The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated 113 years of serving the business community at its Annual Meeting presented by Carolina First Bank on Monday, June 21, at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. Awards presented included two HomeTrust Bank Small Business Leader of the Year Awards (one for 15 or less employees and one for 16 or more employees), the Webb Investment Services ATHENA Award, Asheville Savings Bank Excellence in Public Service Award, Mission Hospitals Good Health – Good Business Award, the William A.V. Cecil Leadership Award, and the Four Season’s Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award.
Small Business Leader of the Year Awards are presented each year to two individuals who reflect quality and dedication in their business operations and who are accomplished leaders in innovation, initiative, and civic responsiveness. Bob Kendrick, owner of Kendrick & Associates, received the award for Small Business Leader of the Year in the category, “15 or Fewer Employees.” Michael Shore, partner of FLS Energy, was recognized as the Small Business Leader of the Year in the category, “16 or More Employees.” HomeTrust Bank sponsored the Small Business Leader of the Year Awards and Dana Stonestreet, President, made the presentations.
The ATHENA Award is presented annually to a woman or man who has attained the highest level of professional excellence in business, and who has served as an advocate for women in business. Celeste Collins, Executive Director of OnTrack Financial Services, was the recipient of this year’s honor. Webb Investment Services sponsored the ATHENA Award and President Laura Webb made the presentation.
The William A.V. Cecil Leadership Award recognizes a leader of the tourism industry in the Asheville area. Mark Rosenstein was recognized this year. Rosenstein is the former owner of the Marketplace Restaurant and served on the Tourism Development Authority board for eight years. The award was presented by Michel Baudouin, owner of Bouchon French Bistro and the Chamber’s Vice-Chair for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Asheville Savings Bank Excellence in Public Service Award was presented to Pat Smith, retired Executive Director of The Community Foundation. The Excellence in Public Service award recognizes an individual that demonstrates lifelong service and exceptional leadership skills which have positively impacted the Asheville area. Suzanne DeFerie, President and CEO of Asheville Savings Bank, presented the award.
The Mission Hospitals Good Health-Good Business Award recognizes an outstanding senior management level individual in the Asheville business community that demonstrates service and exceptional leadership resulting in improved health of the Asheville community. The award was presented to Wilma Sherrill, former state representative, for her efforts in Raleigh to raise the money for the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness at UNC – Asheville. Janice Brumit, Vice Chair of the Mission Hospital board, presented the award.
The final award of the evening was the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award presented by Four Seasons to Pat Fugate Hock, of Progress Energy. Hock served as a co-chair of the Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign this year which successfully raised over $425,000 to support Chamber programs. Hock has been a member of the Total Resource Campaign cabinet for eight years and has been one of the top fund raisers every year. The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented by the President & CEO of Four Seasons, Chris Comeaux.
Also during the evening’s program the Chamber recognized the contributions and leadership of Chamber President & CEO, Richard Lutovsky. Earlier this year Lutovsky announced his retirement plans for September of 2010 when he will complete ten years as the Chamber President. Lutovsky’s decade of service was recognized by many community leaders including City of Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Buncombe County Commission Chair David Gantt. Lutovsky was joined at the dinner by his wife, Janna; mother in law, Mrs. Janet McCoy; daughter, Mrs. Kelly McCracken, and granddaughter, Maya.