Catalyst Awards

Every year, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC honors the visionary, dynamic leaders and organizations creating change in the Harrisburg region at the annual Catalyst Awards. These awards are presented to those making a difference in our communities, creating more opportunities for businesses and building a brighter future for our region. Award recipients are judged by a panel of local business and community representatives, and recipients are chosen by their impact and facilitation of change of our area.

Learn more about the Awards & Committee

Award Categories


Athena Award Nominees must:

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession

  • Provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

  • Assist women in reaching their full leadership potential.

Past Athena Award Recipients
2019 – Claudia Williams
2018 – Kristal Turner-Childs
2017 – Janice Black
2016 – Christine Sears
2015 – Jewel Cooper
2014 – Jeannine Peterson
2013 – Karen Snider
2012 – Kim Phipps
2011 – Sue Yenchko
2010 – Ann Moffitt


A Business Diversity Champion is someone who works in their community or organization to promote the cause of diversity and inclusion. This individual(s) has shown exemplary leadership in ensuring that all individuals are included, represented and served. They have supported or pioneered existing projects or programs involving diversity or inclusion.

Eligible nominees may be an individual or a company. The individual may be a CEO, VP, Manager, Supervisor, Employee, Community Liaison, Diversity Council Member, Mentor, Tutor, etc. The company may be of any size or industry. Business Diversity Champions may be found at every level and within any size of an organization and how they champion business diversity may vary considerably.

Past Business Diversity Champion of the Year Award Recipients

2019 – Todd Snovel
2018 – Hamilton Health Center
2017 – Dr. Craig Hillemeier
2016 – Homeland Center
2015 – Patricia Husic
2014 – Maria Thiaw
2013 – Highmark Blue Shield
2012 – Barbara Terry
2011 – Deborah Vereen
2010 – Bonnie Pyett

Catalyst AWARD

The most prestigious award given by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC is the Catalyst Award.

The criteria for the award is:
An individual or group of individuals whose leadership, business or governmental activities and community service have best exemplified the organization’s goal of being a Catalyst for our region in making it a better place to live, work and play.

In short, it is special recognition for someone who has made a difference over the past year, or perhaps over a lifetime of service to the region.

Past Catalyst Award Recipients
2019 – Dr. Eric Darr, Harrisburg University of Science & Technology
2018 – TheBurg

2017 – The Joshua Group
2016 – Harristown Development Corporation
2015 – Capital Region Water Board of Directors
2014 – Stuart Malina
2013 – Harrisburg Young Professionals
2012 – Russell Ford
2011 – Jeannine Peterson
2010 – Kendall Hanna

Corporate Citizen of the Year AWARD

The Corporate Citizen award is given to a company who has demonstrated strong values in corporate social responsibility in our region. This corporation (1) has enacted self-regulation (and/or codes of business conduct) to ensure attaining and maintaining compliance with all its legal obligations and generally accepted ethical norms and (2) goes beyond compliance to play an active role in meeting the general welfare needs of the community(ies) in which it operates. General welfare may include social, cultural, health, recreational, educational, environmental and/or economic advancement. Further, the business should have and demonstrate an affirmative policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.

Nominees will be evaluated on the following criteria:

I. Commitment to Advancement of Society

II. Legal/Ethical Compliance

III. Community Outreach

IV. Social Involvement in Community

V. Measured Results 

Past Corporate Citizen of the Year Award Recipients
2019 – UGI Utilities, Inc.
2018 – Capital BlueCross
2017 – McNees
2015 – Highmark Blue Shield
2014 – Susquehanna Bank
2013 – PinnacleHealth System

Emerging Business Leader of the Year AWARD

Newly added in 2018, this award recognizes an Emerging Business Leader in our community. 

An Emerging Business Leader is considered to be any individual under the age of 40 who has shown significant qualities of leadership and made an extraordinary impact through leadership and service in the community. This individual demonstrates excellence in their career that goes beyond the scope of everyday employment. Through commitment to their profession and community, the individual serves as an inspiration to others, in an effort to advance their field or workplace and the quality of life within the region.

Past Emerging Business Leader of the Year Award Recipients
2019 – Blake Lynch
2018 – Michael Wilson

Government Leader of the Year AWARD

An individual or group of individuals whose leadership in governmental activities, public administration or legislative leadership best exemplified the organization’s goal of good government, to good public policy, leadership on an issue of interest to the membership of the Chamber & CREDC or the region in general toward making our region a better place to live, work and play. In short, it is special recognition for someone who has made a difference over the past year, or perhaps even over a lifetime of service to the region.

Nominees will be evaluated on the following criteria:

I. Bold Leadership in Problem Solving

II. Noteworthy Attention to Details of Problems or Issues

III. Public Policy (Has this person or organization made a difference in the last year?)

IV. Demonstration of Vision Toward Long Term Solutions vs. Short Term Fixes

V. Impact of Actions on the Regional Business Community

Past Government Leader of the Year Award Recipients
2019 – Representative Sheryl Delozier
2018 – Bob Reilly, Former Deputy Chief of Staff for former Congressman Todd Platts and Congressman Scott Perry

2017 – Fred Reddig, PA Department of Community & Economic Development (Retired)
2016 – Mike Folmer, Senator, Pennsylvania General Assembly
2015 – Eugene DePasquale, Auditor General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
2014 – Patricia Vance, Senator, Pennsylvania General Assembly
2013 – Capital Region Council of Governments
2012 – Glen Grell, Representative, Pennsylvania General Assembly
2011 – Jeff Haste, Commissioner, Dauphin County
2010 – Ron Buxton, Representative, Pennsylvania General Assembly

Small Business of the Year AWARD

Businesses must be locally owned and operated, total employment may not exceed 100, and revenue cannot exceed $20 million.  Companies represented by the Awards Committee are not eligible to receive the award.

Determined by business stability or effective approach to adversity; history of growth by percentage;  innovative products or programs – such as exporting or involvement in economic development.

Demonstrating commitment to workplace innovation including:  continuing education/ training/re-training; flexible job arrangements or non-traditional employment; unique and interactive management style; flexible benefits, child care, or business/education  programs.

Involvement in volunteer activities by officers/owners and employees; participation in chambers of commerce and other business or professional activities, recycling, running for elected office and support of human services, art organizations, etc.

Explain how the company’s attainment of its established goals has taken it to its current level of success.

Past Small Business of the Year Award Recipients
2019 – Triscari Video|Web|Marketing
2018 – Mountz Jewelers
2017 – Classic Drycleaners & Laundromats
2016 – Premiere #1 Limousine Service
2015 – PPO&S
2014 – Boyer & Ritter, LLC
2013 – LeTort Trust
2012 – Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz (BSSF)
2011 – Gunn Mowery, LLC
2010 – Enginuity, LLC

Volunteer of the Year AWARD

The Volunteer of the Year award is awarded by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC to an individual who has demonstrated above and beyond dedication to improving the Harrisburg region by serving the Chamber & CREDC in different ways. These individuals donate their time and energy to improvethe region by serving on board, participating in committees and acting as a Champion for the Chamber and other organizations in our area. 

Past Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients
2019 – Sylvia Hepler
2018 – Lynda Morris
2017 – Devon DiBiase
2016 – Brenna Kernan
2015 – Sheilah Borne

Judging and Winner Selection Process

  • A committee of community leaders and dedicated Chamber representatives convene every year to solicit and review all applications for all the Catalyst Awards categories. The Harrisburg Regional Chamber staff does not participate in the selection of winners except in the selection of the Volunteer of the Year Award.
  • In any category where more than one company or individual is selected as a finalist, committee members will schedule site visits or interviews before making a final decision.
  • All winners will be selected and informed before October 1, 2020.