Are you a Community Leader?

The Henrico Community Leader of the Year Award honors an unsung Henrico County hero who has made a positive difference in the community and demonstrates unwavering support, dedication and enthusiasm for the betterment and growth of Henrico County.

The award goes to an elected or non-election public official or a county resident who:

  • Shows unwavering support for Henrico County and the business community through their involvement with Henrico County.
  • Demonstrates dedication to the betterment or growth of Henrico County.

Both members and non-members are eligible for the Henrico Community Leader of the Year Award.

A committee of the Henrico Business Council will:

  • Solicit, collect and review nomination applications.
  • Select finalists and gather more information about each nominee, if necessary, from the nominee or nominator.
  • Select one award recipient based on the award criteria and submitted nominee information.
  • Inform the finalists and recipient of the committee’s decision.

Dan SchmittPic

Dan Schmitt

The recipient of the 2017 Community Leader of the Year Award is Dan Schmitt, President and founder of RMC events.

In Dan’s business life he heads a company that provided event staffing support for more than 8,200 events with over 1,700 staff members in 2016. What earned Dan this award, though, is what Dan has provided to the Henrico community through the Glen Allen Youth Athletics Association, a 4,000+ member organization. Dan has lead the revitalization efforts on the association’s four ball fields, adding new lights, underground wiring, wireless/mobile lighting control, new batting cages, new bleachers, wind screens, 4 new wireless scoreboards, field surface improvements and the conversion of 100% of the public walkways from gravel to payment.

However, what earned Dan this award is what he has provided to the Henrico community through the Glen Allen Youth Athletics Association, a 4,000+ member organization offering programs for youth between the ages of 4 and 18. This organization primarily serves youth of Henrico County, but also represents western Hanover County, City of Richmond and western Chesterfield County, extending the impact of Dan’s efforts beyond his home county. Glen Allen Youth Athletics Association offers programs for youth in baseball, softball, and basketball in accordance with guidelines set forth by national and international youth sports organizations, and Dan has lead the revitalization efforts on the association’s four ball fields.
Dan was also a driver of a Community Work Initiative that resulted in more than 100+ jobs created by the association, serving the needs of umpiring, concessions management, and score clock operation. These jobs are filled by the same families participating in the association and keeping the dollars spent within the local community.

As Dan puts it himself “Other than my family, there’s just not much more I care more strongly about than my community, our County and the great folks within them, especially the young kids that I get to be around each day at Glen Allen Youth Athletics.”

charlie head shot

Charlie Wood

To many who know him, Charlie Wood, like past recipients of this award, is the definition of an unsung hero. From steadily rising in the ranks in the corporate world, to serving in the ranks of the military, to now helping local residents connect to employment, servant leadership comes naturally to Charlie.

Charlie founded and organizes a networking and personal & professional development group called Career Prospectors. Started in 2002, the group took on new meaning during and after the 2008 economic downturn. A true grassroots, all-volunteer effort, the group is loosely structured and there is no cost to attend its weekly meetings in Henrico County. Participants, many of whom are experienced professionals who find themselves changing careers or looking for a job, hear from guest speakers on topics that include resume writing, elevator pitch, personal branding, online job searching and support. Attendees can also participate in networking, lead-sharing, mock interviews and group discussion aimed at keeping job seekers accountable for their own successes.

This focus on empowerment and helping others is a cornerstone of the Career Prospectors model. As Charlie said in a news article about his work, “When one person helps another, they help themselves too. We want people to do stuff for each other.” Charlie brings to the table his own connections from over 30 years in the private sector and his current role as owner of Henrico-based Attributes for Success, which provides services to improve performance, productivity and job satisfaction of people as employees, individuals, and members of society.

Charlie’s work doesn’t stop there. In 2012 Career Prospectors partnered with the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association to host the bi-annual RVA Career Expo. Last year the job fair attracted more than 100 employers and 1000 candidates. In addition to in-person meetings and events, Career Prospectors actively uses social media to share information and connect people – there are over 4,000 members of the Linkedin group and 1,200 followers of the RVA Career Expo Twitter account.

Understanding the value of collaboration toward a common goal, Charlie works closely not only with the Richmond Hokies but also other local job training organizations like the Job Assistance Ministry of St. Michael Catholic Church in Glen Allen and Needles Eye Ministry. To date, Charlie and his team of volunteers have helped more than 1,000 people get new jobs, and thousands more gain connections, skills and confidence, ultimately empowering both employees and businesses. “Charlie’s good work is affirmed by the wellspring of nominations we received for him from a diverse cross-section of people he has helped, inspired and empowered over the years,” says Tom Falat, Chair of the Chamber’s Henrico Business Council. “One true testament to the success of the Career Prospectors model is that many of those who enter the group without a job and then secure employment take the time to come back and help others who are unemployed or looking for a career change. This kind of neighborly service benefits individuals, the community and local businesses. The Chamber’s Henrico Business Council is honored to recognize Charlie Wood.”

  • David A. Kaechele (2015)
  • Trisha R. Riggs (2014)
  • Melissa Ball (2013)
  • Lakshmi Challa (2012)
  • Mark Smith (2011)
  • Denise Kranich (2010)
  • Kathleen Burke Barrett (2009)
  • Peter & Sharon Francisco (2008)

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