SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -
The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce's 89th Annual Gala was a SOLD-OUT event on Thursday evening at Catawba College's Crystal Lounge. Title sponsorship was provided by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Annual award winners announced at the event included: Patterson Farm, Inc., Chamber Champion Small Business of the Year; Martha Bostian (The Post Group), Paul E. Fisher Volunteer of the Year; and, Dr. Michael Bitzer (Catawba College), Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award.
Chamber members celebrated the community's accomplishments of the past year and geared up for the business challenges of the new one. The gavel passed from 2014 Chair of the Board, Mark Seifel, to 2015 Chair of the Board, Dari Caldwell (Novant Health Rowan Medical Center). Emcees and entertainment for the evening were provided by a local improvisation group, “Now Are the Foxes”, led by Cale Evans.
Over 200 Chamber members attended the event. Program sponsors were Duke Energy Carolinas and Premier Federal Credit Union. Other sponsors included: Catawba College/Mr. Ralph Ketner; Carolinas Healthcare System-NorthEast; F&M Bank; First Bank; Greystone Salon and Spa; Lutheran Services Carolinas/Trinity Living Center/Trinity Oaks; Salisbury Post; and Wells Fargo Bank.
The Chamber Champion Small Business of the Year award, Patterson Farm, Inc. was recognized with Doug Patterson, Vice-President, accepting the award on behalf of his family business. The roots of the business go back to 1946 when the Patterson family began selling produce grown from the land they had farmed since 1919. In 1992, the farm was incorporated as Patterson Farm, Inc. The farm provides its customers with the highest quality produce, plants and service at a competitive price. The company is a model corporate citizen and is involved in school visits and class tours, agri-tourism, the Rowan County United Way, the Salisbury-Rowan Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce.
Martha Bostian (The Post Group), recipient of the Paul E. Fisher Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award, went “above and beyond the call of duty” in her volunteer hours for the Chamber. She has been the Top Producer in the Chamber's Total Resource Campaign for the past two years, chairs the very successful Annual Trade Show, and attends numerous ribbon cuttings in her role as an Ambassador. Bostian was recently elected to the Chamber's Board of Directors.
Dr. Michael Bitzer (Catawba College) was honored with the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. The established criteria for this award seek a Rowan Chamber group or individual who demonstrates a commitment to service and civic participation over a sustained period of time for the community; sets a standard and fosters a culture of citizenship, service and community responsibility; and demonstrates one or more of the following business values: integrity, stewardship, inclusion, and initiative. Bitzer serves as moderator of the Chamber's Candidate Forums and received national and international news coverage in 2014 for his insightful political perspective on North Carolina's U.S. Senate Race.
Rowan County Chamber President Elaine Spalding also thanked the 2015 Annual Gala Committee: Cindy Hart, Committee Chair (Great American Publishing); Heather Crawford (Wells Fargo Bank); Jessica Ijames (Novant Health Rowan Medical Center); Ann Pressly (Trinity Oaks); and, Tyler Weant (Elium Exterminator Company).
Special thanks were extended to Cale Evans (Now Are the Foxes); David Kirkland (Catawba College); Jason Ritter (Chartwells/In Any Event Catering); Joe Girdler (JG Media); Brent Safrit (ProfiT/CS); Reid Leonard (Piedmont Players) and Mike Miller (Miller Davis) for their assistance with the Gala.
The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization with over 850 member firms. Member benefits include business advocacy, leadership development, community development, networking programs, member referrals, newcomer packets and much more. For more information on the Chamber, 704.633.4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rowanchamber.com