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For the second year in a row, the Great Mount Erie Chamber of Commerce has had to scramble a bit to introduce its annual Business Excellence Awards program.

Both times, the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for the difficulties, although this year the Chamber managed to hold the awards in regular time – in late March – when the organization held a virtual award ceremony Tuesday night to announce the winners.

In fact, those who were honored took home their awards earlier in the month, with the room making those shows in person and videotaping the shows, which were then included in the online program that was shown on the room’s YouTube channel Tuesday evening.

“The Chamber congratulates all the winners of the Business Excellence Awards 2021,” said Randy Collins, President and CEO of the Chamber. The committee had a difficult task in reviewing a large number of candidates. This group of winners represents the best of our business community. ”

The winners in each category are:

Business Longevity Award – Fast Communication. Founded in 1951, Surry Communications provided its first call tone service to 192 members by November of 1954. By 1957, three more exchanges were in service, with over 1,100 members. Initially, members used the party line service, with four parties per line. With four exchanges covering rural areas in Surrey and Stokes counties, this company had six employees and two service trucks based jointly with the Dobson Electric Cooperative. In 1958, the long-distance direct contact service was introduced, and by the end of this decade the cooperative was serving 1,569 members.

Seventy years later, the company has expanded to include a network of 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable serving more than 12,230 customers and 1,310 businesses in Surry, Stokes and Davidson Counties with internet, telephone, television, security, and more.

Ambassador of the Year Award – Robin Edwards. Each year, the Chamber selects one Ambassador to be its Ambassador for the Year. “This year’s award winner is a great choice. She is dedicated, hard-working and believes in what the room stands for.” “Whenever the ambassadors meet, you can find her there. One of the unique services that she provides as an ambassador really shows her passion. When she visits her appointed members, she often brings a gift bag. Filled with little gifts and sweets. This kind of service to the room members (which she gave alone) makes them feel good about the organization. “

Management Professional of the Year Award – Debbie Bing, who serves as Executive Assistant to Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Paquette, as well as to the Board of Directors of the Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation.

“One of her greatest strengths is her ability to adapt to any situation and think quickly and efficiently to solve any problem thrown in her path,” said presentation notes of her award. “She remains calm during any situation, whether it is due to major interruptions, board meetings, or other tasks that must be completed simultaneously … She is always more than willing to help her co-workers in different departments accomplish whatever task the cooperative might have.” A very broad skill set and knowledge base of various roles that have occupied … ”

Distinguished Public Service Award – Traci George. The presentation notes benefited deeply from a recent Mount Airy News article about George, which outlined how she was committed to helping children and the homeless. She has done a lot of work helping the homeless, spearheading other projects that have included helping patients at Brenner Children’s Hospital, helping launch a mentorship program for local students, leading a campaign to provide coats to those in need, and leading a march for children and children. More.

“Community service has been a part of her life from a young age. Public service is who she is.”

Tourism Excellence Award – White Sulfur Springs wedding and venue.

“One of the challenges in our area is the limited space for meetings and event venues. This has changed recently with the addition of a brand new venue with an old name.” Spread over 15 acres, White Sulfur Springs Resort dates back to the 1880s and now offers a venue for weddings and events.

“Just minutes from downtown Mount Airy, it offers couples and their guests a secluded space to party in the heart of North Carolina’s wine country. It features a range of event spaces, amenities and accommodations to create magic-filled moments.”

Agribusiness of the Year Award – Round Peak Vineyards.

“Farming has been a part of Surry County for many years. The room presentation indicated that there are many family farms and companies still operating in our area.

An Ohio couple moved to Charlotte in 2000 and loved their new home. Because life sometimes takes you in a different direction, the couple ended up moving to California in 2006. While on the West Coast, they fell in love with visiting vineyards and enjoying great California wine They especially loved the small, family-owned vineyards.In 2008 they had the opportunity to return to North Carolina, leave the corporate world and purchase a local winery called Round Peak Vineyards … in addition to wine, they produce some great craft beer under the Skull label Camp. The winery hosts many events and has become a popular gathering place for locals and tourists. “

• Business and Education Partner Award – Northern District Hospital.

“It is listed as the third largest employer in Surrey, it is not surprising that this organization is heavily involved in providing unique educational opportunities for the youth of our community,” the chamber said. “In addition to supporting professional and technical student organizations such as HOSA, they have a long history of providing job shadowing, clinical hours, certifications, internships and pre-professional training. Students of health sciences have had direct contact with staff and management through class visits, special events and regional competitions. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many of these activities for the time being, they remain committed to enhancing local talent through job opportunities and the introduction of new scholarships.

• Duke Energy Award for Citizenship and Service – The Surry Sunrise Rotary Club.

This group has been involved in many projects over the years, and here are a few of them: Feed the hungry with our school backpack programs. Financing equipment for local firefighters, police and rescue personnel; Blood donation campaigns for the American Red Cross; Collect garbage in the community; Raising funds for public schools; Halloween trick-or-treating family events; Create a new dog park on Mount Airy; Excursion for children racing pigeons. And others.

Pandemic Leadership Award – A Confidential Center for Health and Nutrition has been selected as a recipient of this new award added in 2021.

“It appears that the entire country has acted against Covid-19,” the chamber said. “The federal government started working with every state, and then every state started in turn organizing towns, cities, and local counties to fight this pandemic … Early on it became clear that this was a public health emergency. Federal government agencies associated with state health departments. From there, It became clear that members and local health departments across the country would lead the charge.For Surry County, that meant the Surry Health and Nutrition Center.

“When the epidemic was upon us, the Health and Nutrition in Suri district began to operate,” posting information materials on the site to educate the public; Provide regular briefings to citizens, businesses and organizations on the state of the pandemic; Coordination of personal protective equipment for all groups; Coordination of services for vulnerable populations; Manage hourly, daily and weekly updates; Coordination of a large vaccination program for thousands of citizens.

“All this while also doing a regular long list of services to citizens. The Surry Health and Nutrition Center has performed at an extremely high level and has gone above and beyond the call of duty during a national public health emergency.”

Business of the Year Award – Xtreme Marketing.

“There are many elements that a business owner must be successful. You have to have a business plan, and understand sales, finance, human resources and more. One of the areas that a successful business must master is marketing. The Chamber said the business award winner is for this.” The year defines marketing, inside and out.

Founded in 2001, Xtreme Marketing is a full-service marketing agency, offering design, printing, vehicle covers, engraving, manufacturing, trade show displays, custom vehicles, logistics, brand education, social media solutions and more.

The business owner has a long and successful career in the military and is proud that his foundation is a company owned by Certified Veterans. This company has clients across the country that include Jack Daniels, Korbel, Charles Schwab, Coca-Cola, PGA Tour and Dell, to name a few. “

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, this company was one of the first to focus on other business lines. They have developed their own plastic face shield that medical personnel and others can use to protect them from the virus. They have sold many shields across the country but have also donated many nonprofits and healthcare groups in our community. The owners have a passion for their business but also a great passion for their community. ”

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