The 5-Star Accredited Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce held the annual CHAIRMAN’S GALA virtually on Friday, January 29, 2021. This year’s theme for the Cyber Gala was The Power of Us! In 2020 we discovered the power of us and the impact we can all make by coming together!  Our chamber could not do what we do without the impressive number of volunteers who contributed to our mission by helping us advocate for excellence in Fort Bend County and beyond.

Hosted by Immediate Past Chair, Jonathan Pursch, Senior Vice President with Frost Bank, the night unfolded with a VIP Lounge followed by recognitions, presentations and introductions. Our guests viewed watch parties that took place while enjoying an energetic program, including a sea shanty and a fun montage of previous galas.

Our program included a very special award presented by John Gonzales, Director of Congressional and Public Affairs, with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.  Panning to a surprise live announcement, Congressman Pete Olson was taken aback when realizing this message was directed to him. This well-deserved, Special Spirit of Enterprise Award, was to recognize his 12 years of service as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 22nd congressional district. City of Sugar Land Mayor, Joe Zimmerman, also presented a Community Spirit to Congressman Olson to thank him for all that he’s done for our community. Followed by these acknowledgments, a personalized sea shanty was sung by a few of Olson’s friends, Keith Borgfeldt, Tim Stubenrouch, and David Admunson.

Jonathan Pursch presented the Community Spirit Award to Noreen Foley Covey, an inspiring individual who rises to every occasion with a heart of gold. Noreen is a Chamber Partner dedicated to welcoming all new members to the Fort Bend Chamber, as well as a champion for anyone in need of assistance. Through her organizations, Sienna Shared Blessings and Sienna Shuttle, she provides generous support to many individuals in our community.

The Chairman’s Award was presented to Kevin Riles, our Incoming Chairman, for his above and beyond dedication in 2020. After coming on board with a blast, Kevin agreed to serve as our Business & Professional Division Chair and committed to a monthly session. Fast forward to March 2020, we were presenting weekly Zoom sessions throughout the year with Kevin moderating each one. He is a graduate of the Fort Bend Leadership Forum Class of 2019 and a real estate mogul, professor, podcaster and author.

The awards continued with Pursch acknowledging the leadership and service of immediate past chairman, Rehan Alimohammad (Partner – Wong Fleming); retiring Board Members, Tiffany Halfon (AVP Member Engagement/Foundation – Smart Financial Credit Union); Kristina Shackleford (Associate Publisher – South Houston – Community Impact Newspaper); (Kristina was also the External Committee Chairman); Sally Shen (Associate Chief Nursing Officer – Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital); and Priti Singh (CEO – Associated Testing Laboratories, Inc.); and retiring Division Chair, Nick Deacon (Lifestyle Director – Riverstone Community).

Incoming Chairman, Janice Suchyta (Partner – McGuireWoods LLP) introduced the 2021 Executive Officers; Chair Elect, Kevin Riles (President – Kevin Riles Commercial); Immediate Past Chair, Jonathan Pursch (Senior Vice President – Frost Bank); Treasurer, Keith Borgfeldt (President – Spartan Wealth Management LLC); Legal Counsel, Dustin Fessler (Attorney – RMWBH Law); and President & CEO, Keri Schmidt along with the 2021 Board of Directors, Three Committee, Division Chairs and Chamber Team.

Sponsors for the 2021 Chairman’s Gala included:

Champion Sponsors: Consolidated Communications, Fluor Corporation, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Kinetic by Windstream, PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, Sterling McCall Automotive Group and University of Houston.

Advocate Sponsors: Amerant Bank, Associated Testing Laboratories, Inc., Audi Sugar Land – A Sewell Company, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, ChampionX, H-E-B, Johnson Development Corp., Kevin Riles Commercial, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land & Southwest Hospitals, MPACT Strategic Consulting, LLC, Oil Products Distribution, Rich Products Corporation, RMWBH Law, Safari Texas Ranch, Signarama of Sugar Land, Stuart Consulting Group, Inc., Sugar Lakes Family Practice, TDECU and The Phoenix Design Group.

Save the date for next year’s “Motown” Gala at Safari Texas Ranch! This event will be held Friday, January 28, 2022 beginning at 6:00 PM. For more information contact Juliette Nessmith at 281.566.2161 or juliette@fortbendcc.org.

About the Fort Bend Chamber

The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce is the only 5-star accredited chamber in greater Houston region. As the advocate for excellence in Fort Bend County and beyond, membership provides both immediate and long-term benefits for your business and helps build momentum for our community’s future.