Young adults providing leadership in community

By Heather Rutz

April 19, 2014

LIMA — Young adults are making a difference in the community and the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce wanted to honor that. This year, the chamber added a new category, Young Leader Award, to its annual gala awards.

The finalists this year are Michael Ley, vice president of Ley Insurance Agency; Jessika Phillips, NOW Marketing Group’s president; and Kurt Neeper, vice president of business development at Superior Federal Credit Union. The award is sponsored by St. Rita’s Medical Center.

The award winner will be announced at the 12th annual Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala on May 7 at the University of Northwestern Ohio’s Event Center.

Michael Ley became a licensed insurance agent in 2004, and in 2009 added life and health insurance licenses. Ley is also licensed in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin, which helped round out the business’s services and clients. Ley is a Lima City School Board member. He is on the chamber’s board and previously served as Lima Young Professionals president and helped develop the “I Love Lima” campaign. Ley also sits on the UNOH College of Business Advisory Board and Mayor’s Cabinet. He is a past board member of PFLAG Lima and Humane Society of Allen County, including donating time as executive director there.

“Michael works hard to ensure his clients are well cared for, but just as importantly cares that the community is cared for as well,” Sign Pro Imaging President Michelle Sterling said, supporting his nomination. “He is able to balance work responsibilities and his time to improving the quality of life for others within the community. Because of this, he has made a lasting impression on me and many other individuals.”

Kurt Neeper has been with Superior Federal Credit Union since 2005 and became vice president of business development in 2012, managing operations including human resources, finance, administration and compliance. Neeper is chairman of Star Spangled Spectacular, treasurer and board member of United Way of Greater Lima, a board member of Lima Symphony Orchestra, a Lima Rotary Club member and is active with the chamber. Neeper is a candidate for the Ohio House 4th District seat and a former member of Lima City Council. He was a charter member of Lima Young Professionals.

Providing leadership at the United Way, Neeper reestablished the dormant Finance Committee for better financial oversight. The committee simplified statements for better board understanding and helped secure a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

Jessika Phillips founded NOW Marketing Group in 2010. The company provides Internet marketing services and is a HubSpot partner. The company provides flexible working schedules, office time and gym memberships to promote a positive work-life balance and healthy living. Phillips is involved with the chamber, Lima Young Professionals, Allen Lima Leadership and Lima Rotary Club. NOW Marketing Group has also donated services to TV-44’s Transforming Lives Campaign, Sugar 2 Salt mission trip and His Hands Working 4 U.

Phillips is also president of Fibromyalgia Awareness Care and Education. In 2008, Phillips was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and said she is passionate about finding a cure and helping others diagnosed with the chronic pain condition stay positive.

The other nominees this year for the award were Stephen Barga with NOW Marketing Group, Jacob Elrod with Prudential Financial, Tim Sielschott with Sielschott Financial Services and Marc Reinicke with Vino Bellissimo.