CHAMBER CELEBRATES DURING 49TH ANNUAL MEETING
The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 2019 accomplishments and announced its 2020 primary goals during the organization’s 49th Annual Meeting held Thursday, January 23, 2020. Sponsored by Northside Hospital-Cherokee, the event featured Former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as the keynote speaker who shared about Georgia’s successes and the positive future for our state’s businesses and citizens. In the changing of the guard, outgoing Board Chair John Barker, Owner of Delphi Global Technology, passed the gavel to incoming Chair David Simmons, Chattahoochee Technical College Vice President for Facilities.
In sharing 2019 successes, outgoing Chair Barker announced, “In 2019, over 5,025 current & future members attended the variety of events offered by the Chamber, while 189 new members were recruited to the Chamber bringing our year-end membership total to 1,053 resulting in a 2019 Membership Retention Rate of 83%. CherokeeChamber.com was visited over 128,150 times with website pageviews exceeding the 242,000 mark. Also, a new Destination Cherokee tourism website and updated Visitor Guide are within a matter of weeks of being released that will be used to steer visitors to our community as well as remind our residents of all there is to do and see in Cherokee. A new Quality of Life Magazine will be unveiled any day now that will be used to assist in promoting Cherokee County to potential businesses and newcomers while also reminding our community of all Cherokee County has to offer. Going Green initiatives continued to flourish, and businesses and schools – through the Partners in Education Excellence Awards – celebrated 21 years of collaboration. The third annual Leadership Symposium attracted over 120 attendees and featured the strongest speaker lineup to date. SchmoozaPalooza saw record-breaking vendor space and attendee participation at this sellout event that showcases a variety of businesses products and services. The Jingle Bell $hop, with 45 vendors and over 1,400 attendees, rounded out the year as the largest holiday shopping extravaganza in its 11-year history. Talk about keeping local dollars local! I am also excited to share that through the diligence of a group of faithful Chamber volunteers, a new professional development initiative known as Emerge will be unveiled in 2020.
Incoming Chair Simmons announced the Chamber’s primary goals for 2020, which are to connect leaders, create business growth opportunities and cultivate member-to-member relationships. He also shared the overall organizational goals for 2020 which are to enhance existing programs and increase the net membership by 5%. The ongoing organizational efforts will continue to direct us to focus strategically – utilizing the 2020 VISION, enhance member benefits, and measure success.
Volunteers recognized for completing a three-year term on the Chamber Board included Zach Blend, Goshen Valley Foundation; Kelly Geiken, Edward Jones; Mark Goddard, Cobb EMC; Vic Knight; Kathy Lambert, Cherokee County and Janet Read, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Immediate Past Chair Julianne Rivera, Owner of Sold by Julianne – Keller Williams Atlanta North, was recognized for her seven years of service.
The newly elected Board members, who will serve until December of 2022, include Lori Baker, Next Step Ministries; Will Goodwin, Oak Leaf Church; Randy Gravley, WLJA 101.1 FM/Enjoy! Cherokee Magazine; Amy Leatherman, Universal Alloy Corporation; Karen Mathews, Reinhardt University; Trey Ragsdale, Kaiser Permanente and Rick Rowland, United Community Bank. “I look forward to working with these new Board members, as well as those who will be continuing to serve the Chamber as we work collaboratively to meet the Chamber’s mission,” shared Chairman Simmons.
Among the awards presented was the 45th Annual First Citizen of Cherokee County recognition that was bestowed upon lifelong Cherokee County resident William G. Hasty, Jr. “The Cherokee County Chamber is honored to name William G. Hasty, Jr. as the 45th recipient of the prestigious First Citizen of Cherokee County Award. The judges did an outstanding job in selecting him,” remarked Mr. Simmons.
Additional accolades went to Allegro Business Products, 2020 Small Business of the Year; Live Clean, Inc., 2020 Excellence in Customer Service Award honoree; and the Non-Profit of the Year award was presented to The Children’s Haven, Inc. All three recipients were chosen by out-of-town judges just as the First Citizen is selected. The 2019 Chairman’s Council “Joan McFather Volunteer of the Year Award” was presented to John Wallace, Field Representative for US Congressman Barry Loudermilk’s Office, as he best-exemplified on-going dedication throughout the past year as a Chamber Ambassador while contributing dozens of volunteer hours on the Chairman’s Council. This award, now including the name of longtime Chamber volunteer Joan McFather who recently passed away, will be given in her name each year. The Going Green Business of the Year, chosen based upon commitment to environmental excellence as well as implementation of additional green tactics within their business, was awarded to Primrose School of Harmony on the Lakes.