Chamber to recognize outstanding volunteers in unique fashion



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Outgoing Chairman of the Board for the Laredo Chamber of Commerce Parker Neel will officially hand over the reins of the organization to his successor, Cliffe Killam, in a unique virtual ceremony to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Traditionally held in a luncheon-type setting, this year’s “End-of-the-Year” program and awards ceremony is taking a new twist. A planning committee has been working diligently over the last month to make sure that a program that is entertaining, while maintaining the seriousness of the event, is delivered.

“The pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our daily lives,” Neel said. “But it’s not about to take away from the recognition so many of our members deserve for their dedication and hard work during the year.”



Annually, the outgoing chairman presides over a traditional luncheon ceremony and recognizes the many volunteers who assisted in carrying forth his program of work during the year. A State of the Chamber report complements the program. This year will be no different, at least in content, promises Chamber President Miguel Conchas, who has been collaborating with local marketing consultants and strong Chamber supporters A.B Barrera and Paco Barrientos of PMDG.


This year’s Chamber Awards ceremony, revolving around a theme of “Strength in Unity,” is sure to set a historical precedent. It celebrates the end of a fiscal year for the organization; yet, it also marks seven months of an austere economy, the result of the coronavirus outbreak.


As is traditional, the planned innovative program will also serve to introduce the incoming Chairman of the Board and the new slate of officers. Heading the FY 2020-2021 team will be Chairman of the Board Cliffe Killam, Managing Partner for Killam Development. Other members of the 2020-2021 Executive Committee are: Mike Marasco (McDonald’s Restaurants/DIDAK, Inc.), Chairman Elect; Gabriel Castillo (International Bank of Commerce), Treasurer; Greg Morgensen (Family Chevrolet/Nissan), Juan Arroyo (L&F Distributors), Gonzalo Prida (Multimodal Logistics, Inc.), Rosa Cruz (BBVA), and Adrian Luis Zapata (A to Z Management and Insurance), Council Chairs; Parker Neel (Neel Title Corp.), Past Chairman; and Miguel A. Conchas, President/CEO.


As in the traditional program, but in a lighter and more upbeat format, at the end of the ceremony the outgoing chairman will hand over the gavel to the incoming chairman, signifying the transfer of administration.

Following is the list of awards to be presented by outgoing Chairman Parker Neel:

  Jim Parish Media Award — Presented to A.B. Barrera and Paco Barrientos, PMDG, for their commitment to the Chamber cause as exemplified by their involvement pro bono in support of the Chamber COVID social media campaign

  Un Poquito Más Award — Presented to Gonzalo Prida of Multimodal Logistics, Inc, for his spirit of optimism and his commitment to the Chamber mission in taking the lead in launching the #LaredoStrong campaign

  Committee Chairperson of the Year Award — Presented to Catalina Dickerson, J.M. Dickerson Law Firm, PLLC, in recognition of the leadership demonstrated in the organization, planning and execution, under austere conditions, of the 2020 Game Changer

  Volunteer of the Year Award — Presented to Magali Rodriguez, La Quinta Suites Airport, for her commitment to the Chamber mission as exemplified by her active participation in the Business Development Committee and her willingness to provide resources when called upon

  “Spirit of Laredo” Award — Presented to Dionisio Gonzalez de Castilla, President of ALFA, for dedication to community service particularly in the face of the ongoing pandemic as the organization over which he presides selflessly united to bring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to members of the industry to avoid disruption to Laredo’s leading industry.

  Order of Los Dos Laredos Award — Presented to Jorge Viñals, Director of ICCE of Nuevo Laredo, in recognition of incessant work to bring together the leadership of the private sector of Nuevo Laredo with their counterparts on the U.S. side to ensure constant flow of communication during the stressful times of the pandemic

  Special Recognition in Honor of Max Mandel — Presented to The Honorable Pete Saenz, Mayor of the City of Laredo, in recognition of his work and unselfish dedication in an effort to protect Laredo’s welfare and safety in the unprecedented times brough about by the Coronavirus outbreak

Partnerships for production of the Strength in Unity Viral Awards Ceremony are available for $500 and $1,000. For information or individual tickets to the webcast, contact the Laredo Chamber of Commerce at (956) 722-9895 or email conchas@laredochamber.com.

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