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For the second year in a row, the Grand Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce was forced to scramble to deliver its annual Business Excellence Program.
Both times the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for the difficulties, although this year the chamber was able to award the awards at normal time – at the end of March – when the organization held a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday evening. to announce the winners.
In fact, those who won had received their awards earlier in the month, with the chamber making these presentations in person and filming the presentations, which were then included in the online program that aired on the chamber’s YouTube channel on Tuesday night. .
“The chamber congratulates all of the recipients of our 2021 Business Excellence Awards,” said Randy Collins, President and CEO of the chamber. “The committee had a difficult job reviewing a large number of applicants. This group of winners represents the best of our business community. “
The winners in each category were:
• Longevity in Business Award – Secure Communications. Incorporated in 1951, Surry Communications offered its first dial tone service to 192 members in November 1954. By 1957, three more exchanges were in operation, with members served to over 1,100 members. Initially, members used the party line service, with four contacts per line. With four exchanges covering rural areas of Surry and Stokes counties, this company had six employees and two service trucks headquartered jointly with the Dobson Electric Co-op. In 1958, direct long distance service was introduced and by the end of that decade the co-op served 1,569 members.
Seventy years later, the company has expanded to a network that includes 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable serving over 12,230 customers and 1,310 businesses in Surry, Stokes and Davidson counties with Internet, telephone, television, security and more.
• Ambassador of the Year Award – Robin Edwards. Each year, the chamber chooses an Ambassador as its Ambassador of the Year. “This year’s winner is an excellent choice. She is dedicated, hardworking and believes in what the bedroom is all about, ”said the presentation with the award. “Whenever the ambassadors get together, you can find her there. A unique service that she provides as an Ambassador really shows her passion. When visiting her assigned members, she often brings a bag of goodies, filled with small gifts and candy. This type of service to chamber members (which she did on her own) makes them feel good about the organization.
• Administrative Professional of the Year Award – Debbie Benge, who serves as Executive Assistant to Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Puckett, as well as the Board of Directors of Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation.
“One of his greatest strengths is his ability to adapt to any situation and think quickly and effectively to resolve any problem that is posed to him,” said the presentation notes for his award. “She remains calm in all situations, whether it be major breakdowns, board meetings or other tasks at the same time… She is always more than willing to help her colleagues in different departments. to accomplish whatever the task of the cooperative. . She has a very broad set of skills and knowledge from the different roles she has held… ”
• Outstanding Public Service Award – Traci George. The presentation notes used extensively a recent Mount Airy News article on George, which describes how she got involved in helping children and the homeless. She has done a tremendous job helping the homeless locally and has led other projects that have included helping patients at Brenner Children’s Hospital, helping to start a mentorship program for local students, campaigning to provide coats to those in need, chairing the Walk for Babies and Continued.
“Community service has been a part of her life from an early age. The public service is who it is, ”say the notes.
• Tourism Excellence Award – Wedding and Wedding Venue at White Sulfur Springs.
“One of the challenges in our region is limited meeting space and event venues. That changed recently with the addition of a whole new venue, with an old name, ”said the room’s presentation. Spread over 15 acres, the resort town of White Sulfur Springs, whose origins date back to the 1880s, now offers a venue for weddings and events.
“Just minutes from downtown Mount Airy, it offers couples and their guests a secluded space to celebrate in the heart of the North Carolina wine country. It offers a range of event spaces, equipment and accommodation to create moments full of magic.
• Agribusiness of the Year Award – Round Peak Vineyards.
“Agriculture has been part of Surry County for many years. There are many family and corporate farms still operating in our region, ”noted the presentation of the chamber.
“A couple from Ohio moved to Charlotte in 2000 and loved their new home. As life sometimes takes you in a different direction, the couple eventually moved to California in 2006. On the West Coast, they fell in love with touring wineries and tasting great California wines. They particularly liked the small family vineyards. In 2008, they were fortunate enough to return to North Carolina, quit the corporate world and buy a local winery called Round Peak Vineyards… In addition to wine, they produce some great craft beers under the label. Skull Camp. The winery hosts many events and has become a popular gathering place for locals and tourists.
• Business and Education Partner Award – North Regional Hospital.
“Ranked as the third largest employer in Surry County, it is no surprise that this organization is heavily involved in providing unique educational opportunities to youth in our community,” the chamber said. “In addition to supporting technical and career student organizations such as HOSA, they have a long history of matchmaking, clinical hours, certifications, internships and pre-apprenticeship. Health science students had direct contact with staff and administration through class visits, special events and regional competitions. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many of these activities for now, they remain committed to promoting local talent through employment opportunities and the introduction of new scholarships.
• Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award – The Surry Sunrise Rotary Club.
This group has been involved in many projects over the years, here are a few: Feeding the Hungry Through School Backpack Programs; funding of equipment for local firefighters, police and rescue personnel; blood drives for the American Red Cross; pick up litter in the community; raise funds for public schools; deceive or treat family events on Halloween; the creation of a new dog park in Mount Airy; a pigeon race for children; and others.
• Pandemic Leadership Award – Surry Health and Nutrition Center was selected as the recipient of this new award added in 2021.
“It appears the whole country has rallied against COVID-19,” the chamber said. “The federal government started working with every state, and then in turn, every state started organizing local towns and counties to fight this pandemic… From the start it became clear that this was about ‘a public health emergency. Federal government agencies linked to state departments of health. From there, it became clear that members, local health departments across the country would lead the charge. For Surry County, that meant the Surry Health and Nutrition Center.
“When the pandemic was upon us, Surry County’s health and nutrition took action,” posting backgrounders on the website to educate the public; provide regular information to citizens, businesses and organizations on the state of the pandemic; coordination of personal protective equipment for all groups; coordination of services to vulnerable populations; manage hourly, daily and weekly updates; coordination of a vast vaccination program for thousands of citizens.
“All of this was done while making their regular long list of services provided to citizens. The Surry Health and Nutrition Center operated at a very high standard and went above and beyond the call of duty during a national public health emergency.
• Company of the Year Award – Xtreme Marketing.
“There are many things that a business owner needs to be successful. You need to have a business plan, understand sales, finance, human resources, and more. Marketing is an area that successful businesses need to master. Our Company of the Year winner knows marketing inside and out, ”the chamber said.
Founded in 2001, Xtreme Marketing is a full-service marketing agency, providing design, printing, vehicle wrapping, engraving, manufacturing, trade show displays, custom vehicles, logistics, brand education, social media solutions and more.
“The owner of the company has had a long and successful career in the military and is proud that his organization is a certified veteran-owned business. This company has clients across the country including Jack Daniels, Korbel, Charles Schwab, Coca Cola, the PGA Tour and Dell, to name a few, ”the chamber said.
“When the pandemic struck in March 2020, this company was one of the first to look to other lines of business. They developed their own plastic face shield that could be used by medical staff and others to protect them from the virus. They have sold many shields across the country, but they have also donated them to nonprofits and healthcare groups in our community. The owners have a passion for their business but also a great passion for their community.