Chamber celebrates growth in community

WEIRTON – The evening struck a positive tone Tuesday as the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce observed its 78th-annual membership meeting and banquet, reviewing the accomplishments of the past year and recognizing the achievements and contributions of several area businesses.

“The chamber had a good year in 2013,” Chamber President Brenda Mull said, thanking members for their work and support. “Without it, we couldn’t continue to grow.”

Mull discussed the continuing work by the chamber’s committees to provide programs, support and opportunities for its membership, and noted 61 new businesses had joined the ranks of the chamber in the last year.

Board Chairman Nick Latousakis also noted the growth in local businesses and the chamber, saying it is the cooperative effort within the community which makes it all possible.

“We form a partnership that is vitally needed in the Weirton community,” Latousakis said.

Among those recognized were Weirton Medical Center, in honor of its recent years of growth; First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union in honor of its 75 years in business; and United Bank, for its 175 years in operation.

Those recognized for service to the chamber’s board of directors were Doug Finton, who served as chair for the last two years; Joe Stankiewicz, who recently completed six years on the board; and Bill D’Alesio, who left the board following 20 years.

One recognition presented Tuesday accompanied a change to a long-standing chamber program, as it was announced the High School Business Symposium – provided each April to area high school juniors – would be named in honor of Barbara Matey, a former board member who died in 2013.

“It is with great pride we make a lifetime change to this program,” Mull said.

Matey’s husband, Art, who was on-hand for the announcement, said she would have been honored as her work with the chamber, and on the symposium in particular, provided an opportunity to reach out the area’s younger residents.

“She was doing what she loved to do, and that was to teach,” he said.

Mull also took time to recognize the assistance of IBEW Local 246 and its apprenticeship program and the City of Weirton for assisting with the community Christmas lights, including the growing display on Three Springs Drive.

The evening also served as the official unveiling of the chamber’s 2014 membership directory, which profiles the chamber’s various committees and programs, while listing its member businesses.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)