PIKEVILLE — The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce held its 55th annual Awards Banquet at the East Kentucky Expo Center, with area business receiving recognition for their contributions to Eastern Kentucky.
Jared Arnet, president and CEO of of the Chamber, said the Chamber has added 127 new members in the past year, and laid groundwork for more growth.
“Our regional concept has found widespread support,” Arnet said. “Regionalism is the trend in economic development throughout the country. We believe the economic future of Eastern Kentucky rests on our ability to unite as a region and become strategic in our planning.”
The keynote speaker for the banquet was Bill Graham, President of Graham Corporate Communications. Graham spent 15 years as a theater director and producer, served as Director of Creative Affairs for Proctor and Gamble, creating teams that produced Emmy Award winning soap operas.
He is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University, teaching classes in Communication Ethics, Public Relations and Effective Presentations. He teaches Sports Management at George Mason University, and is a regular guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, and is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management.
The awards given by the Chamber at the Banquet were:
• Outstanding Contributions toward Community Service by an Organization, given to Community Trust Bank, which was represented by Jean Hale. This award cannot be given to an individual, only to an organization or business who makes a difference in the lives of our residents. This year’s recipient of this award has been chosen due to their many acts of service for our local Communities.
• Service Organization of the Year, given to Relay for Life, represented by Bridgette Brashear,
• Community Representative with the American Cancer Society. The award for Service Organization of the Year is given to an organization that has shown great support to the communities of Southeast Kentucky. The organization must strongly impact the community and serve its people.
• Chamber Volunteer of the Year, given to Sandy Johnson of The Benefits Firm. The Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award is given to someone who exhibits the qualities of a servant leader and who has invested time and/or support in the Chamber. This person should have helped with multiple organizations within the Chamber or affecting the state of the Chamber.
• Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives Award, given to Jean Hale, with Community Trust Bank. This is a new award given at the discretion of the KCCE board to recognize an individual or company who has gone above and beyond to promote the organization as well as local chambers across the state. Jean Hale has been instrumental in the development of the Local Chamber Advisory Board, which incorporated nine chamber executives from across the state onto the Kentucky Chamber board of directors. She has also been instrumental in helping KCCE become what it is today by stepping up as a Corporate Partner (and maintaining that partnership for seven years) so that we could hire a full time executive director.
• Business Person of the Year was awarded to Dwayne Moore. The Award for Business Person of the Year is given to an individual or to business partners who have demonstrated support for the advancement and leadership development of business and professionals in eastern Kentucky. The recipient not only has the industry of our community at heart but also the further development of its people.
• Small Business of the Year Award was given to Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, accepted by E – Doug Mortimer and staff. The Small Business of the Year award is given to a business who has exemplified entrepreneurship in the region. This business should maintain a responsible and rewarding workplace environment, give back to their community through volunteerism, and should be a true representative of the entrepreneurship of the citizens of the community.
• Business of the Year, given to Kellogg’s, accepted by John Heilman, Plant Manager. The Business of the Year award is given to a business who has exemplified economic impact and expansion in the region. This business should have a stabilized workforce and an influence on the local, county and state level.
• Junior Williamson Ambassador Award, given to Speaker Greg Stumbo, accepted by Leslie Combs. The Junior Williamson Memorial Ambassador Award has been given since 1991 in honor of the late Junior Williamson. Many will remember Junior Williamson, but many may not know what a true ambassador he was. The recipient of the Ambassador Award for this year deserves this award for sharing the beauty and goodness of our region to those who live outside of its borders.
• Lon B. Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Jack Sykes. The Lon B. Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award is given to someone who has spent years of their life striving to make the region a better place. The person receiving the Lon B. and Mary Evelyn Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award is someone who has a strong love for the region and has made a significant impact, creating change and progression in the area.
• Athena Award, given to Lynette Schindler, CPA. The Athena Award is new this year. The Athena Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology, known for her strength, courage, wisdom, and enlightenment. This award is presented to a woman who is honored for professional excellence, community service, and for actively assisting other women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
The EKCC also presented a check to Shriners Childrens Hospitals to Hillbilly Clan #1, Outhouse #2 and designated City and County Officials.The check, for $82,000, will be used use to help that charity.