Lochard wins Zenith Award


Accepts recognition on behalf of his family

Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., with his family after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8, night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.

Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., with his family after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8, night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.


Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., talks after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.


Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

Mike Lochard, right, owner of Lochard Inc., receives the Zenith Award from Sidney Body CARSTAR Owner Tom Martin, of Sidney, on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.


Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

BOTKINS — A teary-eyed and emotional Mike Lochard accepted the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s highest recognition — the Zenith Award — Tuesday night during the annual membership dinner at The Palazzo.

“I’ve been fooled,” said Lochard as he arrived on stage. “I thought I had it all figured out.”

Lochard, a third-generation owner of Lochard Inc., said his family has dedicated their lives to making Sidney a better place to live.

“My grandfather and my father truly loved this community,” he said. “They have passed that love onto me. I am truly honored to receive this.”

Lochard was joined on stage by his wife, three children and their spouses, grandchildren and other family members. He told the audience he was proud that all three of his children have remained in Sidney and all help at the family business.

“My whole family came back to Sidney to live,” he said.

After the ceremony, Lochard said he didn’t know he was the recipient of the award until the end of the presentation by Tom Martin, Sidney CARSTAR owner.

“When he kept talking about a small business owner (was when I knew),” said Lochard. “Until that point I was convinced it wasn’t me.”

Lochard said his grandfather and father would be “proud as peaches and happy for me.”

“I’m very honored to be carrying on our family tradition,” he said.

Lochard said he is happy to be able to give back to the Sidney community.

“They (community) have supported my business,” he said. “I’m lucky to have a caring an d loving family who understand my desire to see Sidney be a better place.”

And his family, said Lochard, have also gotten involved in his efforts to make Sidney a better place to live.

Martin led up to the Zenith Award announcement by talking about the importance of small businesses to a community.

”According to the Statistics of US Businesses, there are more than 982,000 small businesses in Ohio. This accounts for 99.6 percent of all Ohio businesses. Small business employees account for 44.6% of all Ohio employees. Based on this data, I feel confident in saying that small businesses are the backbone of Ohio employment,” said Martin.

“Small businesses are often family owned and typically have owners that not only do business in the community but also live there as well. This is significant because it’s not only important to them that their businesses do well. It is also important to have a happy and fulfilling life for their family. These business owners often have children that attend local schools and participate in extra curriculars. They coach and sponsor youth athletics. They have a vested interest in local government and care about the community infrastructure. They help provide internships, training programs and jobs for the community members,” Martin continued.

“Shelby County is no exception to this. I can attest to this as I have been in a similar situation since I purchased Sidney Body Shop 20 years ago. The more I have put into this community the more my business has thrived,” he said.

“Despite the large number of small businesses across the state, it certainly does not mean running a successful business is easy. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year. By the end of the fifth year only 50% survive. After 10 years, only about 1/3 of businesses are still around. These numbers can be scary for a local business owner, especially when you are talking about you and your family’s livelihood. Successful small business owners understand that their odds of succeeding increase when they recognize the value of a strong community. Supporting the community goes hand-in-hand with running a profitable business,” he said.

The support can come in many forms including: volunteering, taking on leadership roles, fundraising, donating to local non-profits and supporting the schools. At first look these acts may seem inconsequential to business success but in reality, they encourage community trust and support that cannot be measured by numbers alone.

The Zenith Award was established in 1990 by the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to honor Shelby County community leaders whose lifetime of community service has had a profound impact on the quality of life in Shelby County.

“Our recipient tonight is a third-generation small business owner in Shelby County. His business has been a community staple for over 75 years. Tonight’s recipient has done more than just participate in our community – he has helped to shape it into a destination where people want to live and work. Some of the ways he has helped accomplished this is by playing vital roles in community development organizations such as United Way Board and Board Chair; United Way Campaign chair; twice the United Way Manufacturing chair; Chamber Board and Board chair; Sidney-Shelby Economics Partnership Board; Community Foundation of Shelby County Board; Wilson Health Foundation Board; Sidney Athletic Boosters president; VESPA Fundraiser; Goffena Center Committee at Sidney High School; Shelby County Building Code Appeals Board; Presbyterian Church Committee and Fundraiser; Shelby County Library Fundraiser; Raise the Roof for the Arts Board and Fundraiser; and Moose Lodge Renovations Fundraiser.”

And following those accolades, Martin introduced Lochard as the Zenith Award recipient.

Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., with his family after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8, night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_6240.jpgMike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., with his family after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8, night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins. Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., talks after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_6206.jpgMike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc., talks after receiving the Zenith Award on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins. Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_6194.jpgSteve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

Mike Lochard, right, owner of Lochard Inc., receives the Zenith Award from Sidney Body CARSTAR Owner Tom Martin, of Sidney, on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_6224.jpgMike Lochard, right, owner of Lochard Inc., receives the Zenith Award from Sidney Body CARSTAR Owner Tom Martin, of Sidney, on Tuesday, March 8 night during the annual Shelby County Chamber of Commerce membership dinner at The Palazzo in Botkins. Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News
Accepts recognition on behalf of his family