James Vandemark – excellence in leadership Award

Owner – vandemark jewelers

Jim started his career in Jewelry in 1981 at Brandau Jewelers in Elyria at the age of 16. He graduated from Elyria High School in 1983 and continued working at Brandau Jewelers, obtaining his certification from the Gemological Institute of America, being certified in diamonds and diamond grading. In October of 2002, Jim opened Vandemark Jewelers, making this year their 23rd year in business. Jim is beyond thankful for the support of the community, which is why he loves to give back.

Jim’s dedication to community service started with the Elyria Jaycee’s where he was President from 1990 to 1991, establishing the Elyria Jaycee’s scholarship fund. He was involved with Elyria Noon Kiwanis for 25 years, running their annual Halloween parade for 15 years. Jim served on the boards of the Elyria Downtown Commons group, reorganized as Main Street Elyria for over 25 years. He was board chair for three years to end his tenure. Jim has been on the Elyria City Schools Endowment board since 1996, co-chairing the annual golf outing. He has also co-chaired two school levy campaigns for Elyria City Schools. Jim was a past board member for the Lorain County Historical Society. He also was a past member of Sales and Marketing Executives of Lorain County, serving as president from 2001 to 2002.

He currently serves on the board for the Elyria Apple Festival, helping coordinate the car show, and is the emcee for the Century Club dinner, raising funds for the festival. He served on the Community Foundation of Lorain County’s board from 2008 to 2015, was Board Chair in 2014, and remains involved on the grants committee. Jim is also involved with the Elyria Public Library Endowment Board, serving as President from 2020 to 2022. Jim currently is a member of the Elyria noon Rotary and a trustee of the Ely Trust.

Giving back to the community that has always supported him is a priority for Jim and his family.