• Chamber's Retiring CEO Feted at Annual Dinner

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    December 17, 2018
    Among occasional crowd choruses of “Nancy-jo, Nancy-jo,” Nancy-jo Manney, who is retiring at the end of the year after 20 years at the helm of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, was honored Thursday evening at Embassy Suites Springfield with a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors resolution, induction as an honorary member of Rotary International, and accorded the inaugural Nancy-jo Manney Chamber Advocate of the Year award.

    Manney’s Advocate of the Year award capped off awards to Jim Kirkpatrick, this year’s Herb Hunter Citizen of the Year, the highest honor bestowed by the Chamber; Honest Soul Yoga, the Corporate Citizen of the Year; and Elena Pouchelon, managing owner of Osteria Marzano, the Robert J. McDonough Businessperson of the Year. The event also marked the swearing in of Jessica Walters of Embassy Suites Springfield as the 2019 Chamber Board of Directors chair by 2018 Chair Kathleen McDermott of Alliance Law Group, LLC.

    In her acceptance speech, Walters tied Springfield’s past, including the historic Hunter Hotel where Embassy Suites Springfield now stands, to its future, including the arrival of the TSA headquarters and its 3,000 employees and the creation of the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, which is expected to attract 750,000 visitors a year. It was a fitting theme as the Chamber faces a changing of the guard with a new president and CEO, Kim Clarke, and the feting of longtime and relatively new Chamber members.

    Kirkpatrick represents the community’s strong history. After serving for 30 years in the U.S. Navy, Kirkpatrick spent the next 17 years serving as executive director of the American Astronautical Society before retiring last year. For the past 18 years, he has tirelessly immersed himself in the community, including serving on the Chamber board and its legislative committee. A partial list of his other activities includes chair of the Springfield District Council to Supervisor Pat Herrity; the Springfield representative to the Citizen Corps Council; former chair and board member of Fairfax County Crime Solvers; and past president and current member of CAC, Springfield Police District. He is also a member of the West Springfield Village Civic Association; past president and current sergeant-at-arms for the Rotary Club of West Springfield; former assistant governor and current Rotary Foundation advisor for Rotary District 7610; and past coordinator of the FACETS Meal Program and a volunteer at the Hypothermia Program at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

    Honest Soul Yoga and its owner, Air Force veteran Suzie Mills, and Pouchelon represent the future of Springfield. Mills founded Honest Soul Yoga in 2013. It recently expanded from its Kingstowne location to a second studio in West Springfield. A third studio in Falls Church is scheduled to open next week. From the beginning, Honest Soul Yoga has been a corporate citizen. Those activities include a clean-up day at Lake Accotink and the DC area's very first 24-hour yogathon, during which the company raised thousands of dollars for USO-Metro. Honest Soul also has expanded services to military families by providing yoga and fitness services on base at Fort Belvoir as well as hosting physical therapy sessions, free of charge, for units that request them.

    Osteria Marzano is Pouchelon's vision realized. Also founded in 2013, Pouchelon created a warm, modern environment that evokes Italy at its best with a centrally located, massive, granite bar and alabaster white 3form stone liquor display, natural walnut wood accent walls and golden whirlwind fabric ceiling panels. Pouchelon aggressively uses networking and marketing as the primary means of promoting the restaurant. She participates in events like farmers markets and the Taste of Greater Springfield, at which Osteria Marzano won first place in 2017. The restaurant is a constant presence on social media and Pouchelon has worked hard to earn positive reviews from diners on Open Table, Yelp and Google. The restaurant also gives back to the community through such activities as the Best Buddies prom, which helps people with autism to fit into society, and charity events with Wounded Warriors.

    The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, membership-based organization supporting businesses in the Greater Springfield, Virginia area. Founded in 1957, the Chamber formulates and advocates positions critical to business, keeps members apprised of current community issues and provides numerous networking and education opportunities. For more information about the Chamber visit springfieldchamber.org.
    Nancy-jo Manney, President | CEO
    (703) 866-3500

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