Chamber awards best in business

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, March 8, 2012

Barbara Craig, dean of Lake Michigan College’s Niles Campus, speaks after being named Woman of the Year during the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Business Awards dinner Thursday at Orchard Hills Country Club. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Zolman Tire Company was named the Business of the Year during the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Salute to Business dinner Thursday evening at Orchard Hills Country Club.

Other awards handed out included Man of the Year, Woman of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The history of Zolman Tire Company dates back to 1978, when Bud Zolman took over Michiana Tire Company. He changed the name to Zolman Tire Company in 1990. Zolman’s son, Nate, is the company’s president, overseeing operations of the six Zolman Tire Centers.

Niles native Scott Clark, owner of Clark’s Service, was named the Man of the Year. Clark, who  serves on the Niles City Council, has been in business for more than 30 years. Clark’s Service is well known for being the No. 1 provider of service for government vehicles, including local State Police cars, Niles Police Dept., Niles Fire Dept. and more than 300 Comcast vehicles.

Woman of the Year honors went to Barbara Craig, dean of Lake Michigan College’s Niles campus since 2009. Craig has worked on several boards, including the United Way and serves on the board of directors with the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce. She was instrumental in organizing and chairing the first Business to Business Expo held at LMC’s Niles campus.

Niles native Michele Boyd, owner of Signal Travel and Tours in Niles, received the chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Boyd’s company has offices in Niles, St. Joseph and Granger, Ind., and employs 28 people.

Quen Potts, branch manager of Williamson Employment Service in Niles, was named Ambassador of the Year. Ambassadors are chamber business owners or staff who, in the course of a year, visit 25 to 35 members.

The Modineer Company was named the chamber’s Industry of the Year. Modineer CEO Ed Hamilton accepted the award. The Niles manufacturing company has been around since 1940 and employs between 450 and 500 people depending on the time of the count. Modineer is a leading manufacturer of metal products and components for the automotive and aircraft industry.

Bill and Tracey Walters received the Community Service Award. The Walters have been involved with The Salvation Army for 15 years and have been in Niles for seven of those years. The Niles Salvation army employs 900 to 1,000 volunteers each year to complete the work of its community service programs.