BRANDON, FL – The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce recognized area businesspeople for their community service and volunteer hours during its Annual Dinner held Friday, January 31, 2014 at The Regent (6437 Watson Road, Riverview). Nearly 400 members of the Greater Brandon Area business community attended the event presented by Title Sponsor The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and Brandon News.
Incoming Chamber Board Chair and Tampa Bay Times’ SouthShore and Brandon Times’ general manager Tony Del Castillo received the honorary chairman’s gavel from Immediate Past Board Chair, and Copper Bell Café–Riverview and Service With Style’s Darren Denington.
“Brandon is such a dynamic and vibrant community to work, live, shop and dine in,” said Del Castillo. “Additionally, I’ve always been impressed with the fact that if Brandon were incorporated, it would be the fourth largest city in Florida. It would be more populous than the incorporated cities of St. Petersburg and Orlando, and just behind Tampa and the more densely populated cities of Miami and Jacksonville. Truly I see a great place of opportunity and believe success is here!”
Kay and John Sullivan were named 2013 Key Citizens for their numerous volunteer hours spent working with the Chamber, and for their contributions to the progress and betterment of the Greater Brandon Area. The Sullivans were presented a framed photo recognizing their service by 2012 Key Citizen Susan Saunders.
Brandon High School Coach Russ Cozart was given the 2014 Greater Brandon Community Leadership Award for his longtime leadership of the school’s wresting program that included a winning streak lasting 34 years. Cozart and his wrestlers made history that resulted in an ESPN documentary entitled, “The Streak.” During the course of the streak, 77 Brandon wrestlers were crowned individual state champions, and the program won 22 state titles, including 11 consecutive titles. Cozart’s teams have produced 23 state championships, 101 state individual champions, 42 consecutive Hillsborough County titles, and 39 consecutive district titles. His coaching skills have also helped over 50 Brandon High School wrestlers receive collegiate athletic scholarships. Cozart was presented his award by 2013 Greater Brandon Community Leadership Award winner Rich Glorioso.
Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce board member and Bivins & Hemenway, P.A.’s Bob Bivins received the 2013 Chairman’s Award from outgoing Chamber Chair Darren Denington. Denington selected Bivins because of his positive impact on Chamber goals and initiatives over the past year.
Planning Advisors’ Robert Young was named 2013 Ambassador of the Year for his countless volunteer hours helping the Chamber host numerous events, ribbon cuttings and membership anniversary celebrations. The ambassador award annually recognizes a local businessperson who has gone the extra mile to serve the area’s business community and is annually chosen from the monthly ambassador winners.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham presented a commissioners’ commendation to the Chamber, recognizing the organization’s 2013 successes.
Annual Dinner Co-Sponsors included Tampa Electric Company, Extravaganza Productions, Inc., The Regent, Amazingly Creative Events, Fancy That Specialty Linens, Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Center, and Precision Payments, Inc.