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Chamber Honors Stars

Mount Vernon Chamber names four for the Potomac Star Business Award.

Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce honored four of its member organizations Tuesday with its "Potomac Star Business Award," and named a past president/chairman as its 2007 Chamber Corporate Citizen of the Year. It was all part of the organization's annual Business Expo & Awards event.

Held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Richmond Highway, this year's top individual honor went to Daniel F. Rinzel, a partner in the law firm of Redmon, Peyton & Brasewell. The award recognizes a Chamber member each year who "embodies the qualities of corporate citizenship."

An attorney with extensive litigation experience, Rinzel has served as a trial attorney, section chief and deputy assistant attorney general with the U.S. Justice Department prior to private practice. In that capacity he supervised and conducted grand jury investigations as well as trials and appeals nationwide involving both criminal and civil matters, according to the award presentation.

Rinzel also served for 10 years as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, U.S. Senate. There he supervised investigations into such diverse matters as health care fraud, domestic and offshore money laundering, international drug trafficking, organized crime, embassy security and child pornography.

Academically, Rinzel has served as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia School of Law at Catholic University, as a lecturer at Harvard Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, the FBI National Academy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School.

His many roles with the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce have included serving on the Board of Directors as president and chairman, and presently as that organization's general counsel. In the latter position he helped found the Mount Vernon-Lee Education Partnership, a non-profit organization that dispenses the Chamber's high school scholarships.

As an involved member of the Mount Vernon community, Rinzel serves as president of the Mount Vernon Civic Association and as one of three co-chairs of the Mount Vernon Council of Civic Associations. Due to the necessity of being in court on Tuesday, Rinzel was not present to accept the award which was presented to Chamber Board member Kristen King-Holland by Chamber President Walter Clarke.

RECIPIENTS OF THE CHAMBER'S 2007 "Star Business Awards" were:

* Fort Belvoir Federal Credit Union, which has branches on Fort Belvoir, in Woodbridge and in Mount Vernon Plaza, was recognized for its support of not only military service personnel and their families, but also "many non-profit organizations in both Prince William and Fairfax counties." Among those support services are meals for elderly and homeless individuals and teaching children financial skills through the establishment of two credit unions in elementary schools.

* Mount Vernon Estate, described in the presentation as "the crown jewel of the historic sites in Southeast Fairfax County." In making the award, Walter Clarke, Chamber Vice President said, "This past year has been a year of exceptional growth" at Mount Vernon with the opening of the new visitors' center and museums. "At Mount Vernon, we are reminded that Washington, in addition to being a war hero and statesman, was also an astute businessman," Clarke told the audience.

* Hilltop Golf Club was recognized for their growth as a business enterprise as well as their programs which benefit the community at large, such as the annual charity golf outing to benefit UCM and Good Shepherd Housing.

* The Mount Vernon Voice received accolades for being "committed to the community since its founding in 2002." Clarke said, "It co-founded the ‘Taste of River Farm’ event which has raised thousands of dollars for the Chamber's scholarship fund."

Prior to the awards ceremony there was a two-hour exposition featuring displays by 17 Chamber businesses and services which provided an opportunity for member networking, according to Chamber Executive Director Holly Hicks Dougherty. Sponsors of the event were City Finance Corporation, Ft. Belvoir Federal Credit Union, Provident Bank, and Weichert Realtors at Mount Vernon.