EASLEY — The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 68th annual meeting at Tri-County Technical College’s Easley Campus, taking the time to honor and recognize several businesses and individuals for their leadership, business success, and community service.
S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster delivered the keynote address to over 100 business leaders in attendance.
“It’s an honor to recognize the success and contributions of local business leaders. Leaders such as these contribute to building the solid foundation for long-term community growth and sustainability,” said Cindy Hopkins, president of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce. “We offer our sincere gratitude for the commitment of these individuals who serve as an example for all of us.”
Three awards were presented for volunteer leadership to the Chamber.
Jeff Kittle with SERVPRO of Pickens County was honored as the 2015 Ambassador of the Year for his work in assisting the chamber with membership retention efforts.
Kittle has served on the chamber’s Ambassador Committee for three years, as well as actively supports many of the chamber’s events and programs.
The 2015 Director of the Year was awarded to Jim Wilson of Easley Downtown Investments. As a member of the Easley Chamber Board of Directors,
Wilson was recognized for his leadership in guiding the development of the chamber’s new strategic plan.
Johnny Harvin with State Farm Insurance was honored as the Powdersville Business Council (PBC) Advisory Member of the Year.
Serving on the PBC Advisory Board since January 2014, Harvin was recognized for his leadership in spearheading efforts to provide greater support for the annual Saluda River Rally at Dolly Cooper Park in Powdersville.
As part of the celebration, Duke Energy also presented its annual Citizenship and Service Award, which honors an individual who uses their time, talents and passion to set a standard and foster a culture for citizenship, service and community responsibility for others.
Mayor Larry D. Bagwell was presented the 2015 Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award, recognizing his long-time service to the City of Easley.
A native of Easley, he served the School District of Pickens County for 30 year as a teacher, as well as head football coach and Athletic Director at Easley High School for 25 years. In 1979, he turned his attention to public office and was elected to Easley City Council, where he served as councilman for 28 years until being elected as mayor in 2007.
He has continued to serve as mayor for two terms, and in January, was sworn in for his third term.
In addition, four small business awards were presented by Sam’s Cub to recognize local business achievement.
Blue Lion Digital was honored as the 2016 Small Business of the Year.
Established in 2012 by Bryan Owens, this small business specializes in branding, web design, and social media marketing, and works primarily with other small businesses and non-profit organizations in the Pickens County area.
In addition to the success of his business, Owens was commended for his strong sense of business ethics, attention to detail, and his personal leadership in promoting Pickens County and serving many local charitable organizations.
The recipient of the 2016 Non-Profit of the Year was SHINE Soup Kitchen. Founded in 2004 by Judy Burns, SHINE (Stop Hunger In Easley) serves as the only soup kitchen in Pickens County. Located in The Dream Center, SHINE provides a hot meal for those less fortunate every weekday.
As of January 2016, total meals served have exceeded 140,000 meals with volunteers donating over 40,000 hours annually.
Kyle Porter with Titan Termite and Pest Control Service was honored as the 2016 Young Professional of the Year.
Porter was recognized as a successful young entrepreneur, but also for his service to the local community.
He volunteers with Leadership Pickens County, Bates Masonic Lodge in Easley, Easley Chamber of Commerce, Pickens County Meals on Wheels, and the Pickens County YMCA mentoring program.
The 2016 Pillar of Easley award recipient was Cely Construction Company. Founded in 1948, they have a 68 year reputation of making the Easley community strong and vibrant.
As a third generation, family-owned business, the Cely family has held many important roles from postmaster, ministry, builders, and teachers. As a construction company, their work can be seen in many buildings in Easley and Powdersville.
And as a community steward, the list of organizations they have served is extensive and touches lives throughout Upstate South Carolina. Cely Construction was recognized as an example of a long established business with deep roots in tradition, business excellence, and community service.
Established in 1935, the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Pickens County with 415 business investors and a mission to serve as an advocate for business growth and sustainability. For information, visit www.easleychamber.org.
This story courtesy of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce.