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FEATURE: Savannah Chamber Honors Business Leaders at Annual Dinner


PHOTO:  Business leaders honored by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce at their annual Business Awards Banquet.

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

September 13, 2018 - The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce honored local businesses Thursday evening at its annual Business Awards Banquet, held at the newly renovated Kehoe Iron Works at Trustees’ Garden.

Each year, the Chamber recognizes standout Chamber members who are leaders in the community, and honors individuals and businesses that represent local economic drivers including hospitality, manufacturing and small business. 

The 2018 award recipients are:

•   Hospitality Business of the Year Award: Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

Presented to a business that demonstrates how to be a true steward and host. The business should embody the spirit of service so much that its guests visit again, relocate here and/or tell their family, friends and colleagues about the city. Nominees should also be engaged in social responsibility, while contributing to the community by staying up-to-date with tourism trends by educating potential visitors about all Savannah has to offer. Examples of potential award recipients include hotels, museums, art galleries, restaurants, tour companies and retail establishments.

•    Environmental Excellence Award: Kerry, Inc.

Presented to a manufacturing company that has demonstrated outstanding performance in its efforts to maintain a quality environment for Savannah in 2017. Examples of the criteria for the award include achievement in any of the following areas: reduction of emissions, pollution prevention projects, reduction in hazardous waste generated, reduction in usage/storage of EHS chemicals, water conservation, waste recycling, special products.

•     Manufacturer’s Safety Award: EMD Performance Materials, Corp.

Presented to the member company that has the best total OSHA Incidence Rate for 2017.

•     Entrepreneur of the Year: Cecilia Russo, Cecilia Russo Marketing

Celebrates those who are building and leading growing and dynamic businesses. This award is presented to an individual whose creative vision, talent and innovative thinking develops opportunities for growth not just in business, but community-wide. This entrepreneur demonstrates the ability to persevere in the face of adversity and overcome obstacles, learn from experience, foster teamwork and build loyalty.

•      Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award: Mike Traynor, Publisher, Savannah Morning News

Helen V. Head was the first female board chair of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, who is known for believing in and supporting small business. She was the first recipient of the Chamber’s Athena Award for the achievements as a woman in business. While the Chamber board chair in 1993, Head owned and operated a successful CPA firm, while still finding time to give back to the community by serving on numerous boards and councils. The Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award goes to an individual who exemplifies dedication to the community while being a true advocate for local small business. Candidates’ businesses must have been established for a minimum of three years.

•      Gulfstream Community Involvement Award: Critz Auto Group

Presented to a company that conducted an outstanding community outreach project during 2017. The activities can vary to include involvement with a partnership school, company involvement in coordination of a fundraising event for a charitable organization, ongoing community relations efforts, open house programs for community, educating the public regarding an issue of concern, or any other project that encouraged interaction between the nominated business and the community.

•     World Trade Center International Business of the Year Award: DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Recognizes a company that excels in international trade and acknowledges the importance it has on our entire economy and region. This award is presented to recognize exemplary corporate leadership for international business that advances relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as creates quality jobs in the Savannah area.

•     Cornerstone Award: Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Recognizes a non-profit company whose mission directly supports Savannah’s business community. It is intended to represent, recognize and encourage a non-profit partnership to result in a richer, better trained and more diverse and inclusive human resource pool.

•      Small Business of the Year Award: Infinity, Inc.

Presented to a company that has achieved success in its business through growth and quality performance, innovative efforts and active participation in the community. All nominees must be owner, partner or a major shareholder of a business in the Savannah area and must be active in the day-to-day operations of the business. The individual should act as an advocate of his or her trade by participation in trade associations and community activities, as they will serve as an ambassador for small, local business owners during the year in which the award is received. Companies must have been established for a minimum of three years, with fewer than 50 employees and sales not exceeding $7 million.

The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce is a business organization managed by a volunteer board of directors. The Chamber encompasses Visit Savannah, Ambassadors Council, the CEO Council, Savannah Sports Council, Governmental Affairs Council, LaunchSAVANNAH, Leadership Savannah, Manufacturers and Distributors Council, Military Affairs Council, Owner’s Council, Public Relations Council, Savannah Compact Education Council, Small Business Council, Trustees Council and Visit Tybee.

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  3. Mar. 27 – Applications for Leadership Savannah 2017-2018 to open April 1
  4. Mar. 22 - Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce’s Oyster Roast Business Connection this Thurs. March 23
  5. Mar. 6 – Savannah Chamber’s Small Business Council luncheon and ‘After Hours’ events March 14
  6. Jan. 22 – Savannah-Chatham Day this Thursday at the Georgia State House
  7. Savannah Chamber Releases its 2016 Legislative Agenda for upcoming session at annual 'Eggs & Issues'
  8. June 14 - The 2016 Business Expo & Awards Banquet this Thursday; Be sure to visit exhibitors
  9. June 2 - Savannah Chamber honors local Military leaders at Appreciation Luncheon
  10. May 27 - Leadership Savannah Applications for 2016-2017 Class due June 13
  11. May 7 – Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s ‘GEORGIA 2030 TOUR’ will head to Savannah June 7
  12. Apr. 6 - 2016 Business Expo & Awards Banquet announced for June 16 in Savannah
  13. Apr. 1 – Chamber of Commerce welcomes nominations for Savannah Chamber’s 2016 Business Awards
  14. Jan. 1 - Terry College's Economic Outlook Luncheon this Weds. Jan. 20 in Savannah; other dates around the state, as wel
  15. Dec. 4 - Savannah Tire Hockey Classic Tickets now available
  16. Dec. 4 - Small Business Chamber to host Annual Holiday Breakfast meeting Dec. 8
  17. Nov. 30 – Whip Triplett to become new Chairman at Savannah Chamber’s 209th Annual Mtg. Dec. 11
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  19. Savannah Chamber of Commerce releases its Legislative Agenda for 2016 session
  20. Nov. 10 – Savannah Chamber to host ‘Eggs & Issues’ Legislative Breakfast Nov. 19

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