Marietta Times - Muskingum Valley Chamber Honors People
By Brittany Landers
Muskingum Valley Area Chamber of Commerce held its 14th Annual Banquet Thursday with speeches and celebration abounding through the social hall of St. Bernard's Catholic Church.
A packed house took part in what Board Chair Rick Walters said is a huge fundraising event for the chamber.
"This is a big fundraiser for us and we look forward to it every year," shared Walters.
Served by the youth group of the church, those in attendance listened to Congressman Bill Johnson speak on the profitability and hope of oil and gas back in the area as well as his views on making America great again.
"We can and should be energy independent," said Johnson, of America. "Now that we can export crude oil, our plentiful resource of it in America can become the stable supply the rest of the world needs. We will be the ones setting the rules of engagement."
Last winter, legislation lifted a 40-year band on the exportation of crude oil, which Johnson promised would help bring oil and gas control to the country as well as the area.
"We are in the midst of an oil and gas renaissance," Johnson added, referring to a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont that would bring 10,000 construction jobs and $5 billion into the proposed five-year project.
The congressman also passed out proclamation awards to the Waterford Girls' Basketball team that recently won the state championship.
An emotional point in the evening took place as the Founder's Award was given to 90-year-old Earl Schaad of Schaad's Dairy Farm. The family man of 13, married for 64 years, recently retired but owns (and his family still operates) a 515-plus acre dairy farm in Washington and Morgan counties.
"My heart has always been in agriculture," Schaad shared, fighting back tears.
Schaad's Dairty Farm relocated to its current position, on the bank of the Muskingum River, in 1968 with only 40 cows. It now milks 400.
"He's accomplished so much through his faith and has carried on a longtime family tradition," Board Director Joan Zoller stated.
Schaad has been a National Farmers Organization member since 1964 and served for 20 years as County National Farmers Organization President.
Pioneer Group received the Business of the Year award. Founded in 1981, the Marietta-based business now employs 600 people and has seven divisions. The business brings in an annual revenue of $110 million to which Mike Archer, son of CEO Dave Archer, credited to two groups of people.
"Good companies are built on good employees so we want to thank ours," Archer said as he accepted the award. "Then we also have to thank our customers for their loyalty."
The Community Service Award was given to the Humane Society of the Mid-Ohio Valley for its 150 years of service, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the state of Ohio.
"We awarded them for their continued promotion of the welfare of animals and for being a safe haven for many cats and dogs within the area," Walters said.
In 2015, 800 cats and 950 dogs were brought into the shelter; from that number, 730 cats and 880 dogs were either returned to their owners or adopted out into loving homes. The humane society was also able to sterilize 675 animals in 2015 to allow for proper pet control.
What's next for the chamber is its annual golf outing, which is expected to be the year's biggest fundraiser. It will take place June 17 at the Lakeside Golf Course with registration due by June 3