Portage County Business Council honors businesses and industry leaders

Left to right: Ignite Young Professional of the Year Leah Knights; Golden Apple Award winner Catalina Cabella; Portage County Charitable Community Award winner Sherri Galle-Teske on behalf of the Humane Society of Portage County; and Entrepreneur of the Year winners John and Melissa Eron, owners of Eron’s Event Barn.

One Portage County business, one non-profit organization, one teacher, and one young professional in the county’s business community were singled out for honors April 6 at the Portage County Business Council’s Creative Excellence Awards Breakfast held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Eron’s Event Barn owned by John and Melissa Eron and located at 3471 County Road C in Stevens Point. The business was selected from several nominees based on their growth and financial stability, dedication to customer service and community needs, personal commitment, and innovative efforts to identify a market niche.

The Portage County Charitable Community Award was presented to the Humane Society of Portage County. They have served the community for more than 50 years rescuing and rehoming animals. In the middle of a pandemic, they took in and housed approximately 1,000 animals and adopted out many, reunited more than 1,275 Portage County residents with their lost animals, boasted 32 Portage County foster families with more than 10,200 animal foster nights in foster homes, and adopted out more than 3,370 animals in the last five years.

The Golden Apple for Excellence in Education Award was presented to Catalina Cabello, a Spanish Language Teacher at Pacelli High School. She has been teaching at Pacelli for five years using innovation and creativity each day in her lessons with a range of learning activities. Cabello was chosen from 15 nominees based on her creativity, enthusiasm, commitment, and her development of a positive learning environment. In addition to her role as the only language teacher at Pacelli, she is a freelance interpreter and translator for multiple organizations including the Stevens Point Area Public School District, among other community involvement.

The Ignite Young Professional of the Year Award was presented to Leah Knights. Leah was chosen based on her professional accomplishments as well as her participation in organizations that work to improve the Portage County area. As UW-Stevens Point’s first MBA Fellow, Leah worked with Create Portage County to support their growth of community and economic development. She is the Founding President of Uplift, a non-profit whose mission is to support women, specifically those going through crisis. In addition, Leah is serving her fifth year on the St. Michael’s Foundation Board of Directors.

Director of Programs & Events for the Portage County Business Council Karen Myers said, “Their dedication to bettering our local community is another element that makes all four award winners unique and valuable parts of the Portage County community. We salute their work and congratulate them on these well-deserved awards.”

Representative Katrina Shankland and Senator Patrick Testin were in attendance to hand out State of Wisconsin proclamations to the award recipients.

Skyward Vice President of Customer Success Tim Casey was the guest speaker for the event.

Corporate sponsors of the event included Anderson O’Brien, Behavioral Health Clinic, Buzza Drier & Johnson LLC, CliftonLarsonAllen, Community First Bank, Findorff, Herrschners, Regnier Consulting Group, Sales & Income Tax Advisory Network, Skyward, and UW-Stevens Point MBA Program. The hand sanitizer sponsor for the event was Mark Motors Automotive. Media sponsor of the event was NRG Media with Aleese Fielder from NRG Media acting as Master of Ceremonies.

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