As executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce, most of David Buhler's time is consumed with licensing professionals and policing their conduct.

While the bad apples of the professional world seem to garner their share of headlines, Buhler said the majority works quietly to make the state a better place to do business. So department officials established the Commerce Awards to recognize professionals who through their work have contributed to the state's economic and professional well being.The first-ever Commerce Awards were presented recently at a banquet hosted in their honor at the Grand Building at the Utah State Fairpark.

Fred S. Ball, president of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, was presented the Governor's Award for Utah Commerce. Ball has been president of the Chamber of Commerce for nearly 20 years.

Dr. George J. Van Komen, specialist in internal medicine, was honored as outstanding professional. Van Komen was recognized for his efforts in education in the abuse of prescription medicine and other controlled substances.

Carma Wadley, features editor of the Deseret News, received the Commerce Award for consumer protection. Wadley, who has worked for Utah's second-largest daily newspaper for nearly 20 years, has written a weekly consumer column for the past 14 years.

She has been a member of the Governor's Consumer Protection Advisory Council and an officer and board member of the Utah League of Consumers. Wadley also is a member of the National Coalition for Consumer Education and the American Council for Consumer Interests.

Mike Taggett's Chums International was recognized by the department as the state's outstanding new business. Based in Hurricane, Chums International employs about 60 Utahns and a number of others by contract. Chums are seamless cotton tubes that slide over eyeglass temples and cinch with a sliding bead.