Print Edition

  Email News Updates

Tompkins Chamber announces award honorees ahead of upcoming annual meeting

By Traci DeLore (


ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins Chamber, along with its Convention and Visitors Bureau, has announced the honorees for the upcoming annual celebration and award ceremony.

The Chamber will recognize the honorees at the annual meeting set for March 29 at the Statler Hotel at Cornell University.

Award recipients

Kevin Sullivan of ITH Hospitality is the Entrepreneur of the Year award winner. He has steadily grown an “expansive presence” in Ithaca, managing eight brands across six locations, per the description in the Chamber email. They include Luna Inspired Street Food, Catering by Luna, Ithaca Ghost Kitchen, Beacon Events & Catering, Jack’s Collegetown Grill, Pronto Craft Pizza & Artful Salads, Revelry, and Purity Ice Cream.

ITH Hospitality uses a central prep and commissary space, along with a team of employees cross-trained to staff multiple locations, providing economies of scale that allow ITH to offer a living wage and benefits.

Image credit: Tompkins Chamber email

The Chamber will also honor Ithaca Community Childcare Center (IC3), a community childcare provider since 1976, in the Not-for-Profit of the Year Award. IC3 recently completed an expansion of its facility and programs, allowing the organization to serve more families.

Gimme! Coffee will be recognized as the Distinguished Business of the Year.

Per the Chamber’s description, “In a story of true resiliency, Gimme Coffee employees turned the most dire of circumstances into a success story. During the pandemic, employees were told that they had a choice: purchase the business or it would close permanently. They worked diligently to assume ownership of the business and create an employee co-op model, which was finalized in 2022.” The business has since re-opened all five locations, the Chamber said.

The Chamber is also recognizing Gary Ferguson with the Howard Cogan Tourism Award for his 24 years of service to the community as the executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

Under his leadership, the organization led numerous efforts to strengthen and revitalize downtown, expand economic impact through tourism, and drive projects like the Commons rebuild and the Ithaca Downtown Conference Center. He has served as an ex-officio member of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the strategic tourism planning board. He has also served on the boards of Cayuga Health System and the State Theatre of Ithaca.

The Noel Desch Key Person of the Year Award goes to Greg Hartz, who is retiring this spring after 40 years in community banking, 21 of those years with Tompkins Financial.  

The Ithaca native and Cornell graduate has served the community on numerous nonprofit boards and undertaken many leadership roles through the years. He currently serves on the Cayuga Health System board as a member of the executive committee and is a past board chair of Ithaca Area Economic Development and executive committee member.

Hartz served on the Cornell University Council as well as the Dyson Advisory Council and Cornell Community Relations Committee as well as the Racker Rivals Big Red event committee. He previously served as board chair for the Legacy Foundation, past campaign chair and past board chair of the United Way, past board chair of Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, and past board chair of Challenge Workforce Solutions.

For more information or to register for the annual meeting, visit

The Tompkins Chamber serves its more than 700 active members by promoting business in the region and forging links between and among business and government, community organizations, residents, and institutions.