TACC honors local leaders


TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) celebrated local leaders, and up-and-coming members of the community at its annual Community Awards Night at the Arbogast Performing Arts Center (APAC) in Troy Wednesday night.

The secretly announced A. Robert Davies Memorial Outstanding Young Man and Shirley Culp Davies Memorial Outstanding Young Woman awards were presented to Troy Mercer, TACC chairman of the board of directors, and Ashley Brocious, RT Industries CEO.

Last year’s recipient Chris Behm and Melissa Nichols, the 2016 Young Woman recipient, honored the pair who were selected for the two annual awards.

“This year’s Dr. A. Robert Davies Outstanding Young Man of the year award is also a life-long Trojan who has contributed greatly the community, not only in scale but in scope, being involved in many different aspects of community, ” Behm said of Mercer. “… Upon graduation, he attended Urbana University majoring in business administration. He has several posted leadership positions including trustee of the First Presbyterian Church and Chairman of the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce. He is involved in many programs for Troy’s youth, including Troy Junior Baseball, Troy Kid’s Triathlon, Cookson’s PTO and maintenance Mercer Group Field. He is responsible for the beautification of our city installing and maintaining flowers in the public square … He also oversees Operation Cloverleaf, a volunteer group. He is currently the vice president of the Mercer Group and is husband to Mallory and father to Trenton, Thompson and Tessa …”

“I want to thank my parents, and my wife Mallory,” an emotional Mercer said. “… My mom has always been my biggest supporter; I’m fortunate to be able to work with my dad. And to the guys who voted for this, thank you.”

When introducing Brocious as the the Shirley Culp Davies Memorial Outstanding Young Woman award winner, Nichols said she is “truly the definition of outstanding.” Nichols went on to explain that Brocious had been raised by her single father in the Miami East community, and “grew up learning the importance of hard work, passion and dedication needed to achieve goals in life.”

Brocious played soccer for four years of high school and was a integral member of Miami East FFA chapter; she then went on the graduate from Urbana University majoring in psychology. She is currently the president elect of Troy Kiwanis, a board member of the Upper Valley Career Center and the Ohio Provider Resources Association, and a volunteer helping wih the Clark County Special Olympics Bocce program. She is married to her husband Don, for the last 13 years, and mother to her 3-year-old daughter.

Brocious, started with RT Industries in 2016, and since that time, as CEO, Nichols said, she has led the organization through the mandated privatization process with the transition from being a county operated program to a standalone, nonprofit organization. She also “helped steer RT Industries away from a sheltered workplace and modeled their new adult day program, which focuses on community activities and also on community employment.” … as well as helped to get a house bill passed to increase wages for direct support professionals to provide direct care for those with developmental disabilities.

“Thank you,” Brocious said. “I want to say thank you to my dad for raising a very stubborn, bullheaded female that is very strong-willed. And to my husband, I want to say thank you again for always believing in me and following me in everything that I do and pushing me to do that. So, thank you, again.”

Retired Broadcast Journalist Steve Baker was honored Wednesday night with 2023 Distinguished Citizen Award. Kathi Roetter, executive director of the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce, who presented Baker with the award, provided a summary of Baker’s 50-year career, which began working in radio on WPTW in Piqua for his father in 1970; and later, in 1980, he joined WHIO-TV covering the northern Miami Valley, highlighting Miami County and the city of Troy. Roetter also went through Baker’s lengthy list of affiliations, acknowledgements, and awards he achieved within the Miami Valley community throughout his career, including being inducted into the Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame 2011.

Roetter said the board choose Baker for his work not only as the as a long time supporter for Troy and the Miami Valley as well as the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Troy Program. According to TACC, Baker is a 1984 Leadership Troy Program alumni, from the first class.

During his speech, Baker said, “Thank you very much for this award, I really appreciate it. Leadership Troy is a special program in my heart. …When I began in my began in the broadcast career, working for my father, he said that he would give me six months, and if that didn’t work out, I was out the door. And I know that he would have put me out the door, but needless to say, I continued in that job and added much more than just the time for the story…We have police radios in our house, and poor Marty (Baker, his wife) would listen to them and it would wake her up in the middle of the night and I would roll out to a story. My parents set an example, and it that was to give back to your community. For me, volunteering was important in my career, but nothing that I did was done alone. On behalf of Marty and our family and those who contributed to make it possible to help and to work at the WPTW, hopefully made Miami County a better place. So, I want to thank you and everybody in this room. It’s been a great career. In closing, I want to challenge all of you to always be good news and always give back to the community as much as you can.”

The 2023 Outstanding Educator award went to Concord Elementary School teacher Justine Bledsoe, who has been the school’s art teacher since 2012. According to Troy City Schools, in addition to her teaching duties, Bledsoe also organizes the annual Concord Art Show, which features the work from all 670 students.

“Thank you for this award. It is such an honor. I’m sure I have taught many of your children in this room. I love my job, I think I have one of the best jobs in the world. This means a lot. Thank you,” Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe received a $1,500 grant from Troy Foundation; $1000 will go directly to her classroom, and $500 will go to the Concord Elementary School for all students’ benefit.

The Community Service award was presented to Sharon Buse, of First Place Food Pantry for her work as “a humble servant leader,” which has been not only with the food pantry, but also the First United Methodist Church, “at many levels,” the Miami East Education Foundation, as a member of Altrusa, and serving on the steering committee for Miami County Health and Improvement Plan, said presenter Bonny Frey, TACC Board of Directors chairwoman elect. According to the chamber, Buse is celebrated for her dedication and time devoted to the food pantry over the years in the Troy community as with many organizations and Troy’s neighboring school district.

She received a $1,000 grant from the Troy Foundation; $700 of it will go toward First Place Food Pantry and $300 toward Miami East Education Foundation.

When giving her speech, Buse said the recognition was a shock and went on to say these type of services helped her own family, as a child due to a sickness. She noted that helping others out is what a community is about: “being part of the solution for the entire community.” She thanked her husband and also the Chamber for the recognition, and noted that her service to the community is “truly a joy.”

The following is a list of the 2023 Leadership Troy graduates: Mona Anderson, of Turstone Financial; Patty Anderson, of Abby Credit Union, Alisha Barton, of Miami County OSU Extension; Wes Driskell, of Level MB; Glenna Fulks, of Kite Meeting Management; Ellie Guy, of Superior Plus Propane/Earhart Propane; Tina Jones, of First Financial Bank; Brent Maiberger, of Medical Service Company; Chris Manning, of Overfield Tavern Museum; Kyle Musser, of Meijer Distribution; John O’Brien, of Flagel Huber Flagel; Ryan Ormberg, of Troy Police Department; Sarah Pacher, of Troy City Schools- Forest Elementary; Derick Railling, of Hobart Brothers; Danielle Romine, of Troy City Schools; Emily Snyder, of Troy Recreation Association; Kenzie Spicer, of General Films Inc.; Amy Spriggs, of Marketing Essentials; Melissa Stanley, of Partners in Hope; Mark Wendling, of the city of Troy ; and Kelsey Roberts, of The Troy Foundation.

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