Ray Weiss (left) and Alana Winkelmann are
presented the 2022 Man and Woman of the Year
Award during Thursday's Washington County
Chamber of Commerce/Brenham Economic
Development Foundation Banquet at the Fireman's
Training Center.

Several exceptional individuals, businesses and organizations were honored for their contributions to Washington County Thursday night during the Washington County Chamber of Commerce/Brenham Economic Development Foundation Banquet.

Ray Weiss and Alana Winkelmann were honored as the 2022 Man and Woman of the Year. 

Weiss is a financial advisor at Thrivent, where he is a member of the Thrivent Hall of Fame and a 2023 inductee into the Thrivent Hall of Legends.  He has been heavily involved in the community with the Chamber, Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham School Board, Washington County Fair Board, Baylor Scott & White Foundation and Hospice Brazos Valley Endowment Board.  In addition, he has served as a firefighter and chief of the Salem Volunteer Fire Department, as well as a firefighter in the Brenham Fire Department.

Weiss thanked his family for allowing him to make a difference in the lives of people across Washington County.

2019’s Man of the Year, Charlie Matejowsky, introduced Weiss as the winner of the award, saying he is “about as Washington County as you can get.”  Weiss was also described as someone who “cares about his community,” “is willing to help anybody that needs help,” and “just a damn good guy.”

Winkelmann has served in numerous leadership roles with local Girl Scouts, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  She has been president of the Fortnightly Club of Brenham and Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library Board.  She is also a member of the Brenham Maifest Hall of Fame for her work as a seamstress, creating royal attire such as gowns and trains.

Winkelmann said she is proud to call Brenham home.

Winkelmann was introduced by 2021’s Woman of the Year, Joy Fuchs, who said Winkelmann “truly exemplifies the term ‘servant-heart,’” “thrives in helping others” and “gives herself to all.”

The winners of Small Business of the Year were also announced on Thursday.  Brenham Quality Meat Market was the recipient for the 1-25 employee category, and Citizens State Bank was chosen for the 26-100 employee award.  Meanwhile, Brenham Pregnancy Center was named the winner of the banquet’s first Nonprofit of the Year award. 

Carl Prihoda won the Chamber’s Blue Blazer of the Year Award in recognition of his service with the Blue Blazers.  Darron Smith was the winner of the Chamber Board Member of the Year. 

The keynote speaker at the banquet was Rick Figueroa of Brenham, who is a managing partner for the wealth management firm, Patron Partners LLC.  Figueroa talked about the difference between successful people and significant people, how to not forget the past while avoiding being anchored by it, and the importance of holding to principles even in times of adversity.  Figueroa’s presentation can be heard below.

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