PITTSBURG — Community volunteers, business and others will be recognized for their outstanding contribution to Pittsburg on Thursday.

Each year the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes people during its Chamber Banquet. These include the City of Pittsburg Employer of the Year, Pitsco Educator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Spirit of Pittsburg Award.

“This is a good time to celebrate all of the good in the Pittsburg area,” Chamber Director of Marketing and Communications Josh Lowe.

The chamber and BKD, LLP announced the finalists for the 2018 Small Business of the Year Award and Crawford County Educator of the Year in April.

The community brought in their recommendations to the chamber and then the chamber interviewed nominees.

The finalists for the Small Business of the Year are Custom Awards, LLC and Sweet Designs Cakery.

Custom Awards, LLC is owned by Suzy Collins.

Starting as an employee at Custom Awards Plus under Jim and Ellen Berger, she was given the opportunity to purchase the business. Now, two years later, she continues to continue and expand the business which creates  trophies, plaques, medals, crystal and acrylic awards, signage, engraving, gifts and more.

Her nominator said,  “In two short years she has grown this business to be a one-stop shop and as she states, ‘anything is possible.’”

Outside business, Collins is active in the community. She serves as an Ambassador for the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and as a Lector, Rosary Leader, Eucharistic Minister and Parish School of Religion Catechist at Frontenac Sacred Heart Catholic Church. She was also recognized by the chamber as a 2018 Woman of Distinction.

Sweet Designs Cakery is owned by Heather and Roger Horton.

The cakery is a custom cake shop in downtown Pittsburg which started out as a hobby in 2003 and grew into a small business by 2009.

According to a release, the owners are “extremely active in the Pittsburg area community” and are founders of Pittsburg ArtWalk. Along with the ArtWalk, Heather serves as Chair of the Board of the Downtown Advisory Board and was recognized as a 2017 Woman of Distinction.
“She [Heather] is definitely an involved small business owner who helps make Pittsburg a better place,” her nominator said.

The finalists for the Crawford County Educator of the Year, selected by the chamber and Pitsco Education, are Steve Mahnken of George Nettels Elementary, Kelsey Boulware of Pittsburg Community Middle School and Jill VanWey of St. Mary’s Elementary.

“We have an incredible number of outstanding educators in the Pittsburg area, and this award

provides an opportunity to highlight some of their accomplishments and the impact they have

made on our community,” a release said. “Each of these finalists provides exceptional instruction, guidance, and dedication to their students.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.