CANTON, GA (January 19, 2024) – The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce reflected on 2023 while announcing 2024 primary goals during the organization’s 53rd Annual Meeting held Friday, January 19. Sponsored by Northside Hospital Cherokee, the event featured Executive VP of Operations & VP of Real Estate for Waffle House, Inc., Vecus Miller, as the keynote speaker.

In the changing of the guard, Outgoing Board Chair, Trey Ragsdale, External Affairs, Kaiser Permanente, passed the gavel to 2024 Chair Eric Rein, Senior VP & Commercial Relationship Officer, Renasant Bank.

In sharing 2023 successes, outgoing Chair Ragsdale announced, “In 2023, over 4,300 current & future members attended the variety of events offered by the Chamber, while 196 new members were recruited to the Chamber bringing our year-end membership total to 1,081 resulting in a 2023 Membership Retention Rate of 83%. Also in 2023, four Regional Issues Awareness forums were held that focused on topics impacting not only Cherokee and our residents, but the region as well. The Women in Business Luncheon became an annual event this year and expanded to a half-day program with 100 businesswomen in attendance. Leadership initiatives continued to drive involvement, attendance, and participation – whether through the graduation of the 34th Annual Leadership Cherokee Class, the 22nd Annual Teen Leadership Cherokee Class for high school 10th graders, the 11th Annual announcement of Cherokee’s Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch over the next ten years, or the ever-popular Leadership Symposium that continues to attract over 100 attendees annually. The Chamber also continued to support tourism in Cherokee County via DestinationCherokeeGA.com along with a new visitor guide unveiled early last summer. All of these initiatives, along with dozens of others coordinated by the Chamber, were promoted through expanded social media efforts on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.”

Incoming Board Chair Rein shared that in 2024, as in 2023, 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. In 2024, the internal and external teams will focus on engaging and enhancing the relationships formed through the Leadership Cherokee program. “I am excited to share that in 2024 we will be focusing on the energy of our over 700 Leadership Cherokee Alumni, among other things, including revamping the $hop Local, $hop Cherokee campaign which will now be known as ‘Keep it Local’ and will include the tagline ‘Whatever You Do’.  So, it is quite simple, Whatever You Do, Keep it Local!” announced Chairman Rein.

Those volunteers recognized for completing their service on the Chamber Board included Jason Blakey, Credit Union of Georgia; Sarah Gaither, First Horizon Bank; Scott Gordon, CPL; Jennifer Puckett, In Harmony Pediatric Therapy; Janet Read Welch, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Dr. Mark Roberts, Reinhardt University; and John Wallace, Marietta Marine.  Immediate Past Chair Brian Stevens, FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center, was recognized for his seven years of service.

The following volunteers are beginning a three-year term on the Chamber Board of Directors: Armetrice Cabine, Armetrice Photography; Lori Flink, Allegro Business Products; Duane Jones, Foundation Financial; Michelle Meek, The Children’s Haven; Tracey Satterfield Martin, Live Clean; Anna Teal, Teal Marketing; and Jeffery Pourchier, Reinhardt University. “These new Board members bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. I look forward to serving alongside 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 Rein.

Among the awards presented was the Annual First Citizen of Cherokee County recognition that was bestowed upon Cherokee County resident Reyes Morales. “The Cherokee County Chamber is honored to name Reyes Morales as the 49th recipient of the prestigious First Citizen of Cherokee County Award.  The judges did an outstanding job in selecting him,” remarked Mr. Rein.

Additional accolades went to THRIVE | Co-working – Canton, the 2024 Excellence in Customer Service Award winner; Servicewise Electric, the 2024 Small Business of the Year; Anna Crawford Children’s Center, the 2024 Non-Profit of the Year; and Nelson Elder Care Law, LLC was named the inaugural Family-Owned Business of the Year. All award recipients were chosen by out-of-town judges just as the First Citizen is selected. The 2023 Chairman’s Council “Joan McFather Volunteer of the Year Award” was presented to Ron Sweatland with Orcannus Technologies, Inc., 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 untimely passing in 2019.

The mission of the Cherokee County Chamber, a Georgia Certified Chamber, is to promote business to expand the economy and enrich the community.  To learn more about the Chamber, visit CherokeeChamber.com.