Local Business Leaders Recognized at Chamber Gala | News

Jimmy Harris received the Esther Wesley Award; Amber Webb of First Citizens Bank was named Businessman of the Year; and SylvanSport was named Business of the Year Friday night at the annual Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce gala.

More than 150 members of the local business community gathered at Parker Concert Hall at the Brevard Music Center to recognize local accomplishments in a difficult business climate.

It was the first time in two years that chamber members could gather for the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and chamber president Angela Owen spoke about it in her remarks ahead of the Awards.

“The past two years have been difficult for the whole world,” she said, later adding, “This past year has been the year of Zoom, and many of you I’ve never seen in person before.”

Harris received the Esther Wesley Award for his years of service as a local business owner and mayor of Brevard from 1999 to 2021.

“Organizations like ours only succeed when we have special champions who set a good example for others by running a vibrant local business, serving as an ambassador who spreads the good word about our organization and our community, and being a friend of all lenders a helping hand whenever needed,” said Glenda McCarson of Blue Ridge Community College, who presented the award. “Knowing that this person and Esther Wesley were colleagues and friends working side by side to make our community a better place, it’s safe to say it’s beaming right now as we present this year’s award.”

Webb was recognized for her work with the bank, as well as the Transylvania County Economic Alliance in its search for a new executive director.

“The past eight months have been some of the toughest and toughest of my career due to the immediate need to step in and fill the vacant manager position,” Webb said. “It was very stressful with lots of projects, but it was also very rewarding. I met many community members and local leaders that I didn’t know and grew from this trip.

Outdoor gear maker SylvanSport has received recognition for its efforts to produce nearly 200,000 face shields and secure other protective gear for healthcare and government workers during the pandemic.

“They stopped their regular production and moved into making space personal protective equipment,” Owen said. “We are fortunate to have companies like this in our community, both because of their innovation and leadership in difficult times and because they produce products that we can all be proud of.

“For me, it’s so rewarding because living and working in this county is like being among friends,” SylvanSport founder and CEO Tom Dempsey said of the accolade. “To be in a room full of friends and to be recognized for that is a great feeling and I’m honored to be among all the other winners that I look up to so much. They are amazing people and to be recognized in such an amazing community is difficult to describe.

The nonprofit of the year award went to Jameson’s Joy, an organization that promotes the importance of involving parents in their children’s lives by connecting through both programs and activities. , which allow the formation of lifelong bonds. The business is named in honor of the late Jameson Courtine, a local child who died after a short illness in 2019 but whose memory continues to resonate throughout the community.

“Programs like ‘Say Yes’, ‘Daddy Hug’ and ‘Father Fist Bumps’, they remind us that parenthood is a special privilege,” Owen said in his remarks to Jameson’s Joy. “They have created and compiled resources to support families who have lost a child.”

“It’s a special way to honor my boy,” said Dan Courtine, Jameson’s father. “We’re trying to build his legacy and thank the community on his behalf.”

The Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award was presented to Leigh and Sean Trapp for their commitment to local engagement through their work as former co-editors of the Transylvania Times.

“During their time at the helm, they have proven themselves to be a community resource, keeping our community informed and always making sure to focus on all areas of Transylvania County,” said presenter Craig DeBrew. “Small communities like ours shine when key people have a community-first attitude and are dedicated to finding a way to get the job done. »

Jonathan Rich can be reached at (828) 883-8156 or [email protected]