Bay County Chamber of Commerce Awards Outstanding Individuals at its 108th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony
The Bay County Chamber of Commerce held its 2021 Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony June 18 at Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort.
The event began at 5:00 p.m. with a social and silent auction benefiting Junior Leadership Bay (JLB), a program of the Bay County Chamber Foundation. JLB prepares Bay County’s youth and future business leaders to meet the challenges facing our area through hands-on activities and exciting discussions involving community leaders and motivational speakers.
The program began at 6:45 p.m. with the main event, where community leaders and numerous elected officials gathered to celebrate the Chamber’s successes of 2020 and to honor the outgoing Chair of the Board, Andrew Rowell of GAC Contractors. Sandy Sims of Gulf Power Company served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Rowell passed the gavel to 2021 Chair, Chris Moore of General Dynamics. In his closing remarks, Rowell stated that his time serving on the Chamber board of directors has been the experience of a lifetime.
Also being honored at this event was the outgoing Military Affairs Committee (MAC) Chair, Will Cramer of Bill Cramer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. Cramer was the 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors before becoming the 2020 MAC Chairman. Cramer officially passed the gavel to Andrew Rowell who took over as the 2021 MAC Chairman on Tuesday, June 8th at the MAC Passing of the Gavel. During the event, Cramer commended the work of the local military installations of Bay County stating, had it not been for them, there would be no reason for him to serve as MAC Chair.
Each year the Chamber recognizes an outstanding member with its Member of the Year award. Scott Jackson and Julie McConnell of the Bay County/UF IFAS Extension Office, was announced as the 2020 recipients. Andrew Rowell, 2020 Chair of the Bay County Board of Directors, introduced Jackson and McConnell.
The last award of the night was the Lauren Merriam Memorial Award, the Chamber’s highest honor. Joey Ginn (who was the 2018 recipient of the award), presented the 2020 award to Jorge Gonzales, who was chosen for this award for his heart and love for all that is Northwest Florida. He has served on multiple boards, including FSU Panama City Campus Development Board and Dean’s Council, the Bay Economic Development Alliance, the Northwest Florida Manufacturer’s Council, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, Florida Chamber Board of Directors, FSU Board of Trustees, The St. Joe Community Foundation Board of Trustees, and Enterprise Florida Board of Directors.
Wrapping up the evening, 2021 Chairman, Chris Moore gave his vision for the organization over the next year. Moore touched on the aggressive priorities for 2021, stating key objectives for the year include: pursuing a quality education system through business partnerships with our learning institutions in academics, mentoring, tutoring, facilities and extracurricular activities; pursue economic development incentives through the State of Florida in conjunction with Bay EDA; continue its relationship with NextSite to promote Bay County on a national level to investors, retailers and commercial development; and lastly the Chamber will continue to monitor the progress of the Panama City Federal Court House as Bay County officials continue to work with General Services Administration.
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