MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce recognized three local business leaders, whose business and volunteering efforts made a positive impact in the Mahopac-Carmel area, at its Business Person of the Year awards dinner held Tuesday,Feb. 5, at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac.

“With people having to focus more time on their business or their career than in the past, it takes a special kind of person to work all day and then contribute to the community as well,” said Chamber CEO Michael Celestino. “The people who are being honored have selflessly given of themselves to make the Mahopac-Carmel community better.”

Business Person of the Year

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William Hammond, financial advisor of Edward Jones in Carmel, was named the recipient of the 2018 Business Person of the Year award.  Hammond has been serving the Carmel-Kent communities as a financial advisor for Edward Jones since 2009. He has been in the financial services industry for 43 years.

Hammond served as a Chamber board member from 2012-15 and for another year from 2016-17.  He also served on various committees including the Night at the Races Committee and participated in events such as the Carmel Spring Fair. His insight and experience are valued by the organization.

In addition to the Mahopac-Carmel Chamber, Hammond supports many other nonprofits. He serves as a volunteer board member for Putnam CAP, Arts-on-the-Lake and the Mental Health Association. He is a former board member for United Way of Westchester and Putnam and a former board member for Putnam Family and Community Services (now known as CoveCare). He recently joined the Carmel Rotary Club and was a former Patterson Rotary member. Currently, he is a board member for the Carmel-Kent Chamber of Commerce.

Hammond has lived in Putnam County for over 22 years with his wife Betty.

The Business Person of the Year is selected by a committee of past honorees who consider five criteria in determining who deserves the recognition. First, the person’s company must be in business for at least three years. Second, the person must be reputable and successful. Third, the person must be held in the highest regard by industry peers. Fourth, the person must have served on the board of directors of The Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce at some point. Finally, the person must have made a positive impact on the community by being a role model of involvement, sponsorship and activities in the Mahopac-Carmel community.

Business Person Meritorious

For his friendliness to new members and dedication to promoting The Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce, Al Conte was chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Business Person Meritorious Award.

Conti is a veteran who graduated from Archbishop Stepinac High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iona College.

After working for almost 22 years at All-State Legal as a salesperson, Conti became an Aflac agent in 2000. To take his business to the next level, he joined the Chamber in 2007. Excited about all the interesting business owners he was able to meet, he became even more active with the Chamber in 2008. He served on the membership committee as a chamber ambassador, welcoming new members. Al has also assisted with the Mahopac Street Festival and the Business Expo.

Going above and beyond, Conti promotes the Chamber all around town as he goes through his work day. He passes out flyers, hands out directories and spreads the words on all the chamber happenings to businesses in the area.

Conti and his wife Cathy live in Mahopac. They have an adult son, Alex.

Business Person Meritorious, which is also chosen by the Business Person of the Year committee, is a person whose business is reputable and successful. The person must have previously made a positive impact on the community by being a role model of involvement, sponsorship and activities in the Mahopac-Carmel community.

Emerging Professional

Saini Smith-Clarke of the Smith & Clarke Agency in Mahopac was named the recipient the 2018 Emerging Professional of the Year by The Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce.

Smith-Clarke opened the Smith & Clarke Agency with her husband, Fred Clarke, in December 2016. Soon after, she joined the Chamber and became an active member and booster partner.

Smith-Clarke first worked for Allstate when she 19 years old, at an agency in Yonkers. After 14 years with Allstate, she left to pursue other possible careers. Smith-Clarke worked as a paralegal and then as a corporate consultant in a corporate setting, but realized her passion was helping people and that by being an insurance advisor was a way she could do that. In partnership with husband, she opened their own Allstate Insurance office the Smith & Clarke Agency in Mahopac in December 2016.

Professionally, Smith-Clarke holds her New York and Connecticut, Property and Casualty, Life and Health, Series 6, and Series 63 licenses. She offers insurance reviews and protection for Home, Auto, Renters, Condos/Co-ops, Motorcycle, Life and Retirement and more.

Smith-Clarke is also very committed to the Mahopac community. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce as well as on several of its committees. Smith-Clarke is Secretary and a charter member of the Mahopac Lions Club and volunteers on the committee of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Smith-Clarke lives in Connecticut with her husband. They have two adult daughters and a 7-year-old son.

Decided on by the Chamber Board of Directors, the Emerging Professional Award is given to an individual, who has been a member of the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce for three years or less, who is an active volunteer in the Chamber and who has made a positive impact on the community.

The Business Person of the Year awards dinner were held Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Putnam County Golf Course.

Article provided by Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce