Jeremy Harris, President/CEO of the Garden Grove CA Chamber is the recipient of the 2012 Hammer Memorial Award. Presenting the award is last year's recipient, Ermina Karim, President/CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber.
The Russell J. “Rusty” Hammer Memorial Scholarship Award has been established by the Western Association of Chamber Executives to annually recognize a chamber chief executive who best exemplifies excellence and professionalism and is deemed to have the potential to be a future chamber industry leader.
The award is given in recognition of Russell J. “Rusty” Hammer, who was named W.A.C.E. Executive of the Year in 2002 and served as Chairman of the Board of the association in 2003. Rusty, who served as CEO of the Sacramento Metro and Los Angeles Area Chambers of Commerce, sadly had his life and career cut short in 2008 after a several-year battle with leukemia.
Because of his interest in the Academy program and furthering the professionalism of chamber of commerce executives, W.A.C.E. has decided to link the Russell J. “Rusty” Hammer Award with the program by awarding the recipient a full-tuition 3rd year Academy scholarship.
This year’s recipient truly embodies what the award seeks to recognize. This individual is passionate about public policy; in his own words governmental affairs is “why he goes into the office every day”. His focus on effective advocacy at his Chamber has grown membership, reinforced relationships and engaged the local business community. This emphasis earned his Chamber recognition by CalChamber as a “Small Business Advocate of the Year”.
This year’s recipient has demonstrated the kind of creativity and persuasiveness needed to be successful as a Chamber CEO. When his Chamber lost a city contract that equated to approximately one-fourth of his annual budget, he was able to secure an agreement with a local hotel group to replenish the same amount. He has been able to manage the pace of change and build coalitions for his Chamber’s success. He has also brought social media skills that expand how his Chamber connects with the changing demographics of the business community and ensuring that his Chamber is relevant to future business leaders.
Chamber industry leaders that the selection committee spoke to called him “one of the bright stars in the industry,” “an Eagle scout.” It’s clear that he has earned the respect of his board and local community in his short time at the helm of his Chamber.
The selection committee was particularly impressed by this candidate’s energy and enthusiasm for the Chamber industry and clearly stated desire to continue to grow within the industry. We all look forward to how he will continue to evolve professionally and how he will assist the he industry to grow as well.
2012 Hammer Award Application Form