99th Annual Meeting Awards & Recognition
W.G. Mealor Chairman’s Award
The W.G. Mealor Chairman’s Award is presented each year by the Greater Hall Chamber Chairman in special recognition of someone who has served their community and the Greater Hall Chamber with exceptional leadership and volunteerism. W.G. Mealor, the namesake for this award, was a man of great vision, leadership, and ethics in this community. Mr. Mealor served as the Chamber’s first President/Chairman from 1908 to 1917 as well as Mayor of the City of Gainesville.
This year, the Mealor Award was presented to a special individual whose leadership over the past several years has been outstanding. Benny Bagwell, Jackson EMC, a former Chamber Chairman, was presented the award by Chairman Jimmy Adams. Adams used the term “right hand man” to describe Bagwell, as he was always there to be a part of the team, to lead or follow, on big projects or small projects. “Benny is the ‘go-to man’ to get something done,” said Adams. “He works behind the scenes and up front when needed.” Benny Bagwell will assume the role of chairman of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council for 2007-2008.
Casey Cagle Receives Distinguished Citizen Award
Hall County native and Georgia’s first Republican Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award at the Greater Hall Chamber’s 99th Annual Meeting and Gala. Greater Hall Chamber Board member and Gainesville businessman Philip Wilheit of Wilheit Packaging presented the award.
During his first session as Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle has already made an impact through his leadership skills, consensus building and bi-partisanship attitude. Friend and supporter Philip Wilheit noted during the award presentation, “Casey has reached out across the aisle to the Democrats, giving them committee chairmanships and putting them on the more important committees. He has demonstrated that he does not care which party a good idea comes from, as he will support it and give credit where credit is due.” He has also exhibited great statesmanship during this first session. Even well known Democratic columnist Bill Shipp, who referred to Casey as “Casey who?” just two years ago, now acknowledges his statesmanship abilities.
A graduate of Johnson High School and a seventh generation Hall County resident, Cagle is a self-made business leader in the real estate and banking industries who bought his first business at the age of 20, a retail clothing store, which he later expanded to multiple locations. He was one of the driving forces behind the founding of Southern Heritage Bank in 1999. In 1994, at age 28, Cagle ran for the Georgia Senate in a district that included Hall County and parts of Dawson and Forsyth counties and became the youngest member of the State Senate. He was re-elected five times and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2006. ltgov.georgia.gov
Small Business of the Year
Broughton Cochran is a longtime builder, real estate developer and investor in the Gainesville-Hall County community. He is owner and president of Sunrise Home Builders, Inc. as well as Cochran Properties, Inc. and has interests in other real estate development companies that have holdings throughout North Georgia.
Sunrise Home Builders was founded in 1988 by Broughton and his wife, Regina, as a provider of affordable housing for families in North Georgia. Since that time Sunrise has built hundreds of homes in North East Georgia and in the Atlanta area. From the beginning as an affordable home builder, the company has evolved into building homes in multiple price ranges and into a variety of real estate development and management activities. Sunrise has provided many jobs in the Gainesville-Hall County area and has had an economic impact of well over $250 million on the local economy.
Broughton has served in numerous governmental advisory positions for future land use policies and development standards with both the City of Gainesville and Hall County. He is an active member of the Gainesville-Hall County Home Builders Association, having served on its board of directors for many years. Broughton is a longtime member of the Greater Hall Chamber and currently serves on the Board of Directors. He has also served in various positions with the Home Builders Association of Georgia and the National Association of Home Builders, including Chairman of the National Rural Housing Council. He serves on various local committees that relate to housing.
Broughton is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BBA in finance. The Cochrans are member of First Baptist Church of Gainesville. Broughton and Regina have two daughters, Christina White and Julie Cochran, and have called Gainesville home for 30 years. Julie joined the family business in 2004 and is aggressively pursuing a career in real estate development and home building.
Sunrise Home Builders, 219 Boulevard NE, Gainesville GA 30501. 770-535-2669.
Slack Auto Parts is Family Business of the Year
Slack Auto Parts Company was founded in 1928 by William H. Slack, Jr. in Gainesville. Slack is remembered as a fair-minded businessman who took a hands-on approach to running the vehicle replacement parts company. As he developed the organization, Slack opened multiple locations in the Northeast Georgia market.
After his death in 1971, his son, William H. “Bill” Slack, III, assumed the helm of the company. Under his direction, the company continued to expand its customer base in Hall and adjoining counties. Recognizing the opportunity to enter the heavy duty truck parts market, the company opened Truck Parts Warehouse in 1977. In addition, the company developed an automotive paint and refinishing business in the 1990s and continued to expand and prosper in a strongly competitive industry.
Today, after eight decades, Slack Auto Parts continues to operate vehicle replacement parts facilities as well as the truck parts and automotive machine shop located in Gainesville. In addition, the company entered the motorcycle repair and service business by establishing Gainesville Cycle and ATV in 2006.
Bill Slack III is semi-retired and has handed the operations of the company to his son, Henry. Henry continues the progress initiated by his father and grandfather and oversees 87 employees and eight stores in Northeast Georgia. Now celebrating its 80th Anniversary, the company continues its dedication to customers by providing excellent service and maintaining its involvement as an outstanding community citizen.
Slack Auto Parts, 404 Main Street SW, Gainesville, GA 30501. 770-535-6000. slackautoparts.com
Silver Shovel Award Winners
Recognition of 2006-2007 Silver Shovel Award Winners took place at the 99th Annual Meeting and Gala. The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce has hundreds of volunteers that work and support committees and programs for business during the year. Eleven individuals were honored with the Chamber’s Silver Shovel Award and each was presented with an engraved plaque.
Harris Blackwood, The Times
As a business reporter for The Times, Harris provides consistent and excellent coverage of Greater Hall Chamber programs and events. His support of the business community continues to keep readers informed on economic development and quality of life issues. This year Harris served as auctioneer for the Business & Healthcare Expo Auction. Harris has been a positive participant in VISION 2030.
Ross Davis, Pro Therapy
Ross currently serves as co-chair of the Greater Hall Chamber’s Quality Education Strategy Team (QuEST) Council. He serves as a mentor in the Youth Apprenticeship Program through his company, Pro Therapy, and is also active in the Youth Leadership Hall programs as a facilitator.
Rob Hulon, Stork Food Systems
Manufacturing Engineering Supervisor for Stork Food Systems, Ron has been involved with the Chamber’s Quality Education Strategy Team (QUEST) Council for the last five years, serving the last two as co-chairman. He has served on various committees involving manufacturing in Hall County Schools and served as a Youth Leadership Hall program facilitator.
Tami Lee, Brenau University
Tami has been involved as a Chamber volunteer for many years. Currently, she is co-chairman of the Annual Meeting & Gala Committee and co-chairman of the Ambassador Council. She has served on the Business Expo Committee and the Hackers Holiday Golf Tournament Committee and is a newly elected member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
Butch Miller, Milton Martin Honda
A member of the Greater Hall Chamber Board of Directors, Butch served as co-chairman of the Chamber’s Annual Membership Blitz this year. The membership drive was the most successful in Chamber history bringing in 132 new members. Butch and business partner, Jim Foote, are prior recipients of the Small Business of the Year Award and serve the community through involvement with many non-profit and charitable organizations, including VISION 2030, Partners in Education and Youth Leadership Hall.
Linda Pryor, Hall County Government
With over 20 years of experience in human resources management and consulting, Linda serves as Compensation and Benefits Manager for Hall County. She has provided her knowledge and assisted with the details and analysis of the Chamber’s Wage and Benefit Survey for six years. Through her contributions, the response rate for the annual survey has continually increased making it a valuable document for local employers.
Will Schofield, Hall County School System
Consistently supportive of Chamber initiatives, Will Schofield has provided leadership in the area of education as part of the VISION 2030 program and the Education SPLOST initiative. He serves on the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council and has volunteered his time and energies to economic development efforts in the area of workforce development. He has represented education in Hall County among prospective employers.
Dave Simpson, Simpson Custom Photography
A talented professional photographer, Dave Simpson has provided the Chamber with ongoing coverage of events and offered volunteer photography for several years. He is a past chairman of the Ambassador Council, and this year served on the Business Expo & Healthcare Committee and the Hackers Holiday Golf Tournament Committee.
Jeanne Smith, Chamber Volunteer
With a great knowledge of the community, Jeanne has graciously served the Greater Hall Chamber as a volunteer information specialist. She has greeted visitors, answered the phone and distributed countless brochures and information for over 11 years.
Darrell Snyder, Georgia Power Company
Current Vice Chairman of the Education and Community Development Division, Darrell has showed his leadership skills and commitment to education with involvement in the Chamber’s Partners in Education program, the Youth Apprentice program and Youth Leadership Hall. He is a member of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council and serves on the VISION 2030 Board and the Chamber Board of Directors.
Ben Williams, Jordan Jones & Goulding
Ben has served as chairman of the Chamber’s Issues/Infrastructure Committee and as co-chair of the Transportation Task Force, 129S Action Committee Member. He is a member of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council and lends his engineering expertise to support economic development and our community.
Community Service Award
The Ronnie Green Heart Center at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center was recognized for outstanding community service as the recipient of the Greater Hall Chamber’s Annual Community Service Award. Jim Gardner, President of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center & Health System, Tom Edwards, Director of Cardiac Services and Lynda Adams, Service Line Director, accepted the award at the 99th Annual Meeting and Gala.
The Ronnie Green Heart Center is ranked among the top five percent in the nation for Overall Cardiac Care, Cardiac Surgery and Coronary Interventional Procedures by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent healthcare ratings company. The exceptional quality of care provided at the Ronnie Green Heart Center continues to place the program among the top hospitals in the region, the state and the nation.
In 2007, the Ronnie Green Heart Center was ranked # 1 in Georgia and received the HealthGrades 2007 Cardiac Care Excellence Award. The Center was established over five years ago through a generous gift from Frank & Lillie Mae Green of Gainesville in memory of their son, Ronnie. The Center’s 17-bed inpatient unit has served over 10,000 coronary inpatients and over 3,000 cardiac surgical patients. Services provided at The Ronnie Green Heart Center include care of inpatients recovering from open-heart surgery, cardiac interventions such as angioplasty and stent placement and other coronary events.