Indiana Chamber honors business champions at annual awards dinner, elects new Board Chair

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce held its 32nd Annual Awards Dinner, which honored the best in Hoosier business, government and community and featured a conversation about auto racing and entrepreneurship between legendary IndyCar owner Roger Penske and Gov. Eric Holcomb. The event followed the organization’s annual board meeting, where Indianapolis entrepreneur John Thompson was named the new chairman.

Thompson, who was the Indiana Chamber’s Dynamic Leader of the Year in 2019, made his way from the tough housing projects of Baltimore to find great success in Indianapolis as the chairman and CEO of four businesses – including Thompson Distribution and First Electric Supply – and as an investor in a variety of endeavors.

Thompson also seeks to make his larger community better. He helps attract businesses to the state by serving on the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. Additionally, he’s a member of the Business Equity for Indy initiative, which focuses on growing a more inclusive business climate.

Another passion for Thompson is devoting his time and talents as president of the Crossroads of America Council, Boy Scouts of America and recently chairing the Eskenazi Health Foundation Board, among many other volunteer efforts.

Thompson joined the Indiana Chamber’s board in 2014 and engages on various committees, as well as its Membership Ambassadors initiative. He will serve a one-year term as board chairman through November 2022.

“John embodies all of the qualities of a vibrant and forward-thinking entrepreneur, and he’s been highly engaged on public policy initiatives that impact the state’s prosperity and future,” remarks Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “We are well positioned as an organization and also excited to see where John’s leadership can take us in the next year.”

Presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, the Annual Awards Dinner honored “difference makers for the state” who took the stage at the Indiana Convention Center and were previously announced earlier this fall.

Citizens Energy Group CEO Jeffrey Harrison was named the Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year. During the pandemic, Citizens Energy implemented a policy of reconnecting/not turning off the vital water service for nonpayment – before any government moratorium was issued. In addition, Harrison is chair of the Business Equity for Indy initiative. Under Harrison’s guidance, Citizens Reservoir at Geist became operational this year as a major supplier of Indianapolis-area water in times of need.

The Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year is State Senator and Majority Floor Leader Mark Messmer, who spearheaded legislation to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19 during the pandemic. The Jasper native and business owner has been in the Statehouse since 2008 and has also led on critical issues like broadband expansion, school choice and certified technology parks.

Megan Glover, CEO and co-founder of Zionsville-based 120Water, is the Dynamic Leader of the Year. The Rensselaer native and DePauw University graduate leads the emerging company, which combines cloud-based software and digital water sampling kits to help execute water safety, compliance and wastewater monitoring programs.

The 2021 NextEra Energy Resources Community of the Year is Greater Lafayette, which has seen significant growth on numerous fronts. A wide-ranging public-private partnership has pulled together resources from across Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County to assure the area’s business sector and population are growing and the region has the infrastructure and amenities to accommodate and continue that growth.

“We’re excited to bring attention to these worthy honorees for their outstanding efforts in facing and overcoming the challenges of the past two years and improving the quality of life for so many Hoosiers,” Brinegar praises.

More information – including a press release, BizVoice® magazine story and award video – is available for each honoree at

Earlier today, the Indiana Chamber presented the 2021 Samuel C. Schlosser Volunteer of the Year award to three individuals who helped the organization better serve its members. They are Andrea Butcher, president of HRD Advisory Group in Carmel; Joshua Christie, a partner at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis; and Edward “Skipp” Kropp, an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Indianapolis.

The Annual Awards Dinner’s opening reception sponsor was PNC. The speaker sponsor was OneAmerica. Corporate sponsors were AT&T Indiana, CBRE, French Lick Resort, Indiana University, NIPSCO, Tilson and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors were AECOM Hunt; Community Health Network; Corteva Agriscience; Fineline Printing Group; Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick; Markey’s; MCM CPAs & Advisors; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Subaru of Indiana Automotive; Sweetwater Sound, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; and UPS.

The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.