Howell Area Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce is to be a catalyst for a vital business environment and an exceptional community.
Community leader Kathleen Zaenger, director of the Howell Carnegie District Library, was honored as the 2012 Citizen of the Year at the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on January 24 at Crystal Gardens – Livingston.
Steve Manor, the 2011 Citizen of the Year, made the announcement after recounting anecdotes in Zaenger’s life.
During the award presentation, Zaenger was described as team leader, organizer, promoter and supporter of the community. She has contributed to the health, welfare and betterment of the Howell area and Livingston County in many ways. Her success can be attributed to her role as a parent of daughter Samantha, doing yoga for relaxation and working on a farm where she learned about hard work, long hours and perseverance.Zaenger has guided the library to be a true community resource center. She is a key figure in building, organizing and supporting the broad-based leadership team that led this community to create the Howell Area Library District and the subsequent renovation and expansion of the Howell Carnegie District Library.
For the past 33 years, Zaenger has kept the library in the forefront of changes that have swept our information technology age. She has built the library into a learning center for all ages. She has made the library a family place to make connections – connections with parenting resources, learning materials for adults and children and for families to connect with families. In addition, Zaenger has made the library a business resource center and as well as a continuing education center.
And while building the library, Zaenger has continued her broad-based community involvement through her leadership in community-building activities and organizations like Walk for Warmth, Bowl for Kids Sake, the “Restore the Glory” Opera House Campaign, Howell History Days, the United Way Campaign, the Howell Rotary Club and many others.
Personally, Zaenger loves yoga and eats exactly the same breakfast every morning – an egg and a bowl of granola mixed with yogurt. Zaenger and her husband live in Brighton.
The annual Citizen of the Year Award has been presented by the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce since 1957. Kathleen Zaenger is the 56th Citizen of the Year. The award winner is selected by a committee of previous winners and is a closely-guarded secret until the announcement at the annual dinner. This year’s event was sponsored by Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital.
Other awards presented
The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce also presented other awards, and recognized the accomplishments of those people who have made exceptional contributions.
A Making It Happen Award was presented to Susan Pominville, Abovo Visual Communications. Pominville designed the chamber’s new logo – a modern and colorful re-imagining of its old logo. In addition, she works with many non-profit organizations in the area.
Pominville created the look for the Melon Festival, as well as amazing visuals for the Howell Opera House and its events. She’s developed marketing materials for the Howell Parks & Recreation Authority and the Downtown Development Authority. In short, Pominville makes Howell look great by creating graphic identities that help businesses and organizations define themselves and put forth a professional image.
The Life Member Award was presented to Dennis Gehringer who retired from First National Bank at the end of 2012 after a 46-year-long career that started when he was a 16-year-old high school student. An active member of the community, Gehringer has volunteered his time and energy to a myriad of organizations and projects. He was also recognized as the chamber’s 2003 Citizen of the Year.
Casa de Bella received the Outstanding Architectural Investment Award. Casa de Bella has made a huge commitment to downtown
Howell. After renting space on the outskirts of the downtown, the business bought a building on South Michigan Avenue. Owners Butch and Cookie Sanfillipo and their daughter, Kle Sparks, took an underused building and completely redesigned and renovated it into a cool, hip day spa with huge windows and great signage.
Mike Kennedy from Lindhout Associates Architects received a Making It Happen Award for his work with the county’s Economic Development Council to engage Ann Arbor SPARK for services to promote the Ann Arbor/Livingston region on a national and global level.Kennedy attended more city council, township board and county commission meetings in six months than many elected officials attend in a lifetime. As he traveled throughout Livingston County, Kennedy educated hundreds of elected officials on the importance of regional collaboration, and is now leading a new day in economic development here in the county.