A record crowd turned out for the 68th Annual Meeting for the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, August 3. Held for the first time at the A.S.U. Holmes Convocation Center, the event was sponsored by SkyLine/SkyBest and attended by approximately 475 Chamber members and guests.
Guests bid on silent auction items and experiences from local businesses, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Watauga County Veterans Memorial project for Downtown Boone. David Jackson, President of the Chamber, welcomed the crowd and presented a review of recent projects and the vision for the upcoming year, highlighting programs such as the “One Thing” project, and the Human Relations Committee, designed to help area businesses.
“We’re not just looking at how to recruit talent to our community, but how to keep them hooked while they’re here,” said Jackson. “We want to attract and retain the best folks for our employers.”
Twenty-four participants in the Watauga Leadership Challenge, a seven month program providing a comprehensive overview of the community and designed to develop community leadership, were presented their graduation certificates at the event. Awards were also given for outstanding individuals and companies in the community.
The Wade Brown Community Recognition Award, sponsored by the Boone Golf Club, was awarded to Matt Vincent and the VPC Builders for their involvement and support of the High Country community.
Mayor Pro-Tem Lynn Mason presented the Ben Suttle Award for Volunteerism, sponsored by Greene Construction, to the team of Blood, Sweat and Gears, a fund raising non-profit group
that supports area charities through bike riding.
The Sue W. Wilmooth Award for Tourism Advancement, sponsored by the Boone & Watauga Tourism Development Authorities, was awarded to Michelle Ligon, the Director of Public
Relations at Explore Boone.
Sponsored by LifeStore Bank, the Dan Meyer Partnership Award was presented to Dr. Scott St. Clair of Blue Ridge Pediatrics. Dr. St. Clair earned this award for his work on the High Country
The everGreen Award for Sustainability, sponsored by Mast General Store, was awarded to the F.A.R.M Cafe, a non-profit “pay what you can” restaurant in Boone, using locally sourced food
and striving to end hunger in the High Country.
In its inaugural year, the Woman-of-the-Year award was dedicated to Gillian Baker, the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Appalachian Regional Healthcare Systems, and
Susan Jones, the Watauga District Manager for Blue Ridge Energy. The first Baker/Jones award was given to Wendy Patoprsty, the director for the Middle Fork Greenway project.
Finally, the Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, was presented to Hospitality Mints, the largest supplier of custom mints in the U.S., and
headquartered in Boone.
David Jackson spoke of the tremendous camaraderie among Chamber members.”Within our business community, non-profits, politicians and academia, we have the power to come together as a community and make things happen.”