Chamber honors members of the community with three awards during annual small business celebration
On Thursday, the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce honored three members of the business community at the annual Small Business Awards Celebration for their contributions to the area and their encouragement of the local economy.
The evening, hosted by Decatur Country Club and presented by Redstone Federal Credit Union, is held in conjunction with National Small Business Week – an initiative lead by the U.S. Small Business Administration to encourage and highlight small business and entrepreneurialism. Bill Johnson, president and CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority, served as the keynote speaker and discussed the connection between the work of the utility provider he leads and the small business end user. He also reflected on the historical connection between the work of TVA and the development of the Tennessee River through Decatur. The founder of the Chamber, the late Barrett C. Shelton, Sr., was instrumental in the recruiting of TVA to the area to provide service to a growing industrial base. Three awards were presented during the dinner.
The Raymon Baker - John Cook - Ralph Jones Small Business Person of the Year award was presented to Henry Bowman, president and owner of C & L Wood Products of Hartselle. Bowman has been president since 1996, assuming the role after founder Lewis Wilson retired. A former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and commercial banker, Bowman has tripled the size of the company in 18 years. C & L currently manufactures more than 20,000 pallets and recycles more than 2,500 cubic yards of solid wood waste each week. The company employs a team of 63 at their 50-acre location.
The Lynn C. Fowler Non-Profit Professional of the Year award was presented to Larry Waye, executive director of the Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center in Decatur. He has been the director of the "E-Center" since 2010 and leads the organization whose mission is to encourage, enthuse and empower new and small businesses as tenants and non-tenants of the E-Center facility and to ensure successful start-up and continued growth. The center provides business start-up classes, business and personal finance instruction and is the local organizer for Leadercast – an annual international leadership conference broadcast to locations around the world that focuses on leadership growth and development.
The Arthur Orr Young Professional of the Year award was presented to Brian Cook, chief administrative officer of Cook's Pest Control and museum board president for the Cook Museum of Natural Science. Cook's Pest Control operates in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee with more than 1,400 employees and 32 district offices and provides full-service pest control for homeowners, businesses and builders. Previous to being CAO, Cook served as director of business development. In his role with the museum, he is leading the transition of the current museum to a new 35,000 square foot facility located in downtown Decatur. The new museum is scheduled to open in late 2015.
For a gallery of images from the event, click here.