The 71st annual Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Membership and Awards Banquet was held on Dec. 3 at Cravens Hall in Sewanee amid excitement about the organization beginning a new leadership chapter with the 2020 Board of Directors being announced.
Attendees began the event with mingling and conversation while enjoying a host of locally produced wines provided by Beans Creek Winery.
A live performance by the Franklin County-based band The DifferenT’s provided a festive backdrop for guests as they talked and enjoyed an easygoing atmosphere.
Following the wine-tasting event, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce members and their families enjoyed an evening of fellowship, networking, and a full-course-catered meal provided by Sewanee Catering.
While guests finished their meals, former Chamber Executive Director Michelle Earle addressed the gathering and thanked attendees for the service and dedication throughout the 2018-2019 year.
Earle will now take on the role of vice president of the Chamber’s Board of Directors while Kayla Doney, who had been the organization’s director of operations, began her work as executive director by leading the evening’s official business.
Several door prizes were available for lucky winners, including a Vizio 4k Smart TV, a full-size adult bicycle, a Fitbit watch, several cash prizes, and several other equally-impressive items.
Doney recognized numerous individuals for their hard work on behalf of the Chamber.
The 2020 Franklin County Chamber of Commerce ambassadors were announced and each stood when their names were called before the evening’s awards were presented.
Following the ambassadors, awards went to Outstanding Ambassador of the Year Nancy Hibler and 2019 Best Spirit winner Crystal Perry.
Al Tipps, WCDT Radio owner and disc jockey, was then recognized as the Chamber’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
Next, Doney presented Kyle Hatchett with the 2019 Young Professional of the Year award.
Doney then presented the 2019 Small Business of the Year Award to Olympus Gyros & Pizza owner Matthew Sfirakis before recognizing Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods with the Chamber’s 2019 Large Business of the Year Award, which was accepted by Thompson Appalachian Chief Financial Officer Claire Getty.
The 2020 Board of Directors were then announced, including President Mike Bowden, Thompson Appalachian Chief Administrative Officer Mary Lee McConnell, Jack Daniel Distillery’s Penny Morris, Doney, Motlow State Community College’s Brenda Cannon, Exchange Media Group’s Sandra Thomas, Edward Jones Investments’ Jonas Harmond, Banquet Chair and Moore-Cortner Funeral Home’s Holly Cortner, Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Winchester and Sewanee campuses Chief Executive Officer Cliff Wilson, Secretary of the Board and V.R. Williams Insurance’s Kevin Lockmiller, Board Vice President and FirstBank’s Michelle Earle, and Nissan North America Decherd’s Randy Nunley.
Following the evening’s conclusion, Doney was thankful and optimistic about the Chamber’s upcoming work.
“I would like to thank all the Chamber members, board members, and ambassadors for a successful year,” Doney said. “I also want to thank all of the members who donated door prizes for the event.
“I would like to give a special ‘thank you’ to the 71st annual Membership and Awards Banquet sponsors, including Ascend Federal Credit Union, Erlanger-Life Force, First Vision Bank, and Moore-Cortner Funeral Home.”