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Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, headlined the 96th Annual Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce Event and Awards Program last Thursday and delivered the keynote address. Chris previously served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, and Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Economic Development, among other positions.
Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, Dr. Tracy McClelland, recognized business partners who generously allowed a leadership staff member to commit three years of service on the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce Board and extended appreciation to the following for serving in this capacity: Kassidy Carter, Bay Carter Farms; Shawn Knight, Property Hunters of South Georgia; Christi Thomas, Coffee County Board of Education; and Lee Taylor, First National Bank of Coffee County.
Board Chair McClelland introduced the 2023 Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Officers and Board of Directors:
2023 EXECUTIVE BOARD
Chair, Dr. Tracy McClelland, Medical Institute of South Georgia; 1st Vice Chair, Ben Floyd, Coffee Regional Medical Center; 2nd Vice Chair, Chad Guthrie, AgSouth; Secretary/Treasurer, Paulette Brown, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College; EDA President, Stuart Smith, Douglas National Bank; Past Chair, Kevin Elrod, FNB South
2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeffery Ingram, City of Douglas; Dr. Morris Leis, Coffee County Board of Education; Chris Watson, GracePointe Church; Kevin Koeppler, Sunbelt Greenhouses; Sandy Sharpe, Southwire; Rueben Speight, Great Destiny International Ministries; Dr. Greg Tanner, South Georgia State College; Shane Edmisten, City of Douglas Police Department; Allison Norris, Norris Shoe Store; Archie Rish, Chick-fil-A; Savannah Holliday, Premium Waters; Jeremy Newell, Broadcast South; Sally Bryant, Citizens Christian Academy; Courtney Taylor, Optima Chemical; Tony Rowell, Hall Booth Smith, Attorneys at Law
Annual Awards and Recognitions
COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD
Recipient of the Community Spirit Award - Michael "Bull" Brown, Coffee County Board of Education.
The Community Spirit Award is in recognition of those who provide leadership and devotion to their community. One who sees a need and, rather than saying, somebody needs to do something, they become that somebody. One that uses their time and talent to work for the betterment and overall quality of life, and consistently shows their love for Coffee County by helping meet the unmet needs of fellow Coffee Countains.
COMMUNITY PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Recipient of the Community Partner of the Year - Childhood Cancer Awareness Group of Coffee County
The Community Partner of the Year award celebrates the contributions of a community agency or organization who has an ongoing commitment and partnership with the business community to address the needs of the Douglas-Coffee County area. Community partners play a vital role in engaging stakeholders to meet critical need(s) of the community. They are a public entity, non-profit or governmental agency based in the Douglas-Coffee County area with demonstrated contributions that reflect the needs of the community, they demonstrate excellence, creativity, or initiatives to support workforce development.
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP AWARD
Recipient of the Jackie Wilson Women in Leadership Award - Lidell Greenway, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
The Jackie Wilson Women in Leadership award celebrates women as valued members and leaders of the community. It honors an individual who strives toward the highest level of personal and professional accomplishments that ultimately benefit the well-being of Coffee County. This individual demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their profession or community service, and provides valuable services by devoting time and energy to improving the quality of life for others.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Robby and Tedica Roberson
The Gene Chambers Entrepreneur of the Year award celebrates entrepreneurs as valued members and leaders of the community. It honors the individual(s) who strive toward the highest level of personal or professional accomplishments. An individual that demonstrates excellence, creativity, innovation, and a true entrepreneurial spirit. The Robersons are the owners and operators of Douglas' Becky's Gifts, Tuscan Sky Salon of Douglas, Tuscan Sky Spa, Madison Avenue Property Management LLC, and part owner of Guardian Anesthesia, LLC.
SMALL BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Recipient of the Small Business Partner of the Year Award - Lott Builders Supply Company; owner, David Lott
The Small Business Partner of the Year Award celebrates a small business that demonstrates excellence, innovation, and creativity to support business growth, makes investments in business expansion, improvements, or renovations, and demonstrates innovative business practices and approaches to business operations.
INDUSTRY PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Recipient of the Industry Partner of the Year - R. W. Griffin.
The Industry Partner of the Year celebrates the contributions of an industry that demonstrates excellence, creativity, or initiatives to support business retention and expansion, creates an atmosphere for job growth, supports initiative(s) to enhance the economic well-being of Coffee County and/or demonstrates unique or innovative approaches to business.
GARLAND THOMPSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Recipient of the Garland Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award - JoAnne Lewis
The Garland Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who consistently goes about their work without any expectation of accolades, but rather from a deeper motivation to make a positive difference in the lives of those in Coffee County, the Southeast Region, or our State. Without individuals like this who give of themselves, their time, and their talents to develop a solid foundation for others to follow, there would be no community. There is no award that can possibly fully commend the individuals who give of themselves through their time and talents for the betterment of the community and overall quality of life. This award differs in that the recipients are individuals whose service to the community has been so significant in civic, economic development, political, educational, and/or religious activities over a sustained period of time that the history of the Douglas-Coffee County community could not be written reasonably without their inclusion.
The Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce extends a very special thank you to the Annual Event sponsors who made the 96th Annual Event & Awards Program possible: PLATINUM Sponsor: Coffee Regional Medical Center; GOLD Sponsors: Douglas National Bank, Keller Williams Realty, Pilgrim's, and Southwire; SILVER Sponsors: ATC Broadband, Clements Purvis and Stewart CPA's, First National Bank of Coffee County, Medical Institute of South Georgia, Pineland Bank, Sunbelt Greenhouses, and Vyve Broadband; BRONZE Sponsors: The City of Douglas, NextEra Energy, Optima Chemical, Premium Peanut, Satilla REMC, South Georgia State College.
On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, we would like to recognize and show our appreciation to each of the following: Keynote Speaker, Mr. Chris Clark with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Denise Paulk, Simply Southern (Catering & Decor); Pro Audio Windi Raper, Carried Away Creations; Ultimate Graphics Plus, McElroy Printing MB Rentals and Ray & Cathy Ricketson.