Lawrence had every reason to celebrate — and thanks are due the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce for providing the occasion with its annual meeting.
Four individuals and two businesses were honored last week at the chamber’s yearly dinner and they give the community an opportunity to reflect not just about the people honored but also about their predecessors who have made Lawrence the remarkable place it is today.
Dwayne Peaslee, Kevin Loos, Mary Loveland and Ann Gardner were recognized for their varied contributions to our community, and Berry Plastics and Grandstand Sportswear & Glassware were singled out among the community’s businesses.
Many in the area are familiar with the names of the individuals honored — if not personally acquainted with them.
Peaslee, who has a long history with the Kansas Plumbers & Pipefitters Union and has been inducted into the United States Apprenticeship Association Hall of Fame, is as well known in area business and economic development circles as in his union endeavors. He has been a strong supporter of numerous organizations and activities that serve to make Lawrence and Douglas County better places to live.
Loos, who’s a manager at ICL Performance Products (formerly FMC and Astaris), received the Wally Galluzzi “volunteer of the year” award, named for the fondly recalled former president of what then was Haskell Indian Junior College. Loos was recognized for the many ways in which he, like the consummate volunteer Galluzzi, gives his time to chamber and other community organizations.
Loveland was saluted for her 20-year tenure on the Lawrence School Board, receiving the Buford M. Watson Jr. public service award, named for the longtime Lawrence city manager and given to an individual whose work in the public sector serves as a role model for others. During her years on the board, Loveland helped hire four district superintendents.
Gardner, the award-winning editorial page editor of the Journal-World, was given the Athena award that honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment. She not only helps shape public dialog through her editorial writing, but has been chair of the Chamber of Commerce board, chair of Leadership Lawrence, chair of the United Way of Douglas County, board president of Friends of the Lied and serves on boards of other local and state organizations.
These award recipients illustrate well the attributes of individuals who help make any community better: They get involved, they put in the effort, they make a difference. Their leadership is an example and inspiration to others. Congratulations to each of them, and thanks to the chamber for shining the spotlight on them and their efforts.
Two businesses also were honored at the meeting: Berry in the large business category, and Grandstand, in the category for small entities. One attribute they share is that they are investing in the community and expanding, with the potential to create new jobs and opportunities.
Berry Plastics and its predecessor Packer Plastics operated by Jim Schwartzburg, has been part of Lawrence for 43 years. It’s planning to move into a 600,000-square-foot warehouse along the Farmers Turnpike to consolidate warehousing operations.
Grandstand, headed by Chris Piper, another familiar Lawrence name, recently moved into the former Sauer Danfoss building in East Hills Business Park, and expects to add 40 jobs over the next five years.
These businesses, like the individuals honored, exemplify the solid foundations Lawrence and Douglas County need. Again, congratulations to them and thanks to the chamber for this recognition.