Sagamore for Swisher: No Shock Here

Although John Swisher, the founder of Sheridan’s JBS United was reportedly surprised to receive the state’s Sagamore of the Wabash award last week, put me in the category of "duh, it’s about time."

You see, Swisher was the Chamber’s 2009 Business Leader of the Year. I had the pleasure of helping to tell his story — from the small shed that served as an office and borrowed money from family in 1956 to the company being one of the national leaders in animal nutrition today with partnerships that span the globe.

But to truly understand the Swisher story, read the BizVoice magazine story and watch his video. In addition, the then 80-year-old Swisher wowed the Annual Dinner crowd with a stirring acceptance speech.

The 2010 Annual Awards Dinner, with Tom Brokaw (featured in this current BizVoice article) the keynote speaker. You’ll have to show up on November 9 to find out about this year’s winners.

The Show is Over … Until Next Year

I have now been a part of 60% of the Indiana Chamber’s 20 annual award dinners. OK, even my 10-year-old son (who sometimes has math homework that just doesn’t look familiar; OK, it befuddles me on occasion) would nail that simple little math problem without blinking an eye.

What is the Annual Awards Dinner? More than 1,000 people from across the state coming together to celebrate business. After all the economic turmoil of the past year, a little celebration was definitely in order. Sure we’ve got our challenges, but this is a great state with excellent people working hard to make a difference.

No celebration is complete without awards. Check out the BizVoice magazine stories on our winners (videos now available):

  • Business Leader of the Year: John Swisher of JBS United in Sheridan, a success story 53 years in the making
  • Government Leader of the Year: Stan Jones, former Indiana higher education commissioner and a strong advocate for expanding educational opportunities
  • Community of the Year: Valparaiso for mixing public and private sector investment in improving the city’s entryways and infrastructure

The Capitol Steps, kings of political satire, made fun of all no matter their political persuasion. It was a simply hilarious show. If you missed it, mark November 9, 2010 on your calendars. It’s the 21st annual event, one week after our country’s midterm election, and we’ll have longtime journalist, author and all-around good guy Tom Brokaw offering his insights.

I’ll be there (assuming the Chamber still wants me) for lucky number 13 (60% of 20 = 12 for those who struggled with the math opening). Seriously, it’s a great event from start to finish (yeah, I know, I’m biased), but one you should take in for the experience. Trust me! You will enjoy.