The award was presented by longtime friend Ann Tabor during the annual dinner meeting of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg.
The award recognizes and honors business men and women who strive toward the highest level of professional accomplishments, excel in their chosen profession, and have devoted significant time and energy to improve the community’s quality of life.
Also at Thursday’s banquet, Kevin Galbavi was named the 2017 Chamber Spirit of Community Award recipient and Chris Streng received the Dr. Elizabeth Curtis Young Professional Award.
Before Cindy Anderson retired from Grand Haven Area Public Schools as a speech therapist, her commitment to engage her students and her desire to see them succeed led to her receiving the district’s Excellence in Service Award in 1987. She also received AMBUCS National Therapist of the Year Award for a summer school program developed and taught to the special-needs kids she taught during the regular school year.
After retirement, Cindy has continually been involved in making a difference, not only locally, but touching untold numbers of individuals throughout the world. She served for many years on the Board of Christ Community Church and C3. With two good friends, she founded Camp Bluebird, and directed several fundraisers and served on its board of directors.
Cindy also served on the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s scholarship committee and has been a supporter of TCM and Women in Transition, and is currently chairperson of the board of Humanity for Prisoners. She was recognized as Counterpart’s Distinguished Woman of the Year in 2011 as co-founder of 100 Women Who Care.
Don Anderson graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in civil engineering, and began his career working for the Michigan Department of Transportation. He worked for several engineering firms and, in 1986, formed Anlaan Corp. with partner Garret Terlann. The name Anlaan was Cindy’s brainchild using both partners’ names.
Don has also served as president of the Michigan Road Builders Association, was inducted into Michigan Tech’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy and was inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame in 2017.
In addition to his professional commitment to excellence, Don brings that same commitment to serving his community. He served on the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Board of Directors for six years, one as president, and was a driving force in the development of The Little Red House.
The Andersons both have a passion to see others succeed and a driving force to do good for humanity. They have supported each other’s passion through their philanthropy and rolling up their sleeves and actively participating in fundraising. Both love to travel and have touched many individuals and made a difference in communities internationally.
While in Africa, Cindy visited a small Catholic school and, through listening and watching, she recognized the need for help. Back in the U.S., she and Don had desks built and shipped to the school. That was the beginning of many hands reach across continents to change children’s lives and create a brighter future.
Chamber Spirit of Community Award
The Spirit of Community Award was presented to Kevin Galbavi. The award, honoring the community spirit of the late Daryl DuBridge, was presented by Kelly Larson, 2014 recipient and 2016-17 Chamber board chairwoman.
The award acknowledges individuals who provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and who demonstrate leadership and initiative in the development of volunteer projects.
In 2002, when there was a possibility that Winterfest Inc. might dissolve, Galbavi stepped up and took over the organization’s reins. For the past 15 years, he has been its most passionate volunteer through his shear tenacity and creativity, and help from a number of committed supporters. Galbavi has reinvented and grown this four-day-long festival into the biggest thing to happen in the winter along the Lakeshore. His goal of “winter fun for everyone” is his gift and way of giving back to his community.
Each year, Galbavi tweaks the events and has found the formula to keep Winterfest fresh and new even in the face of never quite knowing what the weather might bring.
Galbavi grew up in Mason, and after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in astrophysics, he moved to Grand Haven in 1999. He joined the Jaycees and held nearly every office in that organization until it disbanded in 2013. During his tenure as a Jaycee, he received countless service awards and was often the chair for flag settings throughout the Tri-Cities on national holidays, as well as for the Fourth of July fireworks.
Throughout his career, Galbavi has honed his entrepreneurial skills as founder of Starboard App Dev and SkyClient.com, co-founder of Tappinn.com, and chief technology officer of eSafety. He is a member of Grand Haven Rotary, Save the Catwalk Committee and Spring Lake Yacht Club. He has served as a youth soccer coach, been an entertainment tent organizer for Salmon Fest, is a member of 100 Men Who Care and is a past recipient of a Star Volunteer from the local United Way.
Galbavi, his wife Cara and daughter Sophia reside in Grand Haven.
Dr. Elizabeth Curtis Young Professional Award
Brook Bisonet, recipient of the first Dr. Elizabeth Curtis Young Professional Award, presented Chris Streng with the 2017 award. The honor recognizes a young professional ages 21-40 who embodies the business, community and volunteer philosophy of the late Dr. Curtis, one who had an unwavering responsibility to community through the philosophy of always “paying it forward” though involvement with local organizations that elevate the overall quality of life in Northwest Ottawa County.
Giving back to his community and a strong sense of servant leadership is in Streng’s DNA, and has been since childhood. Examples set at home laid the groundwork and direction of not only his career in the Navy, but the importance on always being focused on giving back. Streng recognizes the need to be ever mindful of the challenges families face recognizing that early intervention is imperative in addressing the health and well-being of families and individuals in crisis, and he understands that there is a shared benefit to assisting when a need arises as well as a personal responsibility.
Streng is a graduate of Grand Haven High School. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2000 and served for 11 years, including a stint aboard the USS Reuben James as the legal officer, combat information officer and ordnance officer. He was deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of operation Iraqi Freedom and served onboard the Training Support Center Great Lakes as student management officer.
Streng returned to Grand Haven and began a new career with JSJ Corp., and currently works as production control manager at izzy+. He continues to serve his country as a member of Congressman Bill Huizenga’s U.S. Service Academy Selection Board. He is a board member and treasurer of VFW Post 2326, board member and treasurer of Folds of Honor-Michigan Chapter, a member of the Grand Haven Memorial Day Association, and serves as the adjutant for the Grand Haven Memorial Day Parade.
As a United Way volunteer since 2014, Streng has been a panel leader working to ensure agencies receiving funding are accurately providing the services needed by community members. He is a cabinet member of the local Salvation Army capital campaign, a member of Grand Haven Rotary and has been a youth soccer coach.
“On a local level, I find it easy to serve,” Streng said. “While I can never be sure of the impact I have had on others through serving, it has given me joy beyond measure. Coaching youth soccer, participating on non-profit boards, volunteering to work in schools, to place flags out on Beacon Boulevard, to raise awareness of social needs in our communities, to strengthen leaders through Leadership Connect, to just give blood are ways that I am enriched. My hope is that my enrichment and example will kindle an act of service in someone else through their service and our community will be enriched.”
Streng and his wife, Kristi, have seven children: Madelynn, Lauren, Ashley, Delaney, Julia, Ellianna and Michael. They reside in Grand Haven.