. "It's a night out, so we try to make it as entertaining as possible."

Often, the entertainment comes at the expense of Ross' dignity, or that of his staff.

That was the case Thursday, when Ross and his staff entertained with their own newscast reviewing top headlines of the year.

While the dinner allows guests to unwind, the highlight is the awards, Ross said.

The FCADC presents three awards -- Large Business of the Year, which honors businesses with more than 100 employees; Small Business of the Year, which honors businesses that employ less than 100 people; and the Zane A. Miller Award, which honors an individual whose efforts have contributed significantly to the economic success of the county.

Choosing just one business for each award is challenging for the selection committee, Ross said.

"We work day to day with these companies, but there are a lot which are deserving of recognition," he said. "Some of these businesses have been considered before."

Many companies have taken home the coveted awards since the FCADC bestowed the first in 2000, however, the committee intentionally has avoided naming repeat winners.

Ross said the businesses honored Thursday exemplify the caliber of companies and individuals that call Franklin County home.

Valley Quarries of Chambersburg, Pa., was named Large Business of the Year, and D.M. Evans Distributing of Chambersburg was named Small Business of the Year.

Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher received the Zane A. Miller Award.

"For those of you who know me, you know it is not often I am speechless," Christopher said. "Tonight, I am."

Nothing is more gratifying than taking the breath away from someone who truly deserves the honor, Ross said.

More than 500 people come to celebrate each year with Ross and his staff, and for the development guru, it is always a night to remember.

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