Benzel to receive award

President of local business honored for achievements

The president of a longtime local business and supporter of the arts has been selected as the 17th recipient of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Excellence.

Ann Benzel, president of Benzel’s Bretzel Bakery Inc., a fourth-generation family business, will be honored at the Business Excellence Dinner on June 11 at The Casino at Lakemont Park.

The award recognizes a Blair County business person who enjoyed an outstanding business career and who made a positive impact on the community.

Benzel has a diverse history of community service. Well-known for work on the restoration of the historic Mishler Theatre, she has served as chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on the Arts, the Penn­sylvania Human­ities Council, the Altoona Area Public Library board and Altoona Regional Health System’s Foundation for Life.

In 2002 she was named by Gov. Mark Schweiker as one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business.

Benzel is excited to receive the chamber award.

“This is a big one, and it feels very good. I am real honored to be listed among Blair County’s greatest leaders. It is nice to be recognized for doing something I love. I would rather work in the background, but this is a wonderful honor,” Benzel said.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes business leaders who not only make an impact on the business community, ideally through chamber involvement, but who have a similar impact on the overall Blair County community, said Chamber President/CEO Joe Hurd.

“Ann Benzel emphatically hits all the targets and has done so for many years. Through Ann’s leadership, Benzel’s Bretzel Bakery has been an outstanding employer with a reputation for quality that reaches well beyond the county limits,” Hurd said.

Previous lifetime award recipients include:

2002: Ernie Wissinger

2003: G. William Ward

2004: Stephen Sheetz

2005: Donald Devorris

2006: Willard Campbell

2007: John Wolf

2008: Lee Hite

2009: Donald Detwiler

2010: Michael McLanahan

2011: Barry Smith

2012: Fred Imler

2013: Ben Stapelfeld

2014: William Thompson Jr.

2015: Timothy Sissler

2016: Marty Marasco

2017: Harry Sickler