Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: abelmancommunications@gmail.com Phone: 440.725.8861...

Finalist field set
for March 2 CCA ceremony at Hard Rock Rocksino

CLEVELAND — Executive Caterers, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Lake Health, COSE, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History — with 17 nominations combined — head the list of finalists toward the ninth-annual Connectors Choice Awards.

Presented by Cleveland Business Connects magazine and parent company Contempo Communications, CCA annually honors the organizations, individuals, and events that comprise the corporate event-planning industry and business networking community in Greater Cleveland. The winners in 22 categories will be announced March 2 at the CCA ceremony, which for the first time will occur at the Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park.

Online public voting determined the finalists, typically five in each category. A record 13,702 ballots were cast from Oct. 6 through Dec. 6. A panel of judges will next select the winners upon reviewing submissions written by the finalists, who are being recognized exclusively for their accomplishments in 2015.

Executive Caterers, for the second consecutive year, leads the way with five nominations, including Offsite and Onsite Caterer of the Year. The company’s Landerhaven facility is up for Venue of the Year/Non-Hotel. Vice President of Business Development Melissa Marik (Business Networking Star) and Director of Sales and Event Operations Jeannie Vassanelli (Corporate Event Planner) are also finalists.

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is nominated three times. Special Events and Communications Coordinator Kevin Grissinger is vying for both Business Networking Rising Star of the Year and Corporate Event Planner Rising Star of the Year. The organization’s annual event, Market at the Food Bank, is up for Corporate Event of the Year/Fundraiser with less than a $50,000 planning budget.

Three Lake Health-affiliated events are finalists. The Lake Health Foundation presented two fundraisers — 2015! FORE Wellness Classic and Glitz 2015: Field of Dreams — that are represented in the categories of under-$50K and over-$50K planning budgets, respectively. Meanwhile, Lake Health, with its Relax and Renew function, is represented in the Corporate Event of the Year category.

The Council of Smaller Enterprises is nominated in three categories. Membership Advisor Paul Marnecheck (Business Networking Star) and Event Manager Adina Magda (Corporate Event Planner) are finalists, as is COSE’s annual Small Business Convention (Corporate Event).

The Museum of Natural History is recognized at the organizational, individual, and event levels. The museum is a Venue of the Year/Non-Hotel finalist, and Anne Thompson, its manager of facility rentals and events, is represented in the Corporate Event Planner of the Year category. One of Thompson’s events, Metamorphosis, is a finalist in the over-$50K Corporate Event/Fundraiser category.

All 22 categories and 106 finalists are listed below.

The March 2 CCA ceremony will occur from 5-9 p.m. Following a networking cocktail hour and the awards ceremony, dinner will be served to all attendees.

For additional CCA information, including ticket sales, visit www.cbcmagazine.com/cca2016. To purchase sponsorships for the event, contact CBC Publisher Renee DeLuca Dolan at (216) 831-9557 or renee@gocontempogo.com.

2015 BUSINESS NETWORKING RISING STAR OF THE YEAR:

  • John Fouser, Sales and Operations General Manager, Interstate Kitchen Supply
  • Chad Gourley, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach, Torva Local
  • Kevin Grissinger, Special Events and Communications Coordinator, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Cristina Lowenfeld, Catering/Sales Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown

2015 BUSINESS NETWORKING STAR OF THE YEAR:

  • Christine Benner, Wealth Management Advisor, Robert W. Baird and Co.
  • Jacob Holland, Creative Director, Event Source
  • Vincent Iannaggi, Director of Business Development, L’Nique Linens
  • Melissa Marik, Vice President of Business Development, Executive Caterers
  • Paul F. Marnecheck, Membership Advisor, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)
  • Nathan Wright, Salesperson, Mar-Lou Shoes

2015 BUSINESS NETWORKING ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR (YOUNG PROFESSIONALS):

  • Engage! Cleveland
  • New Partners of Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center
  • Playhouse Square Partners
  • Providence House PHriends Group
  • Young Leaders of United Way of Greater Cleveland

2015 BUSINESS NETWORKING ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR (WOMEN):

  • National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Cleveland
  • Professional Women’s Connection
  • WIN Cleveland
  • Women in Sports and Events (WISE) Cleveland
  • Women’s Leadership Initiative, YWCA Greater Cleveland

2015 BUSINESS NETWORKING ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR (ALL-ROUND):

  • Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • International Special Events Society (ISES) Cleveland
  • The Opportunity Network
  • The Rotary Club of Cleveland
  • Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce

2015 CORPORATE EVENT SPEAKER OF THE YEAR:

  • Maia Beatty, The Move Into Your Power Coach
  • Diane Helbig, Business Coach, Seize This Day Coaching
  • Pat Perry, President, ERC
  • Lisa Ryan, Chief Appreciation Strategist, Grategy
  • Andrea Vecchio, President, Andrea Vecchio

2015 CORPORATE EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR:

  • Jim Baron, Owner, Baron Photography
  • Linda Ford, Owner, Linda’s Lenses Photography
  • Vanessa Gliha, Owner, Orchard Photography
  • Dale McDonald, Owner, Dale McDonald Photographer
  • Steve Petti, Owner, New Image Media

2015 CORPORATE EVENT ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR:

  • Burning River Entertainment Group
  • Mike Petrone
  • Raise the Roof Entertainment
  • Rick Smith Jr.
  • Rock The House Entertainment

2015 CORPORATE EVENT PLANNER RISING STAR OF THE YEAR:

  • Amanda Green (Corporate Event Planner, Marigold Catering)
  • Kevin Grissinger, Special Events and Communications Coordinator, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Alyssa Henning-Perna, Head of Operations, North and South America, Smithers Information
  • Cristina Lowenfeld, Catering/Sales Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown
  • Rosemary Macey (Catering Sales Coordinator, Levy Restaurants at the Cleveland Convention Center)

2015 CORPORATE EVENT PLANNER OF THE YEAR:

  • Adina Magda, Event Manager, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)
  • Amber Muslusky, Event Planning Manager, Corporate College East
  • Matthew Swiger, Events Director/Sales Manager, Quail Hollow Country Club
  • Anne Thompson, Manager of Facility Rentals and Events, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Jeannie Vassanelli, Director of Sales and Event Operations, Executive Caterers

2015 CORPORATE EVENT OF THE YEAR (FUNDRAISER, WITH LESS THAN $50,000 PLANNING BUDGET):

  • 2015 FORE! Wellness Classic (Lake Health Foundation) June 26, Fowler’s Mill Golf Course/Legend Lake Golf Club
  • Cleveland Big Wheel Relay (New Partners of Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center) June 20, Shaker Square
  • Fall Ball, Rock the Red Carpet (United Way of Greater Cleveland Young Leaders) Oct. 17, House of Blues Cleveland
  • HRCC Business Expo (Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce), May 7, 700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center
  • Market at the Food Bank (Greater Cleveland Food Bank) May 3, Greater Cleveland Food Bank

2015 CORPORATE EVENT OF THE YEAR (FUNDRAISER, WITH GREATER THAN $50,000 PLANNING BUDGET):

  • American Heart and Stroke Ball (Cleveland American Heart Association) June 20, Metropolitan at The 9
  • Bag Lady Luncheon (College Now Greater Cleveland) Oct. 1, Cleveland Convention Center
  • Glitz 2015: Field of Dreams (Lake Health Foundation) Sept. 19, Classic Park
  • Jump Back Ball (Playhouse Square Partners) Feb. 28, State Theatre
  • Metamorphosis (Cleveland Museum of Natural History) Oct. 10, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

2015 CORPORATE EVENT OF THE YEAR (NON-FUNDRAISER):

  • COSE Small Business Convention (COSE Council of Smaller Enterprises), Oct. 21-22, Cleveland Public Hall
  • Healthy Women Succeed (National Association of Women Business Owners Cleveland/Red Key Network) Oct. 30, Parkside Church
  • Local Brews Local Grooves (House of Blues Cleveland) Feb. 28, House of Blues
  • Relax and Renew: Ladies Night Out (Lake Health), June 16, Mooreland Mansion
  • Woman of Power (Rising Media) Oct. 9, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland

2015 CORPORATE EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR (HOTEL):

  • Hilton Garden Inn Mayfield East/700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center
  • Metropolitan at The 9
  • Sawmill Creek
  • Westin Cleveland Downtown

2015 CORPORATE EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR (NON-HOTEL):

  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Corporate College
  • Landerhaven
  • Music Box Supper Club
  • Windows on the River

2015 OFFSITE CORPORATE EVENT CATERER OF THE YEAR:

  • A Taste of Excellence
  • Driftwood Catering
  • Executive Caterers
  • Marigold Catering
  • Zack Bruell Events

2015 ONSITE CORPORATE EVENT CATERER OF THE YEAR:

  • 700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center
  • A Taste of Excellence
  • Driftwood Catering
  • Executive Caterers
  • Marigold Catering

CORPORATE EVENT GIFT/AWARDS COMPANY OF THE YEAR

  • Baskets Galore
  • EmbroidMe North Olmsted
  • Gino’s Awards

2015 CORPORATE EVENT FLORAL DESIGN COMPANY OF THE YEAR:

  • Flowerville Florist
  • Neil Leeson Decor Floral
  • Plantscaping and Blooms
  • Something New Florist and Events
  • Urban Orchid

2015 CORPORATE EVENT SIGN AND BANNER COMPANY OF THE YEAR:

  • FASTSIGNS Downtown Cleveland
  • Hotcards
  • Jakprints
  • SpeedPro Imaging Cleveland West

2015 CORPORATE EVENT RENTAL COMPANY OF THE YEAR:

  • AAble Rents
  • Let’s Entertain Party Rental
  • Event Source
  • Everything Tented
  • L’Nique Linens

2015 CORPORATE EVENT PRODUCTION COMPANY OF THE YEAR:

  • Colortone Staging and Rentals
  • GhostLight Productions
  • Rock The House Entertainment
  • Solus Lighting
  • Vincent Lighting Systems

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