Fairfield individuals, busineses honored by entrepreneurs group
Six of Fairfield’s successful, community-minded people and enterprises were honored Thursday at the 10th annual awards night hosted by Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association.
Fairfield Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Troy and Amy Van Beek, president/renewable energy expert and eco architectural designer, respectively, at Ideal Energy.
Fairfield Volunteer of the Year award was given to John Loin, who has helped build nine Habitat for Humanity homes in Fairfield, helped start Habitat’s Pre-ReStore in town and has worked on weatherizing senior citizens’ and military veterans’ homes.
Fairfield historical figure Dr. James Fred Clarke, founder of Jefferson County Hospital, Fairfield Golf and Country Club and Fairfield Rotary, is the 2012 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductee.
Van Beek started Ideal Energy in Fairfield in 2009.
“I’m honored and surprised,” he said accepting the honor along with his wife, Amy.
“I accept this on behalf of our community and my team. Having served in the military and traveled the globe, it took a town like Fairfield for me to put down roots.
“Studying and graduating from Maharishi University of Management was incredible with inspirational leaders,” he said.
“Thanks to this community, I feel like I’m growing a family. This community does give back so much. I’m awed by the other awardees tonight. Werner Elmker’s piano playing was awesome.”
Van Beek said Ideal Energy is working to help as many businesses as possible to save money by using solar energy.
“It works,” he said. “Let us know if you’re interested.”
Amy (formerly Greenfield) said they were able to launch Ideal Energy because of the community.
“We started working on Fairfield’s ‘Go Green’ initiative and the goals were things we wanted but wondered how and who would accomplish those,” she said. “We decided to be a part of the answer.
“We’re very proud to have installed solar panels on local businesses, and especially the Sky Factory, it’s the first light industry in the country to go 101 percent solar,” she said.
City council member Connie Boyer introduced the Volunteer of the Year as a Rotarian and Habitat for Humanity worker.
“It reminds me how much one person can make a difference,” she said. “He has helped build nine houses here in Fairfield, is involved with ‘A Brush with Kindness,’ which paints homes for lower income residents, which helps the residents and the town, making it a better place to live, and he’s helped to install weatherization on homes.”
Loin, accepting the award, said when he began recognizing himself in Boyer’s introduction, his knees became weak.
“I’m happy to receive the award,” he said. “Because it shows what we can do when we put our hearts together.
“It’s a basic need — shelter — and Habitat for Humanity is responsible for more than 1 million families around the globe living in Habitat homes.
“This [award] is a tribute to all the people who have put blood, sweat and tears into Fairfield’s nine homes; probably more than 1,000 people have contributed time, effort and heart to those nine homes,” said Loin.
A portrait of Clarke is the fifth annual portrait Fairfield artist and Carnegie Museum historian James Shafer has created for Fairfield Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
Shafer gave a PowerPoint and discussed the process and ideas that went into creating the depiction and highlights of Clarke’s life.
Clarke, 1864-1942, is described by the award organizers as “one of Fairfield’s original Renaissance men.” He was born in an upstairs apartment on the northwest corner of the town square, now housing Century 21-Hayes- Heartland real estate office.
Shafer had photos of the young doctor Clarke and a 50-something U.S. Army Major Clarke, and merged the two, creating an older doctor Clarke. Incorporating the idea and reality of a photo-scrapbook, Schafer had Clarke browsing through a page which then allowed for several distinct images from Clarke’s life to be included in the portrait.
Clarke was inducted into the hall of fame for founding Jefferson County Hospital in 1912. He disobeyed military orders by having female nurses tend to soldiers in the Spanish-American War; up until then, other soldiers, only males, nursed the wounded. By World War I, female nurses were accepted and went to the front lines.
Clarke founded and was the first president of the Fairfield Rotary Club in 1920 and a golf-lover, created Fairfield Golf and Country Club.
He also is credited and connected with founding the Wit & Wisdom Club in 1906, “which is still going strong,” said Shafer. “If you want to join, you have to wait for a member to die.” And The Toad Stool Club, “because he liked mushrooms,” said Shafer, The Grouch Picnic, kite flying club and hosting gondola parties in the Louden pond.
He had the Francis Barry Byrne, a member of the Prairie School architects who trained under Frank Lloyd Wright, build a home on South Main Street in Fairfield.
Other award winners Thursday were: Fairfield First! award, Top of the Rock Grille; Entertainer of the Year, Werner Elmker; and winner of 2012 Business Plan competition, Alarik and Cynthia Arenander.
“Tonight is a great example of why Fairfield is Fairfield,” said emcee Ken Ross. “We have an amazing array of people and talent to chose from when the board sits down to select award winners. What makes Fairfield is diversity of businesses and talent. It’s a pleasure and honor to live in this town.”
Fairfield Volunteer Center, Fairfield Musicians Club, Carnegie Historical Museum and Fairfield First! also sponsored the awards banquet.