Elkhart County’s Business Legacy Hall of Fame & Gala

Since its inception, Elkhart County has been known for its entrepreneurs, innovation and business leadership. Building on this, Junior Achievement & Lemonade Day serving Elkhart County is excited to announce our annual Business Legacy (Hall of Fame) Gala.

Your Invitation

This is a black tie event and will have a featured speaker as well as a formal awards / recognition banquet. We wish to invite you and to engage your presence and participation by sponsoring a table for our event. There are many ways to help this community prosper, and this is a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our youth, all the while making difference in our home towns.

Thank you for your time, attention, and for your appearance. It would be a great honor to have you a part of this extraordinary evening.

2019 Elkhart County Business Legacy Gala

Join us in celebrating Elkhart County’s 4th annual Business Hall Of Fame induction

Special Guest: John Formica, the “Ex-Disney Guy”

August 24th
6:00PM – 9:00PM

Lerner Theatre
Crystal Ballroom
410 S Main St

Formal Cocktail Attire

John, the “Ex-Disney Guy”, is a highly sought after internationally known speaker, business consultant and author of the top selling book, “Making the Customer Experience Magical Now!-How to Succeed in Business and Beat Out Your Competition Today”.

Recently featured in the Virgin Atlantic In-flight Magazine while completing two successful speaking tours in Australia and named “Australia’s Best Customer Experience Coach” by the Melbourne Herald Star, appeared on the NBC Morning Show, FOX, Univision, numerous business journals and Radio, John has inspired audiences with over 3,000 keynotes and seminars throughout the U.S. and all across the globe.

Prior to speaking, John acquired over 25 plus years of experience in top management positions with service industry leaders including Walt Disney World Resort®, Hyatt and Hilton Hotels and Sunrise Senior Living.

During his 10 years at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, John was selected to manage their top luxury resort properties during Disney’s Resort Division expansion from 4 to 16 hotels and lead his teams to achieve the highest guest satisfaction ratings among all Disney World Resort Hotels.

Today, John is “America’s Customer Experience Coach” and leading authority on tourism, hospitality and service industries alike. He has successfully coached hundreds of small businesses and tourism communities to build customer loyalty for life, increase visitors, attract more customers and create “Whistle While You Work” Team Environments.


Presenting Event Sponsor


  • Option of serving as honorary chairman(s) of the event
  • Welcomes attendees through a speaking role at the event
  • Recognized as presenting sponsor on programs and website
  • Recognized during program on the video projection screens
  • Receive 8 tickets to the event with preferred seating
  • Invited to participate in any media events
  • A representative and guest welcomed at the VIP reception

Traveling Hall Of Fame Sponsor (1)


  • Recognized on all 11 banners traveling Elkhart County in 2018
  • Recognized on all videos on projector throughout program
  • Receive 8 tickets to the event
  • Recognized on our website as traveling Hall Of Fame sponsor
  • A representative and guest welcomed at the VIP reception

Award Nomination Sponsor (10)


  • Recognized as the award nomination sponsor on programs
  • Recognized during program on the video projection screens
  • Present chosen award to recipient
  • Receive 8 tickets to the event
  • Invited to participate in any media events
  • Welcomed at our VIP reception

VIP Cocktail Hospitality Lounge Sponsor (1 – OPEN)


  • Recognized as the official VIP reception sponsor during both the reception and the gala event
  • Recognized on programs and website
  • Recognized during program on the video projection screens
  • Receive 8 tickets to the event
  • A representative and guest welcomed at the VIP reception

Table Sponsor


  • Receive 8 tickets to the event

Individual Ticket



All sponsors $5,000 & above are invited to a special VIP hour with our guests at 5pm before the event from 5 pm to 6 pm

Award Name & Categories

The recognition of these individuals are meant to preserve the history of Elkhart while celebrating our current business leaders for their leadership in our community. The recipients will be inducted into our “Business Hall of Fame” which will be a plaque with their story that will be displayed in a public setting.

The Havilah Beardsley Recognition

This award is presented to a “young entrepreneur” that has shown innovation and leadership in regards to creating a new business. The criterion for this award is for any young professional that has started a business and is the age of 35 years old or under.

At the age of 35 Havilah Beardsley created the first mill in Elkhart and later purchased the land, which is now downtown Elkhart. He is the father of Elkhart and has proven that young entrepreneurs can make a significant impact and legacy.

The C.G Conn Recognition

This award celebrates a business or individual that has made a significant contribution to manufacturing.

Charles Gerard Conn was as an Army Captain and POW during the Civil War. He later the inventor of the rubber-rimmed mouthpiece in 1875 and then founded CG Conn band instrument company which helped put Elkhart on the map as the band instrument capital of the world.

Business Legacy Hall Of Fame Award Winners

2016 Award Winners

2016 Award Winners

2019 Award Winners

2019 Award Winners

2017 Award Winners

2017 Award Winners

2017 Award Winners

2018 Award Winners

Traveling Hall of Fame Exhibit

Each year, the 10 inductees to the Business Legacy Hall of Fame and their stories are displayed on a traveling exhibit that is developed and curated by Ruthmere. It travels to free public venues across the county. Since the first traveling hall of fame exhibit began in March of 2017, over 17,000 people have seen it and it has been displayed at 9 different venues to date.

Special Thanks to Ruthmere

Brought to you by our Presenting Sponsors



VIP Cocktail Hospitality Lounge Sponsor


Guest Speaker Sponsorship


Lifetime Achievement Award Sponsor

Woman Owned/ In Business Award Sponsor

Traveling Hall of Fame & Minority Owned/In Business Award Sponsor

Manufacturing Award Sponsor

Retail, Logistics and Distribution Award Sponsor

Young Entrepreneur Award Sponsor

Community Impact Award Sponsorship

Education Award Sponsor

Healthcare Award Sponsor

Technology Award Sponsor