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HomeNewsArchivesChamber of Commerce Honors Robert Merwin for Lifetime Achievement

Chamber of Commerce Honors Robert Merwin for Lifetime Achievement

May 25, 2008 — Robert Merwin, longtime Frederiksted businessman and community activist, was honored Saturday with a lifetime achievement award from the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce.
Millie Calvin was honored for the second time within a week for the achievements at her new business, Cultural Creations of the Virgin Islands. Altogether seven individuals and businesses were honored at the 2008 Business and Professional Excellence Awards Gala at Teddy's Party Center in Sion Farm.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Delegate Donna M. Christensen announced the winners and presented the awards. Christensen also gave the keynote address.
"The key is to manage growth in the private sector to benefit all," she said. "Not just here and now but for the future, too."
Merwin and his family have a long business history.
"This award is based on the people of St. Croix, who helped us be where we are today," Merwin said.
In 1956, Merwin joined the family business, Robert L. Merwin and Co., which grandfather started in 1892. Serving as president of the company since 1962, he has had a history of offering leadership to the business community. The business lines have included shipping, insurance, trucking and commercial equipment rental, hardware and building supplies, port services, commercial property management and development.
He has been an active contributing member of the chamber for more than 50 years, serving as president in 1966. As trustee of the Merwin Foundation, he has supported dozens of worthy causes such as schools, churches and philanthropic organizations.
Most recently the foundation has provided assistance to the Jobs Partnership Program, the St. Croix Landmarks Society and the St. Croix Foundation. Merwin is chairman of the board of trustees and acting director of the Landmarks Society and a commissioner of the Coastal Zone Management Commission. He is on the board of trustees of Our Town Frederiksted, which he founded in 1988.
Calvin was honored at the chamber gala as the 2008 New Business of the Year and Wednesday she received the Nascent Business of the Year award presented by the Small Business Development Center at a small business awards ceremony.
"I am so elated and blessed to have been recognized twice in one week," Calvin said.
Calvin, a madras fashion designer, opened Cultural Creations of the Virgin Islands in Frederiksted a little more than a year ago. It is a consignment center for local artisans to showcase and sell their creations. All of the items in the store are made in the territory and promote St. Croix's artistic and cultural heritage.
The Chamber's Small Business Award went to Broadband VI, with partner Mike Melusky accepting the award.
"This company was born out of frustration at not getting Internet service where I live," Melusky said. "Even though there are local, well-funded, established providers, we have persevered."
By capitalizing on the newest technology, wireless communications and customer service, Broadband VI has reached almost 4,000 customers. The compay recently acquired SurfVI from Ackley Communications on St. Thomas.
Turner St. Croix Maintenance got the Business of the Year Award. Turner provides maintenance to Hovensa 24 hours a day ,making a serious commitment to train and hire local employees. Of its 462 employees, 85 percent are local. Its employees are leaders in contributing time and talents in a number of community projects.
Professional Business Man of the Year was awarded to Frank Sluss, owner operator of Business World in Christiansted, the largest office equipment sales and service retail store in the Virgin Islands.
Sluss' success is based on hard work and a commitment to product supply and customer service, according to the printed program for Sunday's event.
Amy Land-de Wilde won the Professional Business Woman of the Year award. Land-de Wilde began a real estate career in 1986. She opened Land-de Wilde Realty and eventually bought the Colwell Banker franchise for St. Croix. Land-de Wilde promotes St. Croix as not just a place to visit but also a place to live. She actively supports the pediatric unit at Juan F. Luis Hospital, Country Day School, CASA and the Women's Coalition.
Non-Profit of the Year went to V. I. Community AIDS Resource and Education (VICARE). VICARE provides assistance to more than 5,000 residents every year. The goal of VICARE is to create an HIV-free society through prevention and education programs and to provide support services and promote wider acceptance of those infected.
"Awards like this give us an opportunity to have dialogues, discussions and educate the public about HIV/AIDS," said Bruce Smail, executive director of VICARE.
More than 250 people attended the gala, with entertainment provided by Liquid Sounds and Jack Petersen and the Jazz Quartet. Major sponsors were Hovensa, Banco Popular, Innovative and the Stanford Group.
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