Nikiski Chamber works magic at Awards Night

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008


  Magician Steve Pradell pulls a live rabbit out of the box at NCC awards night at Challenger Learning Center.

Magician Steve Pradell pulls a live rabbit out of the box at NCC awards night at Challenger Learning Center.

The Nikiski Chamber of Commerce (NCC) is alive and well thanks to a little magic and a renewed commitment from its members. Just a year ago the question of dissolving the Nikiski Chamber and perhaps merging with the Kenai Chamber came before the Nikiski board of directors and under the leadership of Judy Van Cleave, Scott Hamann, JW Johns, Debby Kassik, Erich DeLand, Mike Chenault and others the decision was made to continue the Nikiski Chamber ramping up the value of the organization to their membership and community. At their Annual Awards Banquet last week a capacity crowd gathered at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska to celebrate that commitment, the successes of last year, and to honor outstanding individuals and businesses within the Nikiski community. “The people of Nikiski are just the greatest people in the world as far as I’m concerned,” incoming NCC president Scott Hamann told the Dispatch, “They packed in here tonight and opened their hearts and wallets not only to help fund our scholarships but to really cheer on the people who have stepped up and served this community for so long. I believe in Nikiski, when I go out and talk with people, myself included, they are excited about the future of Nikiski, we have some major projects on the horizon and we are a great place to live and raise a family, so in the future when people look at the Kenai Peninsula they’ll be looking at Nikiski and our Chamber will be here to help make that bright future happen,” added Hamann.

Selected for recognition this year by the NCC were Judene Van Cleave, of Offshore Systems-Kenai, as the Business of the Year, Durainey Rawls was chosen for the Community Service Award, Dale Bakk, Youth Service Award, and Scott Griffith of XTO Energy Inc. was chosen as Business Person of the year. Sharon Burdick and Eileen Rinc were given the Longevity Award, a special honor for individuals who have been actively involved in the Nikiski community for many years. The NCC Presidents Award, selected by the Past Chamber President was given to Scott Hamann, and the Community Vision Award was presented to Agrium, “We are all so encouraged about their vision for the future and being a company that is not willing to lay down and die, but looking to the future for new technology opportunities to bring to this community and we salute their efforts,” commented Hamann.

Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop provided the local libations for the evening and the laughs and entertaining magic of Steve Pradell was made possible by Doyles Fuel/Weaver Bros. “It was a great night. I got turned into a bunny, Scott waved the magic wand and ended up with a plunger on his head and a mock dead rabbit out of the hat, JW Johns almost lost his hand, and Erik got his neck pierced and a new hair do. We all had a ball and Pradell was a lot of fun, but as Scott said the real magic of the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce is the hard work and willingness of our members to step up and stay involved with our community,” said Judene Van Cleave. Finally the Magic of Steve Pradell produced a live white rabbit which he thanked ERA Aviation for allowing him to fly down from Anchorage, and the outcry auction that followed the magic show produced some $5,000 for NCC Scholarships.

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