Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Announces Award Recipients Ahead of 2024 Annual Award Dinner & Celebration of 2023 Success

Three Nominee Organizations Announced for Each of Five Categories       

The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry is proud to announce the recipients of several distinguished awards to be distributed at their 2024 Annual Dinner & Celebration of 2023 Success on February 27, 2024. Three nominee organizations for each of five categories were announced this morning. Categories include Retail, Financial Services, Social Services, Professional Services and Education.


Brother James Gaffney Award of Excellence

The Brother James Gaffney Award of Excellence will be presented to the Pritz family for their dedication to the community. The Pritz family consistently displays their willingness to work alongside the Joliet business community to ensure success for all while also sharing a tremendous spirit of giving throughout the year.

“The Pritz’ are one of several remarkable families in the Joliet region that own and operate an incredibly successful business. However, they stand out for their extensive dedication to the business community and social services sector. Their devotion to bettering the area in which they live, work, and raise their families is second to none,” remarked Chamber President Jen Howard.

The Brother James Gaffney Award of Excellence was established in 2016. Br. James Gaffney led Lewis University during a period of significant growth with enrollment increasing to nearly 7,000 students, while Lewis received regional and national recognition for its academic quality. Under his leadership, academic program offerings expanded and the campus was transformed through an investment of $250 million in projects. Br. James Gaffney was dedicated to education for over four decades and worked tirelessly to bring together the business community and those in education, believing in the necessary partnership.

Rabbi Hershman Community Service Award

The Rabbi Hershman Community Service Award will be bestowed upon Rodney Tonelli at the annual ceremony as well. Rodney Tonelli exemplifies the epitome of a community servant and is truly worthy of this honor. Tonelli enjoyed a long and prosperous career during which he contributed vastly to the Joliet region in both professional and social services. He has committed the most recent leg of his journey to ensuring that Joliet continues to be a wonderful place to work and live.

The Rabbi Hershman Community Service Award is a special decoration presented in memory and honor of a long-time Joliet community servant, Rabbi Morris Hershman. Rabbi Hershman was a leader in the religious, service, educational and business sectors of the community. Rabbi Hershman arrived in Joliet from Texas in 1943 to replace the former rabbi and spiritual leader of the Joliet Jewish Congregation. Although at first it was only a temporary appointment, he went on to serve as the congregation’s leader for the next 55 years. His commitment was not limited to people of the Jewish faith. Among other appointments, he was president of the Joliet Rotary Club, chairman of the local United Way and an honorary lifetime member of the Greater Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce.

Annual Awards

IKEA Customer Fulfillment will be celebrated as the Large Employer of the Year while Heritage Corridor Destinations will earn a similar distinction as Small Employer of the Year. Larson Steel Products, who opened operations in the fall of 2022, will be recognized as New Business of the Year.


In addition to the prestigious awards listed above, the Annual Awards Dinner & Celebration of Success will determine the recipients of awards in the categories of Retail, Financial Services, Social Services, Professional Services and Education. The nominees for each category are as follows:


Internode Greenery & Home

Popus Gourmet Popcorn

C & C Vision Gallery

Financial Services:

Busey Bank

Abri Credit Union

Elevate Private Wealth Management

Social Services:

Greater Joliet Area YMCA

Senior Services Center of Will County

Easter Seals Joliet Region, Inc.

Professional Services:

Wermer, Rogers, Doran and Ruzon, LLC

Emediate Cure Quick Care

VNA Health Care


Lewis University

Governors State University

Diocese of Joliet

Please join the members of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry to honor the 2024 recipients and celebrate the successes of 2023 on Tuesday, February 27 at the Renaissance Center from 5-8 p.m.

Contact the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry at (815) 727-5371 or online at to make reservations.


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