Chamber hosts annual meeting

COVINGTON -- The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2012 Annual Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 12 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield.

Social time will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Dr. Anthony Tricoli, president of Georgia Perimeter College.

Tickets are $55 per person and include dinner and two drinks. Corporate tables seating eight people are available. The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, Jan. 6. Call 770-786-7510 to make reservations or for more details.

As always, this year's event will recognize extraordinary members of the community with several awards. The R.O. Arnold Award, often described as the most prestigious honor a Newton County resident can receive, will recognize a lifetime of community involvement and achievement.

The Dick James Small Business of the Year Award and the Spirit of Excellence Award, which recognizes a Chamber volunteer for outstanding contributions, will also be presented.

Two new awards have been created this year: the Deal of the Year Award and Emerging Business Award.

The Deal of the Year Award will recognize outstanding achievement in the location or expansion of new business processes in Covington/Newton County, according to Shannon Davis, with the Chamber's Office of Economic Development.

To be eligible, a company must have announced a project in 2011 and the project must meet community economic development goals and involve significant community, regional and/or state support. Contenders will be evaluated based on economic impact to the community/region; degree of expertise needed to create the deal and obstacles and challenges that were overcome during the course of the deal.

The intent of the Emerging Business Award is to highlight a new business or business that is under new management and is growing in this economy, said Chamber President Hunter Hall.

"We wanted to highlight entrepreneurship and best practices as well as community involvement and impact. We also wanted to showcase the 'Buy Chamber' concept, similar to the buy local idea but with a focus on Chamber members supporting Chamber members," he said.

The meeting will also include the traditional passing of the gavel from Board of Directors Chairman Scott Willis to Chair Elect Michelle Bryant-Johnson.