Chamber to announce BPOY awardee Saturday

Posted on Jan 18 2019


Eight business leaders have been nominated for the Saipan Chamber of Commerce “2018 Business Person of the Year” Award. The Chamber will be celebrating their accomplishments on Saturday evening in the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom at the Chamber’s Silver Lining Gala.

The nominees are Gloria Cavanagh of Pacific Islands Club Saipan; John Hirsh of the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter; Nola Hix of Xerox Corp; Glen Hunter of The Shack; James Lee of Marpac, Inc.; Velma Palacios of IT&E; Ron Smith of Angil Design; and Janice Tenorio of IT&E.

Each nominee for Business Person of the Year must be a member of the Chamber and must reside on Saipan. Qualifying criteria includes active personal participation in the Chamber’s committees, events, programs, and meetings; active community involvement and contributions; and being widely recognized for his/her area of expertise.

These nominees have many professional, community, and personal achievements to celebrate:

Cavanagh is the general manager of Pacific Island Club Saipan, where in 2018 PIC Saipan successfully re-opened less than two months after receiving heavy damages from Super Typhoon Yutu. An advocate for our industries, Cavanagh is the chairman of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, a board member of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance, and vice chairperson of the Marianas Visitors Authority. In the Chamber, Cavanagh is an active member and supporter.

Hirsh has led multiple Red Cross typhoon disaster relief operations over the last 17 years in the region including responses for Mangkut and Yutu. Hirsh is also responsible for the Guam Red Cross disaster program, treasurer of the CARE CNMI, chairman of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, president of the local swimming federation, and executive board member of the Northern Marianas Sports Association. In the Chamber, Hirsh currently serves as the co-chair of the Armed Forces Committee.

Hix is a marketing representative for Xerox Corp.on Saipan, a position which she has held since 2012. She also serves as the sponsorship chair of the Commonwealth Cancer Association’s Marianas March Against Cancer Committee, a board member of the ARC-NMI Chapter, co-founder of Marianas Young Professionals (MYPros), a member of HANMI, a member of MVA, a member of the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and she was recently elected as chairwoman for the CNMI Democratic Party. In the Chamber, Hix has previously served on the board as the secretary and director, and she now is an active member and supporter.

Hunter is the owner of The Shack Saipan and the newly opened Airstream Café. Hunter has helped launch many community organizations such as Rising Tide, Comprehensive Outreach Recovery Effort, Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts, Friends of Marpi, and as a small business owner he contributes to the Saipan Young Professional, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, American Red Cross, Marianas Young Professionals, Northern Marianas Trade Institute, and other local groups. In the Chamber, Hunter is an active member and supporter.

Lee is the sales manager of the Beverage & Tobacco Division of Marianas Pacific Distributors Inc., supplying beverages for our stores, events, and nonprofit organizations. Lee is also the founder of the nonprofit Hoopaholics670, a personal trainer at Latte Built, and in 2018 he represented the CNMI in the Micronesian Games in Yap. In the Chamber, Lee is an active member and supporter.

Palacios is the director of Network Operations & Engineering for IT&E, where she is responsible for all wireline and wireless operations in the CNMI. A community advocate, she serves as the board chairperson of the Kagman Community Health Center (KCHC), the secretary/treasurer of the Northern Marianas Trades Institute, a board member of the State Workforce Development Board, and a member of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance. In the Chamber, Palacios has served on the board of directors since 2012 and as president since 2016.

Smith created Angil Design, Inc. in 2001 and with the generous help and support of the island community, the company has evolved into a full-service IT provider. Smith is also a founder of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance as well as Atdao Systems, which promotes and facilitates the adoption of independent solar energy systems in the CNMI. An active Chamber member since 2000, Smith heads the Environmental Committee and the Government Relations Committee and has served two terms on the board of directors, one as an officer.

Tenorio is the Customer Service and Government Relations manager for CNMI at IT&E, where she promotes both customer service and community involvement within IT&E. She is involved in numerous community causes: She was recently appointed as the chair of the Board of Education; vice chairwoman of BOE Capital Improvement Committee; member of the BOE Instructional Supplies and Administration Committee; member of the BOE Students, Parents, and Community Committee; and vice chair of the BOE Legislative Committee. In the Chamber, Tenorio is an active member and supporter.

The winner of the Business Person of the Year will remain secret until the official announcement at the gala on Jan. 19, 2019. The 2018 Business Person of the Year will be selected by previous winners of the award and the Board of Directors. To order tickets for our Business Person of the Year Gala, please email Mercilynn at, call 234-7150, or visit the third floor of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe for more information. (PR)

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