CHAMBER CELEBRATES DURING 51st ANNUAL MEETING

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce reflected on 2021 while announcing 2022 primary goals during the organization’s 51st Annual Meeting held Thursday, January 20.  Sponsored by Northside Hospital Cherokee, the event featured Chick-fil-A Foundation Executive Director Rodney Bullard as the keynote speaker.

In the changing of the guard, Outgoing Board Chair, Adam Smith, Senior Vice President & Commercial Banker with Synovus, passed the gavel to 2022 Chair Brian Stevens, CEO & Co-Owner of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.

In sharing 2021 successes, outgoing Chair Smith announced, “In 2021, over 3,100 current & future members attended the variety of events offered by the Chamber, while 169 new members were recruited to the Chamber bringing our year-end membership total to 1,061 resulting in a 2021 Membership Retention Rate of 87%.  Also in 2021, the Chamber was recertified by the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives as a Georgia Certified Chamber of Commerce.  Your Chamber was certified in 2011 when the program began and has been recertified every 5 years since.  New initiatives launched in 2021 included the Remote Reader Program coordinated by the organization’s Education Committee, Emerge! – a professional initiative that focused on Emotional Intelligence in 2021; Work Readiness Wednesday created by the Workforce Development Council as a virtual platform for resume, job search and employability assistance; the $hop Local/$hop Cherokee campaign was virtual for the second consecutive year with the addition in 2021 of the Jingle Bell Box give-away through an online registration process.  Seventeen Chamber member businesses along with former Jingle Bell $hop vendors partnered with the Chamber to provide over $2,245 in merchandise.  Items in the Jingle Bell Box giveaway were marketed for purchase from the participating businesses through an online shopping guide found on CherokeeChamber.com.  A new tourism website, DestinationCherokeeGA.com, which was also unveiled at the end of 2021.”

Incoming Board Chair Stevens shared that in 2022, as in 2021, the Chamber Board of Directors and Staff will continue to carry out the Chamber’s Vision and Mission while focusing on the organization’s primary goals which are to connect leaders, create business growth opportunities, cultivate member-to-member relationships, enhance member benefits & existing programs, while increasing the organizations net membership and measuring success.  In 2021 the internal and external teams focused strategically through the Going Strong 2022 Resiliency Plan, while in 2022 they will be looking to the future by developing a three-to-five-year post-resiliency plan.

Those volunteers recognized for completing a three-year term on the Chamber Board included Dr. Brian Hightower, Cherokee County School District; Melissa Madigan, BB&T now Truist; Katie Pearson, Northside Hospital Cherokee; Frank Reynolds, Cherokee County Sheriff and Guillermo Sanabia, Wellstar.  Recognized for serving on the Chamber Board for the past four years was Mandy Chapman, Roytec Industries. Immediate Past Chair David Simmons, Chattahoochee Technical College Vice President for Facilities, was recognized for his six years of service.

The following volunteers are beginning a three-year term on the Chamber Board of Directors: Neil Blackman, Corblu Ecology Group, LLC; Mark Goddard, Cobb EMC; Brandon Hartley, AT&T Georgia; Eric Rein, Renasant Bank; Jeff Rusbridge, Dyer & Rusbridge, P.C.; Jennifer Stanley, Northside Hospital Cherokee, and Jay Street, Automated Solutions Consulting Group, Inc. “These new Board members bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.  I look forward to serving alongside of these volunteers along with those who will continue to serve on the Chamber Board as we work collaboratively to meet the Chamber’s mission,” shared Chairman Stevens.

Among the awards presented was the 47th Annual First Citizen of Cherokee County recognition that was bestowed upon longtime Cherokee County resident Robert F. Logan. “The Cherokee County Chamber is honored to name Robert F. Logan as the 47th recipient of the prestigious First Citizen of Cherokee County Award.  The judges did an outstanding job in selecting him,” remarked Mr. Stevens.

Additional accolades went to Lead Edge Design Group, Inc., 2022 Small Business of the Year; Next Step Ministries, 2022 Non-Profit of the Year; and Professional Benefits Consultants, 2022 Excellence in Customer Service Award winner.  All three recipients were chosen by out-of-town judges just as the First Citizen is selected. The 2021 Chairman’s Council “Joan McFather Volunteer of the Year Award” was presented to Kendall Jones with MUST Ministries, 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, bearing the name of longtime Chamber volunteer Joan McFather, has been given in her name since her death in 2019.

The mission of the Cherokee County Chamber, a Georgia Certified Chamber, is to promote business and the community while expanding the economy and enhancing the quality of life.  To learn more about the Chamber, visit CherokeeChamber.com.