2023 Leadership Awards

June 15, 2023

Excellence in Public Service Award –  Scott Dedman, Mountain Housing Opportunities

Presented by Mission/HCA Healthcare

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the community through involvement, service or motivation to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Buncombe County. This year, we honor Scott Dedman of Mountain Housing Opportunities.

Scott was one of the original volunteer founders of Mountain Housing Opportunities back in 1988. Mountain Housing Opportunities is Western North Carolina’s non-profit leader in preserving and creating safe, stable, and affordable housing in the Asheville region and beyond. MHO has financed and developed 1,346 affordable apartments, helped more than 500 families and individuals achieve homeownership, and provided safety-related home repairs to over 4,000 homeowners. MHO maintains an active development pipeline that includes 420 new apartments across five sites. MHO is also actively developing affordable for-sale housing at three sites. On average, MHO produces more than $15M a year in affordable housing development and housing services in the region.

He’s retiring this August after having served as the organization’s Executive Director for the past 30 years. Throughout his career, Scott has served on many local, regional, and state-wide boards focused on serving vulnerable, low-income residents of North Carolina. And, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Governor Roy Cooper in 2018.

President’s Award – Care4Carolina

Presented by First Bank

The President’s Award recognizes an individual or company deserving of recognition for their work and contributions to the community. One of the Asheville Chamber’s guiding principles is collaboration. When we collaborate with businesses and partner organizations, we are more effective in our advocacy efforts. As the leading advocate for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, Care4Carolina has been a valued partner in supporting the Chamber’s policy agenda.

Care4Carolina aims to improve the overall health of North Carolina by advocating for access to affordable and quality healthcare. They believe that closing the insurance gap and providing affordable insurance options can benefit approximately 600,000 uninsured individuals, leading to better health outcomes and lower costs for those with private health insurance. By increasing access to healthcare, Care4Carolina seeks to enhance the economic and social well-being of the state.

Small Business Leader of the Year (fewer than 20 employees) – Fosnight Center for Sexual Health

Presented by HomeTrust Bank

The Small Business Leader of the Year Awards recognize individuals who reflect quality and dedication in their business and who are accomplished leaders. This year’s award goes to Aleece Fosnight and Casey Duncan of the Fosnight Center for Sexual Health. From the partnership between Casey and Aleece in leading the organization to the strong collaboration of the full staff in serving patients, teamwork is a hallmark of this small business. Their practice is unique across the southeast. 

The Fosnight Center takes a comprehensive approach to create personalized treatment plans, involving a multi-disciplinary team including integrative, sexual health, pelvic health, and mental health providers. Their aim is to address the entirety of individuals’ health concerns and empower them to restore their mind, optimize their pleasure, and enhance their overall well-being.

Small Business Leader of the Year (20-50 employees) – Capstone Health Alliance

Presented by HomeTrust Bank

Our Small Business Leader of the Year in the category of more than 20 employees goes to Tim Bugg of Capstone Health Alliance. 

Tim and his friend Mark Landau founded Capstone Health Alliance in 2013 to improve healthcare affordability and provide greater savings opportunities. Under Tim’s leadership, Capstone has demonstrated its commitment to healthcare affordability, resulting in over $570 million in impact for its members, including $66 million in savings and value in 2022 alone. Tim’s dedication extends beyond healthcare, as he has also invested in local custom apparel businesses and actively supports his community through board memberships, philanthropy, and a volunteer benefit policy for his team.

Entrepreneur of the Year – SDV Office Systems

Presented by Wells Fargo Bank

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes an entrepreneur with a soaring venture and who serves as a role model leading through example for all the startup entrepreneurs in the region. This year’s award goes to Dan Whisnant of SDV Office Systems. 

Dan served in the U.S. Marine Corps for over 30 years. SDV Office Systems LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), works with market-share leading and specialty office equipment manufacturers for sales to the U.S. Federal government. The company was founded with a simple objective: Provide services and products that make veteran’s lives better. SDV Office Systems is one of the fastest growing startups in the Asheville area. Dan is a leader among the community of startup founders. He welcomes people in, shows up for other founders in their successes and difficult moments, and is a rock of support for many other founders. All this makes Dan a stand out individual.

Family Business Award – Biltmore

Presented by UNC Asheville Family Business Forum

The Family Business of the Year Award recognizes a family-owned business for their contributions to the community and success as a family-owned enterprise. This year’s award goes to Biltmore. Biltmore has been an anchor in our community for 128 years – from private home to major tourist destination. Fourth and fifth generation family members are now involved in the business with the mission of preserving the privately-held estate for generations to come.

When Mr. Bill Cecil took over running the Biltmore House in the early 1970s, it was not a hot tourist attraction. One of the many things he did was advertise outside of the region. He embraced many new ideas for business and would often say, “If you want a second opinion, ask me again.” Preserving Biltmore encompasses more than restoration projects; it involves providing authentic experiences and Vanderbilt-inspired hospitality to guests. The ongoing story of Biltmore is carried forward by the next generation of the family, led by Bill Cecil, Jr., and Dini Cecil Pickering, with the support of the in-house conservation department and dedicated employees.