The Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the 2024 annual award recipients who were honored at our recent Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon. The annual luncheon is when we gather to celebrate our businesses and community organizations and to honor those making significant contributions to the region.

Kenneth Byler was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Byler was recognized for his long career in education and leadership coaching. In 2002, he co-founded Higher Ground Consulting Group, LLC. The firm is known for its quality leadership development and coaching programs. Ken has worked with hundreds of leaders in dozens of regional and national companies. He has facilitated classroom and virtual learning events, coached and mentored in one-on-one sessions, and has been a workshop speaker at a variety of industry events. In 2016 Ken was named program director for LEAD Indian Valley, this chamber’s well-known leadership development program. During his tenure, LEAD IV has graduated 143 persons (including this year’s cohort of 29).

Excel Communications Worldwide received the 2024 Pillar Award for large business of the year for their continued contributions to building a thriving local economy. Excel leverages over two decades of experience to provide expertly integrated, diverse, state-of-the-art telecommunications solutions for a growing list of clients across diverse business lines and industries – from design to installation, to implementation, to responsive service.

Franconia Café & Market received the 2024 Cornerstone Award for small business of the year for their dedication to the local community and connection. Franconia Café & Market is a gathering place for the community. Through 23 years of restaurant business, they have employed over 600 people from the community.  They have taught young teens the importance of hard work and communication and have savored the senior staff that have worked alongside of them helping them to grow.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church received the 2024 Charles H. Allebach, Jr. Community Service Award for their ongoing E-Meal Ministry that started with the COVID lockdown and has become an important safety-net program in the Indian Valley. This program has “handed up” over 536,000 meals, raised over $200,000 in funds, and now serves over 250 families each week.

Chamber President Steven Hunsberger introduced John Duerksen, Executive Vice President at Univest, as the Chamber’s new Chair. Leslie Wheeling, the Organizational Development Manager at Clemens Food Group, was honored as the retiring Chamber Chair. Ms. Wheeling will be facilitating the Chamber’s LEAD Indian Valley program beginning later this year.