Chamber News & Member Blog

The latest news, announcements and member blog from the Chamber!

Want to contribute a news release, member blog or announcements, contact

New Ideas, Community Plans, Awards Presented at 106th Annual Meeting

New Ideas, Community Plans, Awards Presented at 106th Annual Meeting

Terre Haute, IN – The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce continued a year of new beginnings, with newly branded awards, new event location and a new look at the Terre Haute community during the organization’s 106th Annual Meeting.

Hosted at the Terre Haute Regional Airport, the Annual Meeting was held in part on the facility’s tarmac, with planes and aviation equipment used in the ambiance of the evening.

“It is no small feat for an organization to be celebrating its 106th year of being a part of the community,” said Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce President Kristin Craig. “Tonight’s dinner was a great representation of that accomplishment. We honored several great business, great people and highlighted a great community asset in the airport.”

Thursday night’s festivities included the presentation of three prestigious business awards along with a presentation by Terre Haute Regional Airport Executive Director Jeff Hauser, welcome by Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett and comments by Craig. The newly released community plan and community brand, “See You In Terre Haute”, was also presented during the event.

The following individuals and companies were recognized as award winners:

  • First Financial Bank, Building Business Award
  • Duke Energy Foundation, Building Community Award
  • Jared Ell, Terre Haute Young Leader of the Year

As the Chamber continues its mission of “Building Business, Building Community” two new award distinctions will be recognized, the Building Business Award and the Building Community Award. The award of Young Leader of the Year will also continue.

The Building Business Award, sponsored by Vectren – A CenterPoint Energy Company, was presented to First Financial Bank. The award is designed to recognize an outstanding business that has brought significant economic growth to the region. 

A mainstay in the Terre Haute community for more than 180 years, First Financial Bank continues to grow and expand. Just this year the Terre Haute based bank announced expansion… 83 branches and five loan production offices in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In January 2019 it was announced a merger with Heritage Bank, a community bank serving western Kentucky and middle Tennessee.

First has been named one of the best banks in America by Forbes Magazine, for 10 years in a row the corporation was voted best bank by the Tribune-Star Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Building Community Award, sponsored by Indiana State University, is designed to recognize an organization or individual(s) for making significant progress toward enhancing quality of life issues in the West Central region. This year’s award presentation recognized the Duke Energy Foundation.  

Earlier this month The Duke Energy Foundation pledged $250,000 in grants to tackle opioid addiction. The program is called, “Beyond Awareness: Indiana Opioid Addiction Pipeline Project”. Funding has been awarded to both Ivy Tech Community College and the Hamilton Center.

Ivy Tech will combat the opioid crisis by through providing a robust addiction services workforce through the creation of the Duke Energy Scholarship. This scholarship will cover tuition, books and fees for those pursuing a license in addiction services. An estimated 30-40 individuals are anticipated to be impacted by this scholarship

Meanwhile, Hamilton Center will use funding for a pilot program to help those with an opioid use disorder. The program will assist up to 15 individuals to receive treatment and remain in the workforce.

Scholarship applications for Ivy Tech are already being accepted.

As in the past, the Young Leader of the Year Award celebrates and supports emerging and exemplary leadership qualities found in our young professionals in the West Central region. The award is sponsored by Wright’s Pool Service and the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute. This year Assistant Director for Marketing Strategy in Residential Life at Indiana State University, Jared Ell was recognized as the 2019 recipient. The Membership Co-Chair of THYL, a volunteer for Downtown Terre Haute and countless organizations in the community, Ell is also working towards his MBA at ISU.

The previous ATHENA Leadership Award will be transitioned into a new type of recognition for individuals who support women in leadership. Previous award winners and those who have received awards and recognition throughout the year were also be honored at the event.

For more information on the awards and recipients, see the information below:

Building Business Award

Sponsored by Indiana State University

The Building Community Award, is designed to recognize an organization or individual(s) for making significant progress toward enhancing quality of life issues in the West Central region. Formally the Vision: A Level Above Award, was first presented in 2006 and aims to highlight substantial and forward thinking initiatives which will improve and encourage the Terre Haute and West Central Indiana community.

Past recipients have included Major General Martin Umbarger, Greg Gibson, Tim Dora, the Terre Haute Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Sisters of Providence, First Financial Bank, Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Keith Ruble, Arts Illiana & Art Spaces, Indiana State University, Vigo County Aquatic Center, Terre Haute Regional Hospital, Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department – Griffin Bike Park, John McNichols and Max Miller.

Vision A Level Above

Sponsored by Vectren – A CenterPoint Energy Company

The Building Business Award, sponsored by Vectren – A CenterPoint Energy Company, is formally known as the “Business A Level Above” Award, first presented in 2005. The newly named award honors an outstanding business in the Wabash Valley, which has brought significant economic growth to the region. The award recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of those who take risks and make investments in time and money to grow businesses and jobs.

Past recipients have included Sony DADC, Pfizer, Inc., Clabber Girl Corporation, Duke Energy, Union Hospital, GE Aviation, ADVICS Manufacturing, ThyssenKrupp Presta, Thompson Thrift, CSN, Dorsett Automotive, Keymark Construction & Development, Joink and Gartland Foundry Co.

Young Leader of the Year

The Young Leader of the Year award, sponsored by Terre Haute Young Leaders with scholarship support from the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute, is presented to an individual with a demonstrated commitment to attract and retain young talent in the Terre Haute community.

First presented in 2011, the Young Leader of the Year Award recognizes individuals who possess values consistent with those of Terre Haute Young Leaders and an unwavering responsibility to community programs that elevate the overall quality of life in Terre Haute. Previous recipients include Stephanie Pence, Whitney Gurman-Roberts, Ellie Caldwell, Jon Scherle, Courtney Richey, Jenifer Wright, Jennifer Isbell-Scott and Lindsay Hull.

About the Chamber

Established in 1913, the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce has been and always will be, committed to creating a community that is a great place to live, work and do business. Its mission is building business, building communities.

For more information, contact Katie Shane, Director of Membership and Communications at or (812) 232-2391.