Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting

At its 111th annual meeting and holiday celebration Friday, the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of the Leader Circle of Indiana County2023 Male and Female Civic Leader Award and the new inductees in the 2024 Business Hall of Fame.

Announced by the 2022 male recipient, Chris Adams of First Commonwealth Bank, the male civic leader is Ed Nehrig and the female civic leader is Cindy Rogers.

Nominated by Dr. Diana Rupert of the Indiana County Technology Center, Nehrig has served on the Indiana County Fair board for 45 years, serving 17 years as president; PA Agricultural Land Condemnation; American Farm Bureau; PA Farmer’s Association; Indiana County Planning Commission as Vice-Chairman; Homer-Center School District Advisory Committee; Indiana County Farm Bureau; and the Indiana County 4-H Leaders. 

In addition to thanking ICTC and his family, he set aside time to acknowledge the volunteers he says he worked with and dedicated the award for them.

“I’ve worked with volunteers all of my life in all of these organizations,” he said. “This award really is theirs because without people supporting you and helping you along the way, nothing could be accomplished.” 

Rogers, nominated by the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, served on the boards of the Tourist Bureau, Evergreen Conservancy, the Indiana County Sustainability Task Force, LWE Indiana County, Chevy Chase Community Center, Aging Services Meal Delivery, Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Committee, Indiana County Conservation, League of Women Voters Environmental Committee and Friends of Yellow Creek.

“(Cindy’s) volunteer services include taking a very active role,” Adams said, “and seeks positions of leadership in organizations and the board of directors that she’s on. (She’s) always considering ways to enrich our community services.”

She was a special-ed teacher and staff development specialist for 35 years before retiring and jumping into advocacy for environmental issues.

“I joined the Evergreen Conservancy and League of Women Voters Environmental Committee, “Rogers said, “and that led to other things and other things and other things and 15 years later, I’m very honored to have been working with many partners and very many volunteers that make everything happen.” 

According to Sherry Renosky, chamber board ex-officio adviser and 2015 recipient of the Female Civic Leader of the Year, the awards began in 1979 to recognize “men and women for their service improving the quality of life in Indiana County.” A panel of judges outside of the county are brought in to review a profile of the nominees, which are delivered without a name to the judges. After rating the profiles, the ones with the highest scores are deemed the winner. 

After honoring Nehrig and Rogers, Dave Reed, chamber director’s board chairman, added more business and community leaders who “made significant contributions in shaping Indiana County and our nation” for its 2024 class in the Business Hall of Fame.

According to Reed, hall of fame recipients were nominated by the community and voted on by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and ranked in two categories: living and deceased. 

Representing the eighth class in the Hall of Fame, which began in 2003:

•Heath Clark, R&P Coal Company, deceased

•John Sutton, Indiana Normal School, deceased

•Bryan Force, Force Environmental Solutions, living

•Ann Lezanic, Ninth Street Deli, living

•Mike Price, First Commonwealth Bank, living

The chairman’s selection for 2024 was former Chamber president and Chief of Economic Development for the Indiana County Center for Economic Development Dana P. Henry. 

“We’re really grateful for all the partnerships that we have,” Chamber President Mark Hilliard said. “I think that was the theme of the night: partnerships and collaboration — Just seeing the way that everyone is working together.

“When you look at a lot of those individuals and what they meant to the county, it really goes back to everyone working together for a common goal.”