Saranac Lake chamber honors business, citizen of year 2023

At its annual dinner and celebration on Thursday, the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce named Franny Preston Citizen of the Year and the Hotel Saranac Business of the Year.

The Citizen of the Year Award is given to a Saranac Lake citizen who has improved the community. The chamber says Preston has contributed time, energy, and experience to various community groups and events.

She has served on the Lake Placid Sinfonietta board, the Saranac Lake Free Library board, the Village Mercantile board, St. Lukes Church, and the Rotary Club, where she was president for one year and MC for five years.

A chamber member who expands, innovates, and succeeds receives the Business of the Year Award. Since 1927, Hotel Saranac has been an iconic element of Saranac Lake and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. The chamber reported widespread celebration after its 2018 renovation and reopening.

Preston is a nice community member who regularly helps others.

“It is an important part of Saranac Lake history, vital to the downtown economy and supports the community in many ways including the farmers market, Winter Carnival, ArtWalks, Downtown Music Series, open mic nights, Turkey Trot, rugby and more,” according to a chamber press release.

Hotel Saranac general manager Jacob Kipping and Roedel Companies CFO Fred Roedel collected the prize.

The new Employee Excellence Award honors a member business employee who demonstrates leadership, customer service, commitment, and innovation. Bionique Testing Laboratories production supervisor Heidi Godin won this year.

She contributed greatly to Bionique over 23 years. A chamber press release states, “She has been instrumental in motivating and inspiring her team to achieve outstanding results while upholding the company values of providing best-in-class services.”

She can clearly convey strategy, create realistic targets, and support the team. She is a terrific leader, customer supporter, loyal, and initiative.

Hotel Saranac hosted the chamber’s annual celebration. With almost 130 guests, the Great Hall’s ambiance and red carpet festivities created a joyous vibe.

“Our annual dinner is our chance to celebrate the success of the chamber over the past year, look towards the future, and thank our members and the business community,” said Rachel Karp, executive director of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

North Country Chamber of Commerce CEO Garry Douglas stressed community and chamber connections. Chris Knight, Saranac Lake Chamber vice president, introduced the new officials, including Skyward Companies president Jacob Wright.

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