PIQUA — During the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce’s 73rd annual dinner on Thursday evening, a new Order of George recipient was named, and while the recipient of the award is kept a secret until the end of the night, who it was did not come as a surprise to attendees.
Before the presenter finished talking about the recipient’s attributes and his contributions to the community, a number of attendees were whispering, “Lynn Sever. It’s Lynn Sever.”
Lynn Sever of PSC Crane and Rigging was named this year’s Order of George recipient and was greeted by many family members entering the dining area of the Piqua Country Club once his name was announced, in addition to his adult sons, who were also seated with him.
“I am just overwhelmed. I can’t believe this,” Sever said.
Sever also received a letter from U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson congratulating Sever. Jim Oda, the new chairman of the chamber board, read the letter, saying, “You have a long-standing commitment to serving our community, and this recognition by your peers is a wonderful tribute to your commitment to serve others.”
“This is just wonderful that you think this much of me to do this,” Sever said. “I can’t thank you all enough.”
Tony Wendeln, the 1998 Order of George recipient, introduced Sever, who is a Piqua native and a graduate of Piqua Central High School. Sever attended Sinclair Community College and Miami University before joining the family business. Wendeln talked about how Sever moved up in the family business, from crew operator, to vice president, to the chief operating officer, to president and CEO, and to chairman of the board for PSC Crane and Rigging. Sever has also served as president of the Dayton Steel Riggers Association.
“Our honoree is a lifelong resident of Piqua, working, playing, raising a family, volunteering, organizing, initiating, and leading right here in Piqua,” Wendeln said.
Sever was described as exemplifying “the best in volunteer and community service,” as well as demonstrating “integrity, generosity, good humor, and dedication.” Wendeln added that Sever is “a person who is unpretentious and is often happy remaining anonymous for his contributions to Piqua.”
Sever has also had leadership roles in a number of community organizations and their boards, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army, the Rotary Club, United Way, the Piqua Community Foundation, and more. Wendeln added that Sever has been a quiet sponsor for groups and events.
Sever is married to his wife Nancy and has two sons, Randy and Jim.
The Sever family was not done being recognized on Thursday evening.
Jeff Hemm of the chamber recognized Jim Sever, CEO and president of PSC Crane and Rigging, as one of the 2018 Business Persons of the Year. Jim Sever was described as providing leadership that “has strengthened the business, which has grown beyond the capabilities first thought possible and is now recognized and highly respected within the company’s industry.”
Mike Sherry of Paul Sherry Chrysler Dodge Jeep, who was nominated by Randy Sever, was also named as a Business Person of the Year due to tying with Jim Sever for the honor. Hemm talked about how Sherry overcame challenges like the 2009 recession and a fire to keep the family business open.
“The employees, approximately 60 full-time, all kept their jobs and were never once laid off even as a new facility was constructed during a 14-month span,” Hemm said. “The family business is strong, vibrant, and it’s business as usual.”
Also during the chamber’s event, Stephanie Gunter, chairwoman of the chamber’s board in 2018, introduced Oda as the new chairman of the board for 2019.
“I am looking forward to the new challenges, programs, and directions of the chamber organization and its members,” Oda said.
Oda recognized George Atkinson, who is retiring from the board.
“George has served as head of the facilities committee, is a current member of the strategic planning committee, and a mentor to many of our newer members,” Oda said.
Oda also recognized Kathy Sherman, the new president of the chamber of commerce after Scott Miller last year, as well as her efforts on behalf of the chamber as she stepped back into this position. Sherman was previously the chamber’s president for three and a half years before leaving in November 2014.
“In 2019, Ms. Sherman is on track to bring a new importance and vitality to the chamber and its activities,” Oda said.
Oda went on to say that the chamber has new goals for its members, including promoting a new map of the community with advertisements from the chamber members along with addressing other needs in their 2019 strategic plan.
Sherman then awarded the Commercial Beautification awards, which are given to businesses for exterior restoration work or newly constructed structures. The award winners included Truenorth gas station, located at 600 South St.; the Randolph & McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex, located at 655 N. Main St.; ATM Investments, located at 143 N. Sunset Drive; Extreme Tattoo, located at 118 N. Main St.; Ryan and Stephanie Ratermann of Edward Jones Investments, located at 1818 W. High St.; the Upper Valley Career Center’s Veterinary Building; and Speedway on Covington Avenue.
Randy Sever, executive vice president of PSC Crane and Rigging, then recognized Heritage Event with the Chamber Achievement Award. Randy Sever said that Heritage Event has been “instrumental” in the chamber’s annual steak fry and auction since 2015.
Lorna Swisher of Mainstreet Piqua then awarded the first-ever Cheryl Stiefel-Francis Award for Non-Profit Excellence to the Miami County Foundation board. The Miami County Foundation was established in 1985 by Richard E. Hunt and has grown to assets over $13 million, Swisher said. The Miami County Foundation has also awarded over $7.2 million in grants since 1986.
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