Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance celebrates 2022 with awards dinner

Nov. 23—The Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance honored several community members and businesses Thursday evening during its 108th Annual Celebration Dinner.

The event, held at Bel Air Events, featured reflections of the Alliance's accomplishments in 2022 and progress updates from the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau, Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Association and Inventrek Technology Park. The evening was also a celebration of the Chamber's more than 580 members and the hundreds of volunteer hours they served throughout the year.

"Many of the accomplishments we are celebrating are the direct result of these amazing people," Chamber Manager Courtney Butler said in a statement. "We are fortunate to have such strong support and dedication from so many."

Among the 2022 accomplishments that Alliance President and CEO Lori Dukes highlighted during the event was the Alliance's acquisition of land for an industrial park in partnership with the city and county. Announced earlier this year, the land will be occupied by a $2.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant constructed by StarPlus Energy, a joint venture of Stellantis and Samsung SDI.

"Having the land secured put the community in a solid position to compete for the development," Dukes said in a statement. "Securing the project will have a long lasting, transformational impact on this community."

To that end, StarPlus Energy was honored with the Alliance's Economic Impact Award. Seiwon Chun, CEO of StarPlus Energy, attended the event to accept the award.

The Chamber also presented several other awards. They were:

* Businessperson of the Year: Richard "Dick" Moore

* Volunteers of the Year: Jerry Smith of BMO Harris Bank, and Laura Hileman of Guardian Angel Hospice and Foundation

* Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Kathleen Keppner of Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union

* Small Business of the Year: BerryComm

* Large Business of the Year: Community Howard Regional Health

* Impact Award: Turning Point S.O.C.

* Elizabeth Foster Award: Margaret Johnson, owner of the The Wellness Garden

Other divisions of the Alliance also presented awards during the event. The Downtown Association's Downtown Champion Award was given to Jonathan Rogers of WWKI. The Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau honored Todd and Amber Jordan, owners of Kokomo Toys, with its F.I.R.S.T.S. Award for outstanding tourism efforts.

Also, Charlie Sparks, former president and CEO of the Alliance, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.