Small business owner, YMCA official both honored by Hamilton chamber

Two men who dedicate themselves to various causes are being honored this month by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber will present its Small Business Person of the Year Award to John Kirsch, CEO of Kirsch CPA Group, on Aug. 27 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton. The Hamilton Heritage Award for Outstanding Community Involvement will be presented to Shaun Higgins, branch executive director of Great Miami Valley YMCA.

Kirsch CPA Group was established in 1991, growing from a one-person firm into an organization with three partners and a team of 33 individuals helping small and medium-size for-profit and non-profit enterprises. The award-winning firm, which moved from Fairfield to Hamilton in 2018 to accommodate growth, also has a location in Oxford.

MORE: The perfect home’: Why 80 Acres chose Hamilton to move its headquarters and create 125 jobs

Kirsch, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Miami University, is involved in numerous community activities, including being on boards of Community First Solutions, Hamilton Community Foundation, Stephen T. Badin High School, and Access Business Development and Finance, Inc.

“John is absolutely amazing. His passion and investment in the city is incredible and really a model to what business leaders can do to impact their community and involve their entire workforce in a redevelopment effort with the city of Hamilton,” said Dan Bates, the chamber’s president and CEO. “He certainly deserves this award as a very successful business entrepreneur but even more importantly for the unbelievably positive and respectful reputation that he has developed in Hamilton and throughout the region.”

“When John says something is OK, everybody’s on board, so it’s great that he has taken his leadership role and made it benefit the entire business community and the entire city of Hamilton.”

Bates said Higgins, who was started his role in October, is the example of “the volunteer who is everywhere and willing to do everything with great enthusiasm energy passion and professionalism.”

MORE: Hamilton-based indie game developer prepping 3-day festival

“He certainly deserves the Heritage Award and … he was very humbled when I told him that he was the recipient of this award and was humbled by the company at which he is going to stand beside,” he said. “Shaun does so many things that are visible but he does even more things that are not visible to the public that he does behind the scenes and gets no credit for, but does it just because it’s the right thing to do or needs to be done or he just wants to support a particular cause.”

Higgins served as director of park operations for Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park between 2014 and 2018.

The luncheon event, which will also feature keynote speaker David Velie, CEO of AMEND Ventures, costs $30 to attend for chamber members and $35 for non-members. Reservations may be made online at or by calling the Chamber at 513-844-1500.

MORE: 5 things that make Kostas restaurant a downtown Hamilton icon

About the Author