Dedicated to Dunkirk

Businesses are the backbone of a successful region and the Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday recognized several of those businesses for all they do in the area.

The chamber presented unique community awards to the following four companies during its annual awards presentation at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center: NRG Energy (Business of the Year), ProQuip International (Rookie Business of the Year), Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Museum Park (Community Organization of the Year) and Putnam Record Insurance Agency (Years of Membership Award).

“This award … is a tribute to the teamwork at our plant, and our teamwork is humbled by the teamwork displayed by this community, our friends in business and our friends in government,” Bill Vogel, site manager of the Dunkirk power plant, said after accepting the award for NRG with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 97 Executive Board member Andrew Pacos.

“We have been good citizens because it’s the right thing to do, and we enjoy it, but to see and receive so much in return (last) year went above and beyond all our expectations,” Vogel added. “I don’t think there was anybody in this county that was not touched in some way by (the repowering) effort. We thank you for your support, and we are very proud in looking forward to returning all of that support with a great project here …”

“Your recent commitment to the region is history-making,” newly inducted Chamber President Jay Warren told Vogel and Pacos. “We are so proud to consider NRG a good business friend and a good community neighbor. NRG demonstrated their commitment to the community long before the plan for repowering (from coal to natural gas). They have supported youth, cultural, civic, recreational and educational activities. Your record of assisted civic participation is so impressive.”

Warren added the repowering of the Dunkirk plant will provide clean energy, new construction jobs, a strong workforce and a stabilized tax base to the community.

“This signals the lifting of a cloud off our community,” he concluded. “The investment in the area means those who have these great new ideas, and those willing to invest, can feel more sure as they consider moving forward with their plans.”

ProQuip International President/CEO Sam Tavernese, after accepting the award, said he could not have thought of a better place to have launched his international enterprise than Dunkirk.

“I have nothing but high regard for the area,” he said. “You have embraced our company … ProQuip is pleased and committed to furthering this positive and forward-looking spirit (brought on by NRG’s repowering). I and ProQuip look forward to … accepting you as business colleagues and collaborators in truly making this area a beacon of economic strength once again. Together, we will light up Dunkirk.”

ProQuip is a “green” engineering business that provides incentive-eligible LED lighting and solar technology. The Canadian-based company located its first U.S. office in Dunkirk last year at 855 Main St.

Doug Mahany accepted the award for Putnam Record Insurance Agency, which has been a member of the chamber for over 34 years.

“Any successful business is only as good as its staff that supports it,” he said, thanking the employees.

Barb Lawson, Dave Briska and Mike Vinciguerra accepted the award for the Lighthouse and Veterans Museum.

“Your dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to preserve our history and to honor the veterans from our area,” Warren said, adding the lighthouse plays a crucial part in bringing tourists to Dunkirk. “Through your hard work, you have put our historic lighthouse on the map.”

The chamber also installed its executive board for 2014 during the meeting. Joining Warren will be OBSERVER Publisher John D’Agostino as vice president, Jason Ferguson as treasurer and Meredith Patton as secretary.

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