Dr. William Bloodworth, the president of Augusta State University, can be extra proud of one of the university's alumni, Tommy Norris.
Prudential Insurance agent Tommy Norris won the Small Business Person of the Year award from the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the chamber's Ambassador Board.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Norris, an insurance broker, was awarded the Small Business Person of the Year award from the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce at an Aug. 29 ceremony in conjunction with the Small Business Celebration Business-to-Business Expo.
Bloodworth was one of a few that nominated Norris for the award.
"I am pleased that Tommy Norris has been awarded the Small Business person of the Year award," Bloodworth said. "He is a great alumnus of Augusta State University and a very personable fellow."
Norris never thought he would win as he held his competition in high regard.
"Looking at the competition in this thing, two guys, I was so impressed with their applications and PowerPoint presentations, I didn't think I had any chances of winning," Norris said. "I was surprised. I did not expect to win."
But the long-time Prudential agent did just that.
Norris joined the chamber shortly after following his 28-year Prudential Financial veteran uncle into the business in 1987. In the midst of congratulations at Norris's high school graduation, this uncle leaned in and whispered that if he ever wanted to get into the insurance business to give him a call.
After four years of college and a year of graduate school, Norris decided to join the business at age 22.
"I was fortunate to get into a career at such a young age," Norris said.
Norris's primary affiliation is with Prudential, but he represents clients as a broker through many insurance company relationships. He provides insurance services including life, disability, long-term care and group insurance and investment services including 401K plans, mutual funds, annuities and IRAs.
Before Norris joined the chamber, he attended a few meetings and saw people such as E.G. Meybohm, the president of Meybohm Realtors, and John Pierce Blanchard, and knew he needed to be a part of the chamber, too.
"I always thought you should model yourself after successful people," Norris said. "Seeing all of them in there impressed on me how important the chamber is."
The award was based on many criteria and decided by a committee within the chamber members. Norris figures his chamber and community activities weighed heavily as he had very qualified competition.
He is a member of the chamber's Ambassador Board, where established members take on new members in a type of mentoring program to show them around and introduce them to other members of the chamber. Networking is an important part of the chamber, Norris said.
"The chamber is all about promoting business in the Augusta area," Norris said.
Norris has won numerous awards including the Southeast Georgia Outstanding First Year Agent Award, the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table, which is only 5-percent of insurance agents nationwide and the 2000 Real Life Stories Client Service Award, which goes to agents whose service makes a real difference in the lives of their clients.
Norris is a former Harlem city council member and is a 13-year member of the Martinez-Evans Rotary Club and a member of the Augusta Estate Planning Council.
"I know that he has worked hard at his business," Bloodworth said. "He has worked very hard in his business. We are just very pleased that the award went to Tommy Norris."
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