Indiana Chamber Celebrates 100 Years at Annual Awards Dinner business leaders honored; Jeffersonville’s Paul Perkins new board chair

INDIANA — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce held its 33rd Annual Awards Dinner Wednesday, which featured a look back at a century of achievements and honored the best in Hoosier business, government, and community as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, the Annual Awards Dinner recognized noteworthy Hoosiers making a difference, who took the stage at the Indiana Convention Center.

Three of the awards were announced earlier in the fall, while the Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year was unveiled at the event. That honor belonged to Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

A Bloomington native, Brinegar is celebrating his 30th year with the Indiana Chamber – with two decades at the helm – and will retire in early 2024. Brinegar has been honored with two Sagamore of the Wabash awards and has led Indiana Chamber efforts that have contributed to vastly improving Indiana’s rankings in the critical business climate and tax metrics during that time.

Furthermore, the Indiana Chamber has grown to become the second largest state chamber in the nation and expanded and diversified its programs and offerings to better serve the business community in his tenure.

Kevin Brinegar

“I was honored to be among these outstanding award winners this year,” shares Brinegar, who was nominated for the award by a longtime board member of the organization. “They are truly changing Indiana’s business climate by enhancing the state’s perception and making it a welcoming destination for more people in such meaningful ways.”

The Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year is Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) CEO and Secretary Elaine Bedel. A successful business owner, Bedel answered the call to serve the state several years ago. In her current role, she and the IDDC work to attract and retain talent, graduates, and visitors. Positive momentum and emphasis were raised to a new level in 2022 with the release of the “IN Indiana” marketing campaign.

Elaine Bedel

Rupal Thanawala, long-time community advocate and CEO of tech and business advisory firm Trident Systems LLC in Fishers, is the NextEra Energy Resources Dynamic Leader of the Year. The company specializes in business strategy and digital transformation for supply chain and global financial compliance. Thanawala believes being a servant leader is her calling and she serves on various boards and positions geared toward assisting underrepresented groups.

Rupal Thanawala

The 2022 Cummins Community of the Year in Columbus. Its robust business climate, philanthropic spirit, exceptional workforce, and quality-of-life opportunities illustrate what a thriving place it is. It’s punctuated by magnificent architecture, which makes it a destination for visitors and an attraction for residents.

Columbus, Indiana

The event followed the Indiana Chamber’s annual board meeting, where Paul Perkins – president of Amatrol, Inc. – a Jeffersonville-based interactive technical education provider, was named the new chairman.

Paul Perkins

Perkins has long been engaged with the Indiana Chamber, not only through its board of directors but its many workforce development initiatives and committees as well.

The Indiana Chamber also presented the 2022 Samuel C. Schlosser Volunteer of the Year award to three individuals who helped the organization better serve its members. They are Lisa Day, benefits and wellness specialist, HR Center of Excellence at Kimball International in Jasper; Mishawaka-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Larry Garatoni, CEO of Garatoni-Smith Family Foundation; and attorney Bonnie Martin, managing shareholder of the Ogletree Deakins Indianapolis office.

The Annual Awards Dinner’s opening reception sponsor was PNC. The speaker sponsor was OneAmerica. Corporate sponsors were AT&T Indiana; DeBruce Foundation, French Lick Resort; Indiana University; NIPSCO; Republic Airways/Lift Academy; Tilson and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors were AECOM Hunt; Community Health Network; Corteva Agriscience; Fineline Printing Group; Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick; Markey’s; MCM CPAs & Advisors; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Subaru of Indiana Automotive; and The Kroger Co.