Chamber presents annual awards
by Anna Oakes
Chamber leaders said 335 people registered for the event at Tweetsie, which hosted and catered the gathering for the second straight year.
Dan Meyer, president and CEO of the chamber, said the turnout was the largest for the annual meeting.
"I think it's also a sign of our businesses realizing that, collectively through the chamber, we can impact legislation and different types of things that are business beneficial," Meyer said.
The chamber installed the 2013-14 board of directors at the meeting, with Wells Fargo Market President Jason Triplett replacing Daniel Minton of High Country Insurance Services for a one-year term as chairman.
After a barbecue buffet dinner, chamber leaders presented a slate of annual awards to business and community leaders.
Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer were honored with the Wade Brown Award for Community Recognition for their contributions to the area, including the world-renowned Westglow Resort & Spa, the Schaefer Jewish Community Center at the Temple of the High Country and the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at Appalachian State University.
The Schaefers have also been active with the Appalachian Women's Fund, Watauga Humane Society and other organizations.
"Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer have indeed made an impact on our community through their business ventures, religious and cultural contributions," Meyer said.
The chamber awarded the Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development to Keith Honeycutt, vice president of sales at Hollar and Greene Produce. Honeycutt is a former county commissioner and member of the Watauga County Economic Development Commission. He is also vice chairman for Watauga Opportunities, which serves the special needs population, and a member of the Blue Ridge Electric Community Leadership Council.
Honeycutt is also a leader in the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
"This year's winner of the Alfred Adams Award ... goes to one who is known for his enthusiastic and positive attitude and his tenacious drive to get things done," Meyer said.
Skip Greene, president of Greene Construction, received the Ben Suttle Special Services Award for Volunteerism. Greene Construction has built many facilities of community significance and has worked closely with ASU, the town of Boone and others.
Greene has been active in the missions of First Baptist Church of Boone and the North Carolina Baptist Men's Disaster Relief Ministry, serving in the cleanup and restoration after many of the disasters of the Eastern U.S. during the last 30 years. Greene served after the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and New York City, and he has also lent his experience around the world.
"The local community has ... benefitted from his service in countless endeavors," Meyer remarked.
Jim Cottrell of French-Swiss Ski College was named this year's winner of the Sue Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism.
Founded in 1969, the French-Swiss Ski College in Blowing Rock has offered more than a million lessons in skiing, fostering a lifetime hobby for many who return to the High Country's ski resorts time and time again.
Meyer said, "Our winner says he is going to continue to promote winter sports - something you can do in the winter to keep you outdoors, active and healthy."
Finally, the everGREEN Award for Leadership in Sustainability went to Lisa Doty, the Watauga County recycling coordinator. Watauga is ranked third in the state for household recycling and eighth in the state for total public recycling. Recycling in the county increased by nearly 100 percent from 2009 to 2012, with recycling revenue more than doubling to more than $500,000 during those years.
The county's Landfill Gas to Energy Project won a Project of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is expected to reduce electricity costs at the landfill by more than 80 percent and provide the county with an annual profit of $70,000.
"Clearly, she coordinated far more than recycling," Meyer said.
BB&T was this year's signature sponsor of the annual meeting.
For more information about the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, call (828) 264-2225, visit http://www.boonechamber.com or stop by the office at 870 W. King St., Suite A, in Boone.