Naperville Sun columnist to receive Lifetime Achievement Award
Tim West will be heralded as the 2012 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award during the fifteenth annual Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Awards. While the ceremony gives the Chamber a chance to recognize selected small businesses nominated in six categories, it’s become tradition also to pay tribute to someone’s commitment to the Naperville community with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
According to the Chamber’s news release, its Lifetime Achievement Award is typically presented to a business and civic leader for commitment to Naperville’s business community, excellence in business stewardship, contributions to the region’s quality of life, and leadership in support of economic progress.
“Tim West exceeds the mark in every category,” wrote John Schmitt, President and CEO of the Chamber, in the recent Current.
Longtime residents know that Tim has been working at the Naperville Sun since 1973. Some residents will tell you how he grew up when he met Kathy, the woman who became his wife. Many residents have followed his stories about Job, his cat. And they’ve followed Tim to Rolling Stone concerts, the ballet and back to his hometown in Ohio. Residents feel as though they know Tim West, so many don’t mind disagreeing with him when he takes a stand.
During his time at the Naperville Sun, Tim has been reporter, photographer, associate editor, managing editor and viewpoint editor—a post he fills today, noted Schmitt. Over the years, his work and dedication to journalism have been recognized with numerous statewide and professional awards. When he accepts this most recent award, folks in attendance likely will see a modest man with a subtle sense of humor recount some memorable moments from his career here.
What folks in attendance won’t learn is that this year’s choice for lifetime of achievement has been considered a friend of PN’s publisher since they first met at weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Naperville in 1996.
PN will always remember Tim’s reaction when he picked up the first September issue of the new monthly publication at a Rotary Club meeting one Thursday in 2001. “What’s this?” he asked PN’s publisher. And he added, “I guess we can’t be friends anymore.”
Yet he ate his words many times over lunch, mainly at Rotary meetings at Cress Creek Country Club, Outback Steakhouse and Key Wester. Tim provided sage advice in support of the complimentary community newspaper with an independent niche, including appreciated constructive criticism when too many photos of any particular person appeared in the same issue.
Over the years PN’s camera has captured volunteer Tim’s lending a hand in service during Rotary’s Oktoberfest and judging ribs at Exchange Club’s Ribfest or the Jaycees Last Fling.
PN also caught Tim reading a copy of the paper during the first anniversary celebration of the First Community Bank.
He’s also a self-proclaimed curmudgeon who many folks know has a big heart.
For nearly 40 years, his coverage, columns and opinions have offered insights and ideas as he’s shared his thoughts on public policy, growth and development as well as his disposition. He oftentimes has been spotted sitting in City Council Chambers during City Council meetings. His familiar face is recognized by business leaders and residents when he shows up at events.
And last summer, Tim’s likeness as an old-fashioned newspaper boy was painted on the Century Walk mural, “Naperville Loves a Parade,” along Rubins Way in downtown Naperville.
The Chamber will host its Small Business of the Year Awards at the Chicago Marriott Naperville on Friday, May 18. The event is open to Chamber members and non-members. To reserve a spot, call the Chamber at (630) 355-4141.
Congratulations, Tim West. You’re best known for your place in the Sun.
Editor’s Update: See the overview of the SBY Award event on May 18. Click any photo to enlarge. Use the arrow to advance through the gallery.