Chamber Celebrates Success at 2011 Annual Dinner
Jessica Thompson, Communications Director
BOWLING GREEN, KY-The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated a year of success at Thursday night's Annual Dinner. More than 600 local business leaders, regional partners and special guests attended the dinner, which included a program to honor the Chamber leadership.
Skip Wirth of First Choice Home Medical served as emcee for the program, introducing the dinner's "Chamberopoly" theme in honor of the Chamber's 75th anniversary in 2010.
2010 Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Joe Natcher of Southern Foods, Inc. reflected on the achievements of last year, including the Leader in Me®, for which the Chamber gave its support to the Bowling Green City Schools and the Warren County Public Schools as they implement Dr. Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in their classrooms.
"I'm so proud to be a part of this fine organization," said Natcher. "2010 was a great year because of the many economic development announcements, Chamber programs and events. It was a success for us, and we look forward to another year filled with Chamber activities that support the South Central Kentucky business community."
In a special addition to this year's program, Natcher announced that the Chamber has established the Herb Smith Lifetime Achievement Award. Herb Smith believed in promoting economic prosperity for all South Central Kentucky residents, and the award will recognize those citizens who have made similar contributions to the region and who exemplify the Chamber's core values of inclusiveness, integrity, leadership and service. Natcher presented the inaugural award to the Herb Smith family
in honor of his legacy.
President's Club partners were also recognized at the event, with more than 60 partners participating in the program in 2010. Five partners joined the President's Club last year. President's Club partners provide funds above and beyond their Chamber dues to support economic development in South Central Kentucky.
"We thank our President's Club partners for the additional investment that they give to our organization, showing their commitment for economic development in South Central Kentucky," said Ron Bunch, CEcD, Chamber president and CEO.
Bunch gave remarks as well, introducing himself to the crowd and highlighting the strengths of the Chamber. He emphasized the importance of regionalism and the value of jobs to South Central Kentucky, no matter the county lines. "We had 21 economic development announcements in 2010, creating 1,653 new and retained jobs and a capital investment of more than $241 million. Those jobs impact the entire region as we join together to promote our assets to companies and site selectors throughout
Warren County Judge Executive Michael Buchanon administered the Board and Ambassadors oath, welcoming the new members for 2011. Monica Wardlow, 2010 Ambassadors president, handed the gavel to the Bruce Wilkerson who will take on that role for 2011. Ambassadors serve as liaisons between the Chamber and the partnership and dedicated more than 4,000 volunteer hours in 2010.
Chamber Vice President, Operations Tonya Matthews, IOM, ACE recognized the 2010 Year-End Award winners. The winners are
Board Volunteer of the Year: Todd Davis, DTD Construction, Inc.
Ambassador of the Year: Charles Moore, Jr., Charles M. Moore Insurance
Volunteers of the Year: Michelle Gorman, U.S. Bank, and Audrey Meany, Mary Kay® Cosmetics
Matthews also honored the retiring Board members for 2011. These individuals are
Tom Baker, Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate
Craig Browning, U.S. Bank
Todd Davis, DTD Construction, Inc.
Michelle Gorman, U.S. Bank
Mark Marsh, Greenview Regional Hospital
Chris Thompson, Mancino's Grinders & Pizza
As Natcher prepared to hand the chairman's gavel to 2011 Board Chairman Rodney Rogers of Stewart-Richey Construction, Inc., past Board chairs participated in a special presentation, passing the gavel to each other, ending with Rogers. The presentation provided a glimpse at the many business leaders from throughout the community who have dedicated their time to leading the Chamber.
Rogers unveiled his theme for the year: Aligning Business with Opportunity. He spoke about the importance of all Chamber partners and the value of small business to the region. U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie joined Rogers for a special presentation to honor the transition between Board chairs.
"I'm honored to be a part of the Chamber and to be selected to serve the organization as chairman," said Rogers. "The Chamber has seen much success in the past years, and I look forward to helping us continue this tradition."
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to be the 2009 Chamber of the Year, as named by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Chamber was honored with 5-Star Accreditation in 2009, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals
are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.