Honoring Business Growth HCBI hands out annual awards, celebrates 30 years

By Candy E. Price

Daily News Staff Writer

Businesses and nonprofit organizations were honored during Huntingdon County Business and Industry’s (HCBI) gala Thursday. Those receiving and presenting awards were, front row, from the left, Diana McClure of Keller Engineers, Sam Pritz of JELT Enterprises Inc., Hesston Speedway, Rick Rogers of Blue Juniata VFW Post 5754, Mount Union, Denny Cisney Jr. of Cisney & O’Donnell Inc.; second row, Phil Clarke of J.C. Blair Health System, Dave Scott of Young, Oakes, Brown & Co., HCBI executive director Amy Wise and HCBI board of directors chair David Donnelly.Photo by CANDY E. PRICEInvestors, supporters, elected officials and business representatives gathered at Juniata College Thursday evening for Huntingdon County Business and Industry’s (HCBI) annual meeting and awards gala.
 
Two local businesses and one nonprofit organization were honored by the agency and the large crowd in attendance.
 

“To reinvent, Post 5745 expanded its charitable outreach,” Phil Clarke from award sponsor J.C. Blair Health System said.The Reinvention Award goes to a business that has made a major commitment to staying competitive by reinventing its business operations and its mission through its products, processes or people. That award was presented to the Blue Juniata VFW Post 5754, Mount Union.
 
Clarke said the post has worked to “positively impact the community,” and noted specifically the annual Santa Stocking Program which provides Christmas stockings to students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the Mount Union Area and Southern Huntingdon County school districts.
 
“(Post) 5754 can do well by doing good,” Clarke said.
 
Post member Rick Rogers accepted the award without any remarks.
 
The Keystone Award goes to a business which has been successfully operating in the county for more than 20 years and has impacted the community through outreach and service.
 
Diana McClure, representing award sponsor Keller Engineers, presented the award to Mill Creek-based Cisney & O’Donnell Inc.
 
“They employ craftsmen and provide work to other tradesmen ...” McClure said, also citing work to grow business in the Mill Creek community.
 
“The company’s owner and staff are active in many community organizations,” McClure said. “By establishing strong relationships ... Cisney & O’Donnell stays on the cutting edge of construction techniques.”
 
Denny Cisney Jr. accepted the award.
 
“We are truly honored to receive this award,” Cisney said. “We started out 47 years ago ... we’ve learned a lot over the years.”
 
He added the company appreciates the “friendship, trust and confidence.”
 
The Business Adventure Award goes to a business or individual who had a vision for their business and was not afraid to act.
 
Dave Scott, from Altoonabased accounting firm Young, Oakes, Brown & Co., presented the award to JELT Enterprises Inc., Hesston Speedway.
 
Scott said prior to the track’s closure in 2013, it was “one of the top dirt tracks in Pennsylvania on the ... scene.”
 
He said when JELT Enterprises purchased the speedway in 2015, it “roared back.”
 
“The speedway continued on to have a successful 12-race season,” Scott said.
 
On behalf of the organization, partner Sam Pritz accepted the award.
 
“It did take some vision,” Pritz said. “The vision we have is we need to become a part of the national (dirt track) scene.”
 
Additional award nominees included the Gage Mansion Bed & Breakfast, IFC Services Inc., Brown & Walters Insurance, The Daily News and Westminster Woods.
 
During the business meeting portion of the evening, HCBI executive director Amy Wise thanked the event’s numerous sponsors as well as HCBI’s investors. Wise also discussed a number of projects the agency has undertaken during the year and projects to come.
 
“Community development is a huge part of the things we do,” Wise said. “We couldn’t do what we do without investment from all of you.”
 
HCBI board of directors chair David Donnelly recognized outgoing board members Jerry Donaldson and Jay Muir.
 
Donnelly also presided over the election of new board members. Tracey Cook of Mutual Benefit Group and Greg Peachey of ACCO Brands were elected to each serve their second three-year term. Tom Mincemoyer of Mincemoyer Rentals, Adam Dimm of J.C. Blair Health System and Larry Burger of Kish Bank were elected to serve their first three-year term and Muir was elected to serve a one-year emeritus term.
 
Donnelly noted Thursday’s event also marked the 30th anniversary of HCBI.
 
“In 1986, HCBI was formed from six economic development groups,” Donnelly said. “It reminds me of the motto on our national seal, ‘E Pluribus Unum’ — out of the many, one.”
 
Donnelly said HCBI “looks forward to 30 more years.”
 
He also recognized award judges, Deborah Prosser from Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, Michelle Clapper from Johnstown Area Regional Industries and Barry Surma from the St. Francis Small Business Development Center.