Awards presented, new members introduced at chamber annual meeting

Asia Ashley Staff Writer

January 16, 2014

The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce celebrated a “5 star” year at the 2014 annual membership meeting Wednesday morning.

“The last time we gathered for breakfast in 2013, we announced that the Chamber had received a 5-star accreditation from the U.S Chamber of Commerce, placing us in the top one percent of chambers across the United States,” said chamber chairman, Scott Landa.

To highlight the achievement, Landa noted that of the 7,077 chambers of commerce in the U.S. , only 222 are accredited, with only 79 of those being 5-star accredited.

“Thanks to efforts of our board, staff and all of you in this room, we’ve come a long way,” said Landa. “We connected, engaged and activated our community.”

Landa acknowledged all chamber sponsors, elected guests, members and other leaders in the community.

In other chamber highlights from 2013, more than 500 graduated through the Leadership Troup program, the activation of issues regarding education funding and West Point Lake, the launch of programs to assist in recruiting individuals, families and business to Troup County and the launch of a campaign that raised $175,000 for facility and technology improvements and to create a reserve fund.

Fifty-four members were added to the chamber within the year, ending the year with 900 members.

Two awards were presented to during the meeting.

The Ida Tarver Jones Volunteer of the Year Award, was presented to Otto Korth, who has attended more than 92 percent of chamber ribbon-cutting ceremonies, business after hours and other events and had made more than 150 retention calls to chamber members, said Landa.

Kay Durand was presented the Jane Fryer Award, an award that recognizes a member of the chamber community who has gone the extra mile to get involved in programs and activities that benefit the community.

A few new chamber board member was introduced by past chairman Bill Stump, with Robby Burch, of Interface, as chair; Libby Willingham, of the Mallory Agency as chair-elect and vice chair for public affairs; Grey Bell, of J.K. Boatwright, as secretary and treasurer; and Landa as the immediate past chair.

“I am very humbled to serve as your chair,” said Burch. “I challenge us to remember the fundamental values that a century of volunteers have used as our guiding principle- to put faith, family and the future of our community first and to do business with unquestioned integrity.

House representative Randy Nix introduced the guest speaker Tim Elmore, founder and president of “Growing Leaders,” a non-profit organization created to equip students and recent college graduates to think and act as servant leaders.

The chamber also announced that a new quarterly magazine, “Troup Trends,” will be written, designed and published by the chamber staff. The magazine will entail Troup County business news and a feature story on a nonprofit and for profit chamber business. The first issue is expected to be delivered in early March and will contain features on the Salvation Army and Curve of LaGrange.