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Locals acknowledged by Erie County Chamber of Commerce

Melissa Topey • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM



Erie County Chamber of Commerce honored its own at Thursday night's annual meeting held at Castaway Bay.

Chamber president John Moldovan was presented with the Senior Council Award.

Moldovan will be retiring at the end of the year after serving as the chamber's president for more than 24 years.

“It is flattering,” Moldovan said.

It was a shock to Moldovan when he was told the Chamber's Senior Council voted to present him the award.

“I just did my job,” Moldovan said.

Moldovan is proud of the work the chamber has done during his tenure.

The most successful event the chamber has organized in his career is by far the Taste of North Coast.

“We were quite surprised with how receptive the community has embraced it,” Moldovan said.

The Gallery of Achievers program, where locals are honored for a life of accomplishments, also will always have a special place in his heart.

But Moldovan is most proud of the fact that he will leave the chamber of solid financial footing.

“We are not rich but we are okay,” Moldovan said.

The chamber president plans on hunkering down for the winter months. Once the spring hits, maybe he'll try his hand at writing, he said.

It has become a tradition of honoring individuals and businesses in the community for special efforts in the city.

“It has become a tradition that pre-existed my arrival,” Moldovan has said.

* Lifetime Achievement Award — Roger M. Gundlach, P.E.

Gundlach is president of the oldest continuously run family-owned business in Sandusky with Gundlach Sheet Metal Works, Inc., which was founded in 1889 by his great grandfather Charles William Gundlach.

“I am honored. Our family has been in business her for 125 years,” Gundlach said. “The community has given to us and we try to give back when we can.”

And Gundlach has given back.

He is active in professional and community organizations, including past president of the Lake Erie Chapter of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers; past president of the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association and past president and director of the Ohio Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. He is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers; the Air Conditioning Contractors of America; the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers. Gundlach is a past chairman of the Sandusky YMCA board and past president and member of the Sandusky Lions Club. He is a past member and officer of Goodwill Industries of Sandusky, past member and president of the Sandusky State Theatre Board of Trustees and chaired the City of Sandusky Civil Service Commission. He has served for many years on the city of Sandusky Building Code Board of Appeals.

Gundlach chairs the Global Mission Board for the Northwestern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a member of the Sandusky YMCA Foundation and the Sandusky YMCA Board of Directors. He is a secretary of the Erie County Community Foundation and serves as a member of the Board of the Erie County Chamber of Commerce and the Erie County Economic Development Corporation. Gundlach is also a trustee and serves on the Executive Board of the Firelands Regional Medical Center.

“I have been fortunate to have been asked to serve on a few boards and fortunate that I could say yes,” Gundlach said.

* Marcellus F. Cowdery Educator of the Year— Michael Amstutz.

Amstutz has been teaching Spanish to high school students in Erie County for 30 years.

He established and pushed to certify a Spanish National Honor Society in Vermilion High School and Edison High School.

Amstutz helped Vermilion, Edison and St. Mary Central Catholic high schools form speech and debate teams that compete all across the state. In 2007, the Ohio High School Speech League named him to its Hall of Fame.

* Senior Council Award — Satanta “Tanny” Vonthron.

Vonthron died this year from cancer and is being given this award posthumously.

She was the much loved principal at Shawnee Elementary School in her hometown of Huron.

Vonthron was a special education teacher and earned a superintendent's license.

She used bright yellow happy faces to encourage her students to be brave and to reward them for random acts of kindness. Upon her death, residents of Huron placed yellow happy faces throughout the city.

* Entrepreneur of the Year — Kirk Miller.

Miller, a floral designer of 13 years, opened up a retail shop, Kirk Miller Floral Design, last year at 137 E. Water Street.

He has contributed to the vitality and resurgence of downtown Sandusky, Moldovan said.

Miller creates floral arrangements for events from baby and bridal showers, dinner parties and corporate events. He specializes in weddings.

* Business Person of the Year — Sarah Wysong-Miller.

Miller is the general manager of the Great Wolf Lodge, the first indoor waterpark and hotel to operate in Ohio.

Miller grew up in Newark, Ohio but has immersed herself in the area community, acting as an ambassador.

* Business of the Year— Cedar Point.

Sandusky is not only the home of Cedar Point, the “Best Amusement Park in the World”, but is headquarters to Cedar Fair, operator of 11 parks.

Cedar Fair has reported record revenue the last couple years, making unit holders happy.

The amusement park colossus continued cutting-edge improvements to its flagship park, bolstering tourism in not only Sandusky but Erie County and North Central Ohio.

More than three million people visited the park in 2013, generating more than $1 billion in local spending.

That spending helped support 8,000 jobs, and one in three salaried positions, in Erie County, Moldovan said. The company also purchases millions of dollars in goods and services from local companies.

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