Sunrise Pinnacle Award winners honored during ceremony

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 23, 2015


ROCHESTER — The Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce recognized 23 local businesses, organizations and community members during its ninth annual Sunrise Pinnacle Awards breakfast at the Royal Park Hotel Oct. 23.

The awards are an annual recognition of achievement and contributions to the community, according to chamber Executive Director Sheri Heiney.

“When you look at these winners, they are people that are just committed to the community and whatever it is that they are a part of,” she said. “Some of them are quiet workers who are always surprised when they hear that they’ve won.”

The chamber has always honored businesses, but in 2006, she said, the chamber wanted to enhance and expand its recognition program, and thus created the Sunrise Pinnacle Awards.

“At the time, we were only giving out three awards … and we recognized that there were so many folks that were doing great things,” she said. “We represent Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, and our communities are made up of nonprofits, individuals and businesses, so we looked at creating more awards.”

Months before the event each year, Heiney said, the chamber seeks nominations for each award from people in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township. Once all the nominations are in, a panel of anonymous business professionals conducts an initial assessment of all submissions and forms a short list, which is then reviewed during the final stage, when the winners are chosen.

“What’s special about the awards is that even though we are coordinating it, the business community is involved in it, because they actually sponsor and support the awards — which are named after the sponsoring business,” Heiney said. “That business actually gives the award to the winner, so that really engages everyone to be involved in the whole process.”

This year, the Chief Financial Credit Union Community Builder Award went to the city of Rochester for its new west parking platform.

“It’s awesome to be recognized by your local chamber,” said Deputy City Manager Nik Banda. “It really kind of embodies the whole reason we did it. It was for potential future economic growth and quality of life. It’s all about trying to ensure that Rochester has a placeholder in the future for the next level of growth that we might see — that’s why we spent $12 million — and it also created opportunities to redo Walnut and the alley. We appreciate that they noticed that.”

The Pixley Funeral Home Ambassador of the Year Award went to Kaye Corless. The Village Fine Art Gallery snapped up the Paint Creek Center for the Arts Arts & Cultural Award. John Gaber took home the BMW & Audi of Rochester Hills Board Member of the Year Award.

The Fox Automotive of Rochester Hills Business of the Year Award went to RAYCONNECT Inc. Jennifer Kincer received the PNC Bank Business Woman of the Year Award.

Beaumont Hospital of Troy received the Comcast Business Customer Service Award. First Street Lofts snapped up the OUINC Economic Development Award. The Oakland University Educator of the Year Award went to Karen Sheridan. Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar was honored with the Kroger Company Excellence in Dining Award. The Fifth Third Bank Going Green Award was given to Consumers Energy. The C & G Newspapers/Rochester Post Diversity Award went to the American Association of University Women of Rochester.

Sharon Postnieks, October president of the AAUW of Rochester, said the award recognizes an organization for its sustained commitment of diverse practices.

“Rochester AAUW received the award for its varied programs in the Rochester community, and we are very proud to be recognized for our efforts,” Postnieks said in an email. “The branch advances equity for women and girls through advocacy and education.”

The Crittenton Hospital Medical Center Healthcare Professional of the Year Award went to Dr. Jeffrey DeClaire. George and Elizabeth Seifert snapped up the Beaumont Health System Lifetime Achievement Award. The Oakland Press Marketing/Advertising of the Year Award went to Boulevard Health Center. Gifts for All God’s Children received the Shelton Buick GMC Nonprofit Achievement Award. Ann Peterson was honored with the PAR Pharmaceutical Leadership Greater Rochester Award.

Peterson said she was “truly honored” to have members of the community select her for this award.

“I am so blessed to be able to give back to the community. We all find our purpose, and I found mine. I will continue being the students’ advocate at (Alternative Center for Education) High School,” she said in an email.

Ginger Ketelsen received the Tim Crawford Nationwide Insurance Agency Outstanding Community Service Award. The Croskey Lanni PC Philanthropy Award went to 100 Women Who Care, Greater Rochester Area. Bloomingdale Construction Co. snapped up the Mattina, Kent and Gibbons PC Small Business of the Year Award. The Edward Jones Investments Steady Growth and Profitability Award went to Accurate Gauge and MFG Inc. The Boulevard Health Center Wellness at Work Award went to the Michigan Wellness Council. Jennifer Porter received the Rochester Community Schools Young Professional of the Year Award.

This year’s Sunrise Pinnacle Award winners were recognized during the event and also received a crystal award and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, as well as Certificates of Achievement from state Sen. Marty Knollenberg and Rep. Michael Webber for their “outstanding and invaluable service to the community.”

For more information, call the chamber at (248) 651-6700 or visit