“You may be wondering why a school superintendent representing a nonprofit agency would have any interest in economic development and the Chamber of Commerce,” Day admitted. “I feel the collaboration between education and business is crucial for continued and even increased success. Not only are we educating your future work force, but it is also imperative we have a strong local economy in order to maintain or even create new jobs so that our students and your children can grow into them.”
Chip Catlett, the 2009 chairman of the board, passed the gavel to Day at the Chamber’s annual dinner Thursday night, Feb. 4, at the Walker County Civic Center.
“2010 is being led by an already great leader,” Catlett remarked.
Catlett expressed a great deal of pride for the Chamber’s accomplishments last year. He noted that in 2009 the Chamber saw 14 ribbon cuttings on new businesses in Walker County and averaged over 110,000 hits per month on its website.
The outgoing chairman reminded Chamber members that, despite these hard economic times, “money isn’t just everything.” He encouraged the audience to continue to foster strong relationships between businesses and the Walker County community.
“These relationships are a great start to hopefully a booming 2010,” said Catlett. “We have literally weathered the storm of 2009 together, and we know that 2010 can be bright again for our businesses.”
The Chamber of Commerce presented two other awards Thursday evening. The 2008 Member of the Year Shannon Whitfield, of the Whitfield Oil Company, presented the 2009 Member of the Year Award to Eddie Upshaw of the Chickamauga Lions Club.
Upshaw accepted his award graciously, and remarked that he could not wait to see the look on his son’s face when he showed it to him.
Rhonda Beasley, with Roper Corp. and a member of the Chamber’s business and industry committee, presented the 2009 Small Business of the Year Award to Primary Health Care Center in Rossville, a nonprofit, federally-funded health care center.
Since its opening in March 2008, Primary Health Care Center has served 4,273 patients in the tri-state area, 61% of whom were low-income and likely could not have otherwise afforded health care. Primary Health Care Center also acquired over $1 million in federal grant money in its first year of operation, providing a welcome boon to Walker County.
Nashville-based comedian Rik Roberts provided the entertainment for the evening by performing a stand-up comedy routine and, at one point, impersonating the character of Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
2010 Walker Chamber of Commerce board of directors and board members
Melody Day, Chickamauga City Schools, chairwoman
Lecia Eubanks, Cherokee Regional Library, chair-elect
Vickie Hodge, Jimmy Simpson Foundation, vice chair
Judy Jackson, Cohutta Banking Co., treasurer
Sherry Foster, City of Rossville, secretary
Chip Catlett, Masonry Specialists, immediate past chair
Johnnie Arnold, city of LaFayette
Rhonda Beasley, Roper Corp.
Carter Brown, Walker County clerk of courts
Lynne Cawthorne, Rossville Bank
Tammy Cole, Hutcheson Medical Center
Zach deVaux, For Infinity LLC
Deb Ellis, See Rock City Inc.
Jason Gammell, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Michael Haney, city of Chickamauga
Melissa Mathis, Walker County school system
Melissa Roden, Memorial
Kim St. John, Capital Bank
Bob Stone, Allied Waste Services of Chattanooga
Dave Whalen, Blue-Bird North Georgia
Gary Woods, Bank of Chickamauga
Mary Wooten, The Bank of LaFayette