Deanne Barnes, winner of the Jerry Barboe Small Business Person of the Year Award, is shown with Jackie Barboe, whose late husband is the award's namesake. Barnes received the honor Thursday night at a Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce After Hours event. Barnes is president and CEO of Evans Tool & Die Inc. -- Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- Deanne Duensing Barnes, president and CEO of Evans tool & Die Inc., was named the Jerry Barboe Small Business Person of the Year on Thursday evening by the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce.
Barnes said she was honored to be chosen as 2013's exemplary small businesses person in Rockdale County. As a part of the third generation of her family to operate Evans Tool & Die, Barnes said she was thankful for the opportunity to have a business in the community and for the staff that helps make the business successful.
"I'm excited about representing the company in that way, not just for me, but representing the business. I couldn't have this opportunity if it weren't for the business itself," she said.
Barnes also said the award is a reflection of the quality of her business and employees.
"It's an award for the company," she said. "It's a success for us to have that kind of impact on the community, where it was recognized."
Evans Tool & Die was established in 1948 by Barnes' grandfather, Leonard Evans Jr., in Decatur. He moved the business to Conyers in 1978. The business was later run by Barnes' father. Barnes has been with the company 24 years, 15 of which she worked as accounting comptroller. She was named CEO two years ago.
Barnes and her husband, Rodney Barnes, are the parents of three children: Ian, 18; Joel, 15; and Olivia, 12. Rodney is vice president of manufacturing for Evans Tool & Die.
Barnes is active in the Chamber of Commerce and serves on the current board of directors. She has coached youth soccer in Rockdale County for more than 10 years and is active in the church leadership of Christ Fellowship.
Barnes was among three top finalists selected by a Chamber committee from among a total of six nominees. The other finalists were Dotti Bala of Copy Central and Scott Hartsell of imijit.net Technology Solutions. Nominees also included Stacy Brundage of Literacy Link Learning Center, Ray Ramos of Raymond Engineering -- Georgia, and Gregg Starr of the UPS Store on Ga. Highway 212.
The award is named for the late Jerry Barboe, a longtime business owner and community activist. Previous winners of the award who were also on hand at the event included David Shipp, Anita Smith, Susan Paul Smith, Danny Lockhart, and Lorraine Harrison.
Chief Superior Court Judge David Irwin emceed the event and, among his humorous remarks, praised small business owners as "the people who drive our community."
Irwin also encouraged audience members to shop locally when possible.
"The small businesses are what separates our county from other counties," he said. "They're our neighbors."