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Bristol Chamber of Commerce Marks 101st Annual Awards Celebration

February 02, 2011

Bristol Chamber of Commerce Marks 101st Annual Awards Celebration

Looking ahead, a career of exceeding expectations and positive changes for the future of business in Bristol , were common themes during the Bristol Chamber of Commerce’s 101st Annual Awards celebration held January 26.

According to Carolyn Ferrell, 2010 Chairman of the Bristol Chamber Board of Directors, “Volunteer engagement is a critical factor for ensuring the success of chambers of commerce.” To honor those individuals, several local professionals were recognized for the significant contribution they have made to enhancing the quality of life in Bristol and beyond, by virtue of their strong commitment to volunteerism.

Jeff Byrd, President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, was honored posthumously with the Bristol Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions and impact that exceeded expectations in Bristol , and region-wide. After a successful journalism and sports marketing career spanning several decades, Byrd was named President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway in 2002. Byrd led Bristol Motor Speedway through tremendous growth, and was instrumental in establishing Bristol ’s place as the premiere motorsports facility in the country. Byrd was a much-sought-after board member, and was active in numerous non-profit agencies, including the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award, Chamber leaders presented Byrd’s widow, Claudia, with a proclamation establishing the Jeff Byrd “Exceeding Expectations” Scholarship.

The scholarship provides a foundation for high-achieving students to develop and realize their potential for success, while inspiring recipients to reach out through service and mentorship, becoming leaders and role models in their professions and their communities who make a difference and inspire others in the same way that they have been inspired.

Other awards for volunteerism were presented to: Lori Worley, Convention and Visitors Bureau Service Award; Henry Whitten, Keep Bristol Beautiful Service Award; Heather Levesque, Leadership Service Award, and Janice Gorley, Ambassador of The Year.

According to 2010 Bristol Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Carolyn Ferrell, in a year fraught with business challenges from all angles, including healthcare and education reform, an uncertain economy and the need for regional workforce diversification, the Bristol Chamber stayed the course.

“What every chamber strives for is a professional staff, strong board leadership, and volunteers that are productive and committed. In serving as the 2010 Chairman of the Board of Directors, I saw what a
difference such an organization can make within a community,” said Ferrell. “Even after a century, we aspired this past year to create and maintain a competitive edge for where we live and do business. It was incumbent upon us to question and define what we do best but not settle for status quo,” she added.

Outgoing Board Chairman, Carolyn Ferrell, passed the gavel to incoming Chair, Scott Emerine. Emerine is Co-Owner of Branding Iron Marketing Advertising and Public Relations, a full-service agency with clients worldwide.

“As Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2011 it is my goal to see the chamber membership grow and flourish,” said Emerine. “My desire is to see every member succeed.”

“The Chamber offers numerous resources geared towards enhancing businesses, improving education, communication and ultimately the quality of life for our community. As an Asian American and small business owner, I have personally seen the way the Chamber can help its membership succeed. As Chairman, I will strive to lead and guide this chamber along with the board of directors to assure that every member has access to the resources the Chamber offers to help you thrive as a business. As you grow and prosper, so will we as a Chamber and as a community,” he added.

The 2011 Bristol Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors includes Mike Browder, Jerry Caldwell, Lori Cogan, Carol Cross, Jody Dutcher, Mark Esposito, Carolyn Ferrell, Anita Foster-Machado, Jill Harrison, Cheryl Harvey, Tammy Henkel, Karen Hester, Edd Hill, Kyle Hollifield, Brad Knoll, Chris Lee, Jim Leinbach, Jim McKernan, Israel O’Quinn, Andy Puckett, Beth Rhinehart, David Ring, Leah Ross, Larry Shaver, David Wagner and Mark Webb. Ex-Officio Board Members are: Don Ashley, Christina Blevins, Jeff Broughton, Dewey Cashwell, Margaret Feierabend, Janice Gilliam, Steve Godsey, Gary Lilly, Mark Lineburg, Clorise Phillips, Sandy Ratliff and Jubal Yennie

Corporate sponsors for the Bristol Chamber’s Award Celebration were CenturyLink and Food City , Event Sponsor; The Centre, Venue Sponsor and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Entertainment Sponsor.