A Major League Baseball star and a Hollywood actor were among the keynote speakers in recent years, but Independence professionals received all the spotlight Saturday night.

A Major League Baseball star and a Hollywood actor were among the keynote speakers in recent years, but Independence professionals received all the spotlight Saturday night.

Four well-known business leaders – two men, two women – received the top honors at the Independence Chamber of Commerce’s 90th anniversary banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn. The evening’s theme, “New Potential of Independence,” centered around the key awards that chamber leaders have bestowed since at least 1991.

The following people were recognized:

Byron Constance, Lifetime Member. A designation that only a few people hold, lifetime members are those active or retired chamber members who have demonstrated loyalty, distinguished service and leadership within the chamber and the greater Independence business community.

“There is not one organization in Independence that Byron Constance has not touched or assisted in his lifetime of practicing law in our town,” said outgoing chamber board chairwoman Patty Schumacher. “For years, he has quietly worked behind the scenes to build our business base and to create thousands of jobs for Independence citizens.”

Constance, who also received the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award in 1999, served on the Breaking New Ground Campaign Leadership Team in 1993, helping to raise $2 million for the chamber’s Free Enterprise Center on the Square.

An Independence attorney, Constance served as developer for the city’s first tax increment financing district 18 years ago with the Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club retail area on 39th Street. Constance served on the Little Blue Expressway Coalition and is the developer for The Falls commercial area that includes Bass Pro Shops.

Terri Steele, Distinguished Board Member. For 14 years, Terri Steele, her husband, Greg, and their daughters have gone “vacationing” on the Square during Labor Day weekend, Schumacher said in reference to Steele’s volunteerism at Santa-Cali-Gon Days.

Terri Steele, co-owner of Evans and Steele Financial, will serve as chairwoman of the Santa-Cali-Gon Days fair board again this year and also is the official spokeswoman of the festival. Her family oversees the Community Stage and the market vendor tents each year.

Schumacher credited Steele and the 14-member fair board for making 2010 the most financially successful Santa-Cali-Gon Days in its 38-year history.

Brenda Cline, Distinguished Service Award. Though Cline’s contributions to the Independence chamber throughout the years are too many to count, according to Schumacher, Cline’s greatest accomplishment was completing 25 years as a member and serving as a past chairwoman of the Santa-Cali-Gon Days fair board. The Distinguished Service Award goes toward outstanding service and dedication to the community through leadership roles with the chamber.  

Galen Boyer, Distinguished Citizen Award. Galen Boyer of Galen Boyer Motors received the Distinguished Citizen Award, which an individual receives for outstanding service and dedication to the community.

“For decades, Galen has been the leader of the Noland Road Auto Dealers, heading up the efforts to continually keep the Noland Road Miracle Mile a vibrant part of our business community,” Schumacher said.

Boyer also was credited with helping to establish the Noland Road neighborhood improvement district, which made upgrades to street lighting and sidewalks.

In 2000, Boyer fully funded the chamber’s CHOICES program, which made contributions toward lowering the dropout rates in the Independence, Fort Osage and Grain Valley school districts. He also is a founder and current vice chairman of the Independence Legacy Foundation.