Alpena chamber dinner is popular event

The Annual Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Dinner is one of the more popular events for the local business community, as well as the residents. Besides being able to enjoy dinner and drinks with one another, the chamber also presents awards, including the prestigious Alpena Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.

Chamber Executive Director Jackie Krawczak said this year’s event is Feb.20 at the APlex in Alpena and will spotlight local businesses and the achievements they have made throughout the year.

“We have awards for business of the year, culture change agent of the year, customer service of the year, up and coming business of the year,” Krawczak said. “Probably the biggest award people know about is the Outstanding Citizen of the Year and that is the first award we present.”

Krawczak said the chamber has partnered with other groups and organizations for several awards. She said Junior Achievement, the Alpena Regional Medical Center and the Alpena Community College will also present awards during the dinner. Krawczak said there will also be an update on the chamber, as well as goals and initiatives it has.

Determining the winner of the awards is determined by a scoring system which is used by committees for each chamber award. Krawczak said once the committees score those who were nominated, the results are given to Krawczak, who tallies the totals. He said the customer service award is voted on by the chamber’s ambassadors, after viewing and hearing customer service stories from 2013.

Krawczak said the theme for this year’s event focuses on people and businesses coming together to make Alpena and one another stronger. She said there will be plenty of visual examples on how the community pulled together to make some recent opportunities a reality.

“All of the raffles and decorations go along with our these, which this year is ‘Team Work Makes Alpena Work.'” Krawczak said. “We’re excited about our gallery of team work, which are pictures of teamwork around the community that made projects successful.”

In the days leading up to the event, as well as during, the chamber is asking people to create Twitter accounts and use them to promote Alpena and how it comes together to accomplish many things.

“We are encouraging people to tweet examples of the team work in Alpena, using the hashtag #teamworkmakesalpenawork,” Krawczak said. “People can do it leading up to the event and while it is happening and depending on how it goes, we would like to keep it going after.”

Last years event had about 400 people in attendance, and according to Krawczak the number of tickets already sold this year has surpassed that already. She said tickets are $30 and tables of eight can be reserved at the chamber office. Krawczak said she is pleased with how the event has grown over time.

“Over the last six or seven years it has gotten bigger and this year is going to be the biggest so far,” Krawczak said. “It is going be huge and we are extremely excited about it.”

Krawczak said some of the award winners are notified beforehand about winning, but that is not the case for the citizen of the year. She said very few people know who it is until it is announced at the dinner.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at