PERU Jody A. Parks has been named the 2008 Business Woman of the Year by the Champlain Valley Business and Professional Womens Club. Parks, who serves as executive vice president of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce, was surprised with the recognition during a ceremony at Crickets Restaurant Oct. 21. Club president Vicki L. Marking and first-vice president Betsy Morrow read from several letters of nomination for Parks, omitting her name when read allowed. The whole time, Parks was in attendance believing she was there in support of her colleague, Michele Powers, director of the Adirondack Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau, who was supposedly the one to be honored. Chamber of commerce president Garry F. Douglas wrote an extensive nomination for Parks, calling her a consummate professional who conducts herself at all times with professionalism and poise, which are crucial to excellence in business of any kind. She is an outstanding candidate for this recognition and serves as a perfect role model for current and future businesswomen in the North Country, Douglas wrote. He further credited Parks for leading the expansion of the chambers membership from 900 people to more than 3,250; developing a sought-after program of basic member services, and for taking on other projects for the good of the organization. Douglas also commended the honoree for spearheading many of the chambers most recognized annual events, such as the Business Expo, Great Adirondack International Car Show. Irishman of the Year Breakfast and the upcoming Taste of the North Country, not to mention the chambers monthly Business After Hours functions. In addition to Douglas, some of Parks other colleagues at the chamber of commerce joined together to write their own nomination letter, focusing on Parks ability to be the quintessential working mom to her 7-year-old son, Griffin. Shes so full of energy, sometimes you forget she is often in the office at 6 a.m. to put in a full day and still get home in time to meet her son, Griffin, at the bus stop, the letter reads. The evening was a chance for Parks son to be there for her with his father and Jodys husband, Jonathan Parks. The two were waiting in the adjacent room until Griffin presented his mother with the award, much to her surprise. I have to say I am completely shocked, said Parks. Right before I got here, Shelley called me and said, Where are you? All the chamber staff is here and I think something is going on.' I told her, I hate to tell you this, but its going to be you.' So, this was a complete surprise, added Parks, who thanked her husband and son. Somehow, we make it all work. During the evening, the award for 2008 Employer of the Year was presented to the Medical Offices at 96 Court St. in Plattsburgh. Drs. Pamela Reinhardt and David Anderson received the award on behalf of the staff the practices represent. We are privileged to work for Drs. Reinhardt, Anderson, [Tom] Kneifel, [Kevin] McCullum and [Howard] Black. We are all busy moms with young children and are fortunate to have flexible schedules, which enable us to switch our workdays with each other so that we may attend our childrens many functions, the nomination reads. The doctors are very supportive of this arrangement and go out of their way to talk to the kids and make them feel comfortable while they are there. The nomination further credited office manager Donna Cringle for being the backbone of the practices housed at the Court Street building, helping to create a wonderful working atmosphere. Anderson said the recognition is a tremendous honor, and entirely unexpected. He further said the way he and his colleagues are able to work with their staff regarding personal schedules is something that they do without a second thought. We do our best, we do work together and part of that comes from the fact we have children of our own, said Anderson. I have to say the common thread for us is Donna Cringle. Its such a pleasure when a patient says we have such a great staff that cares and takes care of their needs, said Reinhardt. Thats important to us. And Donna, we couldnt do it without her. The Champlain Valley Business and Professional Womens Club noted the Business Woman of the Year/Employer of the Year Banquet is held the third week in October in recognition of National Businesswomens Week. Since established in 1928, the week of recognition has been sponsored by Business and Professional Women/USA for the purpose of recognizing and honoring the achievements of working women throughout history.