The Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet Thursday night at the Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton.
The night included presentations of various awards, the recognition of the Chamberâ€™s outgoing board of directors, the installation of new directors and officers and two guest speakers.
Prior to starting with the items on the agenda, Donna Beringer, the 2011 chair of the board, presented Chamber President Ken Kindley with an award for his 25 years of service to the Chamber. She read several requested comments from past chairs about Kindley, many of which she joked â€œcould not be repeated.â€
Among the other notable awards handed out during the evening was the industry of the year, which was presented by Tom Anderson, board chair for the Lincoln Economic Development Association. This year, the honor was presented to Actavis in Lincolnton.
Anderson said the company was the â€œmost deservingâ€ of the award as it embodies all of the necessary requirements, which include making a positive impact, involvement in the community, leadership in its field and a high standard of conduct.
Actavis has recently expanded its operations and increased the number of people it employs from 170 to more than 300. Additionally, the company received a major customer award in 2010.
The woman and man of the year awards were another highlight of the banquet. Cathy Davis, president of the Lincolnton Business and Professional Womenâ€™s Organization, presented Shirley Smith, a Chamber membership development and services staff member, with the first of these honors. While introducing her, Davis said Smith â€œdoes not meet a stranger.â€
Smith said she had presented the award before and always wondered how it would feel to get it, then added that â€œit feels great.â€
Stephen Starnes, president of the Rotary Club of Lincolnton, then presented the man of the year award to the late James M. â€œBoâ€ Moore Jr., whose list of accomplishments Starnes said â€œgoes on and on.â€Â Moore, who was chair of the board in 1990 and went on to champion the improvement of transportation in Lincoln County, died unexpectedly earlier this year.
Mooreâ€™s sister accepted the award on his behalf, saying she had the â€œdeepest regret Boâ€™s not here to accept this tonight.â€
The small-business person of the year went to former Charlotte mayor Eddie Knox of Verdict Ridge Country Club, who thanked his wife, Frances, and son, Scott, for their role in the business and encouraged the union of the eastern and western parts of the county.
Additionally, the night saw the passing of leadership from Beringer, Carolina Federal Credit Union, to Buddy Collins, Edward Jones, the 2012 chair of the board.
â€œI have no doubt there will be success in 2012,â€ Beringer said.
She also emphasized why local businesses should join the Chamber and added that there will be no dues increase in the year ahead.
Sponsored by Duke Energy, the banquet also featured the recognition of the Chamberâ€™s distinctive members.
Guest speakers included Lynn Minges, assistant secretary of tourism, marketing and global branding with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and Bill McMillan, senior director of sales for Visit Charlotte. Both spoke about the importance of tourism within the state, with Minges pointing out that North Carolina is the sixth most-visited state in the country.
McMillan focused on next yearâ€™s Democratic National Convention, adding that Charlotte was â€œso fortunate to have booked that.â€