Pierce Blanchard took home the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce's top prize Monday during the organization's annual banquet at Augusta's Doubletree Hotel, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.
"There is no greater award than a community service award given by an organization dedicated to serving the community," Blanchard said of the honor in an acceptance speech.
Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include state Sen. Bill Jackson; Jefferson Hardin, who was instrumental in establishing the Columbia County Library; and George Duehring, area franchiser of Zaxby's restaurants.
"No matter what kind of day you've had, when you run into him, you're having a good day," Duehring said of Blanchard.
In addition to Blanchard, others county business leaders were recognized Monday.
The award for Entrepreneur of the Year, which recognizes businesses with fewer than 20 employees, went to Robert Amos of Cartridge World.
A former plant manager in North Carolina, Amos started Cartridge World in Evans four years ago with his son. Since that time, he has been very active with the Chamber.
Augusta accounting firm The Cleveland Group won Business of the Year, which recognizes companies with 20 or more employees.
The company supports numerous charities and encourages employees to become active with their communities.
Augusta Magazine's Adriene Goldman and attorney Sue Reimer were named Ambassador and Diplomat of the Year, respectively.
"The Ambassadors are charged with mentoring new members through their first year of membership with the Chamber," said Karen Chrjapin, executive director of the Chamber. "The diplomats take over where the ambassadors leave off."
Ambassadors and diplomats work as liaisons between Chamber staff and its more than 700 members.
"It's hard to have a one-on-one relationship with that many people, so we rely on the ambassadors and diplomats to be the face of the Chamber to members," Chrjapin said.
Greg Baker of Computer Masters was named Volunteer of the Year.
"The Chamber is made up of volunteers and they're the ones who make it so successful," said last year's recipient, Pat Goodwin.
In her State of the Chamber address, Chrjapin said the Chamber held 50 ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies in 2008. It also added 135 new members.
"We've held on very well considering the current economic climate," she said.
During the past year, the Chamber instituted a program to welcome county newcomers with a gift bag of treats and coupons from area businesses, sponsored Columbia County Day at the Capital, and started a Web-based business guide.
In the coming year, Chrjapin said Chamber leaders hope to initiate a drive to add home-based businesses to the Chamber, start a Leadership Columbia County program, and create a committee on workplace development.
Were you Spotted at the 2009 Columbia County Chamber Annual Banquet
Click here to find out
View and share photos FREE at spotted.augusta.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.