Fayette Chamber of Commerce honors community leaders

2011 Chamber Board Chair Melanie Myer (L) passes gavel to the 2012 Chair Peggy Thomas in a ceremony Jan. 20 during the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet. Photo/Gwen Griffin.

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards luncheon last Friday with over 250 in attendance.

Also on the agenda was the passing of the chairman’s gavel from 2011 Chamber Board Chair Melanie Myer to the 2012 Chair Peggy Thomas. Myer is with Delta Credit Union and Thomas with Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services.

Six awards categories were given, with four of them going back a number of years. This awards program is the 44th held since the chamber was chartered in 1967. The first one was held as a pot luck dinner at the Masonic Lodge in Fayetteville.

In the category of Outstanding Business Person of the Year, former Fayette County Commission Chair Jack Smith was the recipient. He is with Smith, Conley & Associates. He has been a longtime contributor to various functions in the county.

The Small Business of the Year Award was given to Aventure Aviation, which has been in business at the Peachtree City airport since 2001. It was accepted by Zaheer Faruqi, president. Among the considerations for this award is the fact that small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy and that certainly applies to Fayette County.

The winner of the Ambassador of the Year was Jim Mothorpe of Capital Investment Companies. This award is given to one of the chamber ambassadors (they’re the ones wearing a red ribbon at chamber events and a red coat) who welcomes new businesses at ribbon cuttings, help to greet and mentor newcomer chamber members.

The Chet Wells Award was named for a chamber member in the 1980s who personified dedication and tireless work on behalf of the chamber. Begun in 1971 as the Chairman’s Award, it was renamed for Wells in 1982. It is given to the person who made a significant difference during the Chairman’s tenure. The award this year was given to Barbara Stevens of Heritage Bank.

One of the more recent categories given was for the Young Professional of the Year. This award recognizes a young professional who demonstrates community involvement and leadership and an aspiration to succeed in their career. Recognized this year was Emily Poole, employed at Allan Vigil Ford in Fayetteville

The Dreambuilder Award was established in 2002 by then-Chair Mike Hofrichter. It is given to an individual or company who has had a significant vision for our community and has selflessly given of their time and talents to make a difference in Fayette county. Their community spirit and dedication is shown both in word and deed.

The recipient of the award this year was former longtime Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele.

Said outgoing Chair Melanie Myer, “This is a special opportunity to say thank you to a special leader who has served our community for over two decades. ... He served in important leadership capacities around the region and the state including being our regional representative at the ARC and as president of his statewide peers at the Georgia Municipal Association.”


Futurist tells C of C: Embrace change, it’s coming whether you like it or not

Jack Uldrich, global futurist, was the keynote speaker at the awards luncheon for the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

The author of a number of books on future trends, emerging technologies and change in management styles, Uldrich stated that we must obtain knowledge and wisdom every day.

Sometimes it is equally wise to lose some wisdom from time to time due to the fact that the future is always changing in front of us. There will be times when we must lose the way things have always been done to make room for the new.

Uldrich pointed out that the fields of healthcare and education will increase over 250-fold in the next four years.

The number of robots performing tasks is doubling but the cost of performing tasks is lessened each day and we must be flexible enough to see those changes and adapt to them.

He said that a good leader is one who adapts to each new technology and can embrace ambiguity.