The McPherson Chamber of Commerce has been around for 95 years now, but the organization shows no sign of slowing down. The Chamber celebrated at the McPherson Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Holiday Manor Convention Center.

Past Chamber Board President Adrian Morales handed over the gavel to Brad Mears of Kansas Municipal Utility to take charge of the 2017-2018 Chamber year.

“There’s definitely some big shoes to fill,” Mears laughed. “I left McPherson after high school thinking that I’d never have an opportunity to come back, and luckily I got recruited back to McPherson, Kansas. McPherson has something to be proud of and people across the state recognize that we have a lot going for us.”

Since 1921, the McPherson Chamber of Commerce has done what they can to promote the economic growth of McPherson. It’s mission statement says what the Chamber is all about; “Visionary leadership promoting a vibrant business community and enhanced quality of life.”

The organization’s job isn’t an easy one, it is funded by voluntary member investments on a fee schedule as well as two fundraising events throughout the year; the Tartan Turkey Golf Tournament and the Chamber Challenge. This is another reason for the annual celebration — to acknowledge those behind the success of the organization.

It is through these investments that the Chamber is able to provide members with invaluable resources, marketing opportunities, programs for business development, address community concerns, raise scholarship funds and provide opportunities for business connections.

Through partnerships, the chamber is able to award zero-interest loans through their E-Community Loan program.

“In 2011, the chamber became a partner of Network Kansas and was designated as an entrepreneur community,” Morales said. “With the sale of tax credits, a pool of funds has accumulated and this has sponsored 39 business start-ups or expansions in McPherson County using $1.2 million. These star-ups and expansions have created 204 jobs.”

During the luncheon, the Chamber honored Jason Hoover of Midway Motors with the President’s Award. Each year the past presidents of the Chamber meet and select an individual who has shown dedication and selfless service in the betterment of the community, which is determined to have had a long-term impact.

A native to McPherson, Hoover embarked on several business ventures before joining the family business, Midway Motors, in 2015. Since then, the business has expanded throughout the region.

His father, Glenn Hoover, served as the chamber president from 1995 through 1996, so they are the only father and son to both serve as chamber president.

In the past, Hoover has served on boards for the McPherson Opera House, YMCA, and Midwest Ford Dealer Association.

He married his high school sweetheart, Tisha, in 1995 and they have four sons.

“It takes lots of folks to get stuff done, so I really do appreciate all the efforts made by members of the chamber board and the chamber staff here,” Hoover said.

Behind all the events and good deeds of the Chamber lies its Board of Directors. Retiring board members Tracy Sterling of Culligan Water, Janet Lynch of CertainTeed and Dr. Brandon Stupka of Stupka Chiropractic and Wellness Center were recognized for their work on the board.

McPherson Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff

President Brad Mears, Kansas Municipal Utilities

Janey Anderson, A5 Western

Brad Bengtson, Home State Bank

Aaron Mayfield, Edward Jones (Seibel)

Josh Menard, Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd

Gordon Mohn, USD #418

Adrian Morales, Hess Oil Company past president term 2015-2018

Kelly Pitts, PrairieLand Partners

Tom Saffel, Prairie Landworks Inc.

Katie Sawyer, Sawyer Land & Cattle

Chuck Singleton, Central States Marketing & Manufacturing, Inc.

Dr. Trent Timson, Community Foot Clinic of McPherson

Jennifer Burch, Executive Director, McPherson Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Hawkinson, Administrative Assistant, McPherson Chamber of Commerce

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at cderksen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.