The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce has announced the five young people who won the have been named as honorees for the Fab5 Awards. Each year, the Tompkins County community nominates several young adults from different parts of the business and academic worlds for the awards, which honor people between ages 21-40 for their community contributions. This year’s winners are Elaan Greenfield, Harmony Malone, Abby Peterson, Dominick Recckio and Austin Reid.
Entrepreneur of the Year - Elaan Greenfield, The Metal Smithery
What initially started as offering lessons on metal working from her home studio became the basis for The Metal Smithery, owned by Elaan Greenfield. She was operating this business out of her private studio but knew that she had to find space to expand. Greenfield found there were plenty of people who were interested in learning about metal working but wanted a space to offer workshops to people of all ages.
She was able to find a space in the South Hill Business Campus and worked with them to design a space ideal for her business. She has been honored by the award for Entrepreneur of the Year since and is humbled that her community members nominated her. While her business has developed quickly, she is glad to see her space is welcoming to people of all ages.
“Leading workshops with groups, like we had Second Wind Cottages and Hospicare,” she said. “Offering grief groups for teens and adults to come to the Metal Smithery. I instructed them on how to make stuff and they were able to make what they wanted. Also, working with teens and youth has been my favorite moment.”
Volunteer of of the Year: Harmony Malone
Since she was two years old, Harmony Malone has always wanted to dance. Though she never had the opportunity to take any classes, she learned from the great wisdom of YouTube. Now, she has become one of the leading soul-hop dancers in Ithaca. Since 14, she has been working with Dr. Nia Nunn, the president of the Southside Community Center Board of Directors, at Nunn’s multicultural liberal arts program, CUMEP (Community Unity Music Education Program). Malone is honored that her community members gave her this award and spoke about some of the highlights from a life of dancing.
“My most rewarding time was being able to travel to Africa on my own, outside of the country,” Malone said. “I was in college and I had written about doing therapeutic recreation work, I was a therapeutic recreation major, and I wanted to learn about dance in third world countries. I remember going to Africa by myself and only knowing my teacher. We danced for two weeks and I got to celebrate the beauty of movement. I also got to learn and teach while I was there.”
Malone said her greatest honor as a dancer is being the choreographer for Running to Places (R2P) and has worked under the instruction of Joey Steinhagen, R2P Founder and Artistic Director.
Business Leader of the Year: Abby Peterson -Tompkins Trust Company
After starting at Tompkins Trust Company almost four years ago, Abby Peterson has seen a lot of nominees and winners for the Fab5 Awards. She is now a proud member of that group after winning Business Leader of the Year. For a time after graduating from Ithaca College, Peterson moved back to her home state of Vermont but came back to Ithaca after missing it too much. She worked remotely for the company before becoming a marketing specialist with the company to Ithaca as a local marketing specialist in 2015. She is glad to see the community acknowledge the talented pool of young professionals in Ithaca.
“I’m very proud to be selected for this group from the standpoint of knowing what the selection process looks like and being familiar with some of the past winners,” Peterson said. “And knowing what great folks they are and how much they contribute to the community. I think Ithaca in general is of course a very special place to live for a lot of reasons, but these awards to me underscore and highlight the prevalence of young professional talent in the community.”
Not-For-Profit Leader of the Year: Dominick Recckio - Tompkins Connect
Dominick Recckio has always been interested in community development and getting small businesses to grow. He found work with the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce after he graduated from Ithaca College, which gave him an opportunity to help small businesses in the area expand their customer/client bases.
He has found this helps to uplift the community and numerous nonprofits as well. He is proud to receive this honor. Upon starting at the Chamber, he made numerous relationships with local nonprofits and business owners. Recckio is proud of receiving this award and is glad that he is being recognized along with the many other great nonprofit leaders in Tompkins County.
He enjoys Chamber events outside of work, like Business After Hours, seeing local business leaders take advantage of the opportunities this event awards them to develop relationships with their business in the community.
“We have a chance to see a lot of people who come in here with really big ideas or they dream of opening/starting business they’re really passionate about,” Recckio said. “We’re really lucky to be a part of some of those businesses’ stories and to get them the resources they need to make connections or to take a risk.”
Rookie of the Year: Austin Reid
Two years ago, Austin Reid came to Ithaca from Columbus, Ohio as part of a two-year fellowship at Ithaca College through the Jewish organization Hillel. This year, he was named as the Rookie of the Year and has been grateful for the spotlight this shines on the work Hillel at Ithaca College has been doing. Considering this is a small organization with only two full time and two part time staffers, Reid is grateful for some of the work they have been able to accomplish. Each year, the organization engages around 650 students every academic year and has created several academic programs that have improved student health on campus.
“During my first year here, one of our engagement interns, Unagh Frank, helped to start a program called Swipe Out Hunger here at Ithaca College,” Reid said. “Through Swipe Out Hunger, we have been able to build a food bank for students who are facing food insecurity on campus. This has allocated over 2,000 meals to students in need right here at Ithaca College. We know that nationally, one in four students is facing food insecurity in their undergraduate careers.”
Other highlights from his time at Hillel have been working on a speaker series called Global Faces of Judaism. During this series, people of the Jewish faith came from across the globe and from the Ithaca community to educate students about the Jewish faith practices. Reid is proud to have won this award and is grateful to the people who nominated him.