Two distinguished community leaders will be honored at the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 11:30 a.m. at the Oakley Lindsay Center. In addition, the Diversity & Inclusion Excellence and Champion award winners will be honored at the event.
The Class of 2020 will include Phil Conover, John Wood Community College; and the late William F. Gerdes III, Michelmann Steel. Dot Foods will receive the D&I Excellence Award, and Chris Taylor, for home & her, will receive the D&I Champion Award.
Although he’s well-known for his most recent role as president of Quincy University (2017 to June 2019), Phil Conover was nominated based on his work with John Wood Community College. He served as president/member of the JWCC Board of Trustees from 1983-89, helping to relocate the organization from Our Lady of Angels Seminary on North 18th to the former Lincoln School at 48th and Maine in 1983. He was instrumental in the establishment of the JWCC Foundation and served on its Board.
Moreover, Conover’s visionary and collaborative leadership were essential in furthering community alliances and expanding workforce development services between JWCC and the business community. During his employed tenure at JWCC beginning in 2008 as interim vice president for instruction, dean of career, technical and workforce education, Conover played a pivotal role in the creation of the College’s Workforce Development Center in 2009, the development of new and enhanced career and technical programs (manufacturing) and advancement of college/business relationships, all of which have helped the region train, sustain and grow its workforce.
William F. Gerdes III
William F. “Bill” Gerdes III, P.E. was the fourth President of Michelmann Steel Construction Company, from 1975 to 2006. The company was founded by his Great Grandfather J.H. Michelmann in 1865 and recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, something Bill would have dearly loved being a part of. Bill was the critical “fourth generation,” when it has been proven that so many family businesses fail during or after the third generation. Bill took over from his father, Clarence A. Gerdes, in 1975 and turned the reigns over to his daughter, Laura G. Ehrhart in 2006 after a 50+ year career with the company. He ran the company successfully for over 30 years. He remained as Chairman of the Board of Michelmann Steel until his death at age 74 in 2009 and was active in the company until the end.
Dot Foods Dot Foods has been on the diversity and inclusion journey intentionally since 2008. Their journey has included the vision for an even stronger and more inclusive workforce. Dot Foods understand that people are the center of everything they do- from employees to the communities they serve. They are continuously looking for ways to break barriers, multiply talent, and ensure a climate all can thrive in.
Chris Taylor, co-owner of for home & her in Quincy’s downtown District, is committed to our community by having space for shoppers to come in and feel they are right where they belong. He is also the manager of the Cabaret (known as The Cab) and led way in ensuring this is a welcoming, safe, and fun space for all to enjoy. He believes that people will fall in love with Quincy when they feel they belong. Inclusion is essential in all communities and he considers it an honor to be a champion in this area.
The Business Hall of Fame was started in 2006 to celebrate the rich history and accomplishments of the Quincy area business community. The D&I Excellence and Champion awards were established in 2019 to recognize and celebrate organizations and community leaders for their commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives. The event is open to the public, and is made possible by sponsors Adams Fiber, Blessing Health System, County Market, Dale Koontz – Builder, Inc., Gardner Denver, Hollister – Whitney, KHQA, Kohl Wholesale, Kunes Country Auto Group, Peoples Prosperity Bank, Schmiedeskamp Robertson Neu & Mitchell LLP, Titan International, and TI-TRUST, Inc. Cost is $25 per person/$200 for a table of eight and includes lunch. Reservations are required by Jan. 10 and can be made by clicking here.