By Andrew Edwards
Members of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, business owners, and many others came together on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate the 46th annual Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Several hundred people gathered together at the Prattville Marriott in an effort to network with fellow members of the chamber, to celebrate achievements from the year, and to honor their leadership and partnerships.
It was also a time for the chamber to continue to attract and retain business and industry and to support and advocate for their membership.
Before the award ceremony began, everyone in attendance had the opportunity to partake in food and beverages in and around the VIP lounge. There were fun photo opportunities that groups could take as they walked in the front door, and a large silent auction that had an assortment of prizes that guests could win.
At the start of the ceremony, Wade Seamon, board chairman for the past year, recognized the “Chamber Champions”. 16 different companies were announced, all of which work with the chamber to make sure that Prattville’s business community continues to thrive.
Also recognized were the table sponsors, which totaled to 19 different businesses in the Prattville area.
After thanking outgoing board members Carl Gunter, David Lewis, and John Schmidt for their dedication and hard work to the chamber, Wade Seamon formally began the award presentation for the night.
The Industry of the Year award was given to Fras-le North America, who helps to design brake pads and linings for commercial vehicles, light vehicles, motorcycles, aviation, rail, and industrials. It’s commitment to its’ investors and customers would lead to its’ expansion in 2017, with a $4.5 M investment. With the purchase of their facility in the west industrial park, the company once again invested in new equipment and strategic plans to expand its’ customer base, invest in its’ employees, and solidify its’ location in Prattville and Autauga County.
The Small Business Year of the Award (1-10 employees) was given to Bo Evans Reality. The company has served the Prattville community for 24 years, proving leadership in real estate and the highest level of customer service. They grew a small, single person office into a powerhouse real estate company in residential sales and property management. They have also sold thousands of homes in the river region as well as 225 rental properties.
The Small Business of the Year Award (11-50) was given to First Community Bank of Central AL. The have seven offices throughout the river region. They strive to be leaders in the community they serve and have differentiated themselves through their student-spirit debit card program, where a portion is given back to the schools. This has allowed them to give back more than $100,000.
The Small Business of the Year Award (51-100) was given to Larry Puckett Chevrolet. They have served the Prattville community for 37 years, while establishing lifelong relationships. Many of their 68 employees have 25 plus years of service to their company, and they have recently partnered with Trenholm Technical College to create an adult education program.
The Emerging Business of the Year Award was given to Launch Trampoline Park. Since its’ creation, the company has hosted over 100 fund raisers for churches, schools, and non-profits. They have recently started a new program, “Launch into Literacy”, where they take their mascot to various schools to read books and get excited about literacy.
After the final business award was given out, Seamon handed the microphone over to Jeremy Jackson, the Vice Chairman of Membership, to present the Ambassador of the year award.
The award was given to Bryant “Bo” Evans from Bo Evans Reality. He graduated from Prattville High School in 2009, and from the University of Alabama in 2013 with a degree in Marketing. He was the youngest broker in the state of Alabama for several years and serves the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors Grievance Committee.
At the conclusion of the awards, Board Chairman Seamon gave a speech thanking friends, family and community members before handing the gavel over to the next Chair, Ryan Luchner.
Luchner introduced the new board members, Jeremy Arthur, Debrica Jackson, and Jennifer Wadsworth. Each will serve a three-year term.
The returning boarding members are as followed: Connie Bainbridge, Joe Mathis, and Wade Seamon, and Joe Turner. These individuals will be serving an additional three years.
Officers for the upcoming year are as followed: Chairman Elect – Eric Morgan, Vice Chairman Economic Development – Kyle Glover, and Vice Chairman Membership – Jeremy Jackson.
To conclude the night, Luchner thanked those who helped to contribute the donated items to bid at the silent auction, before naming the winners.
“I would like everyone here tonight to know that this chamber is business driven, community minded and volunteer based”, Luchner said. “We are ready for another successful year as we move this chamber forward, together.”