Bay County Chamber of Commerce Hosts 109th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony
PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The Bay County Chamber of Commerce held its 2022 Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony Jan. 21 at Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort.
“This event is one of the most important events of the year for the Chamber,” Bay County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Carol Roberts said.
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 2021 and to honor the outgoing Chair of the Board, Chris Moore, General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). Will Cramer, Bill Cramer Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Moore passed the gavel to 2022 Chair, Garrett Anderson of Anderson Construction Company. In his closing remarks, Moore stated his time serving on the Chamber Board of Directors has been the experience of a lifetime.
“Thank you for allowing me to serve,” said Moore. “I’ve been fortunate to build relationships with all of you, our members. To say I’ve made lots of memories this year is an understatement. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride.” Moore then went on to commend the Board of Directors, investors, and the many others who have continued to support the organization.
Also being honored at this event was the outgoing Military Affairs Committee (MAC) Chair, Andrew Rowell, GAC Contractors. Rowell was the 2020 Chair of the Board of Directors before becoming the 2021 MAC Chairman. Rowell officially passed the gavel to Chris Moore who took over as the 2022 MAC Chairman on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at the MAC Passing of the Gavel. During the event, Rowell 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.
“I have been extremely impressed with all aspects of our military installations here in Bay County,” said Rowell. “To know some of the brightest individuals in the world work together here to bring a concept to birth, tested and used at our local Navy base is incredible. Knowing that our airspace is under constant diligent watch and protection under AFNORTH, and that we have the best fighter pilots and support personnel in the world, right here in our community.”
Each year the Chamber recognizes an outstanding member with its Member of the Year award. Kyle Shoots, System Service & Engineering, was announced as the 2021 recipient. Chris Moore, 2021 Chair of the Bay County Board of Directors, introduced Shoots as the recipient stating he was top of mind from the very beginning.
“From our first conversation, he stood out as a shining star,” said Moore. “Rising in the ranks of our leadership, Kyle is a native of Bay County. He started his business in 2012 from his dining room table, he and his partner have grown the company to service Bay County and beyond and now uses his business to give back to the community that has given so much to him. This past summer, the Chamber’s HVAC system was in need of repair. As the bids were coming in to have it replaced, a phone call was received and Shoots donated the unit. In addition, he also donated the new lighting for the recently revealed mural on the building and continues to volunteer his time at all levels in this organization and many others.”
The last award of the night was the Lauren Merriam Memorial Award, the Chamber’s highest honor. Bill Cramer (who was the 2013 recipient of the award), presented the 2021 award to Dr. James Cook, who was chosen for devotion to the betterment of his community. He serves as a mentor for the Bay Education Foundation and is the Secretary and Treasurer of Bay Health Foundation, and Vice Chairman of the Panama City Port Authority.
2022 Bay County Chamber Chairman, Garrett Anderson’s vision for the organization includes aggressive priorities for 2022 and his key objectives for the year include: supporting the rebuild of the Marina Civic Center; researching the need for hired verses elected school superintendent; affordable workforce housing; trade education in high schools and lastly, the recruitment of partners to continue its relationship with NextSite to promote Bay County on a national level to investors, retailers and commercial development.
As you can see, your Bay County Chamber continues to support and provide services to our community and our investors. We will continue to carry the torch and send the message that Bay County is open for business. Together we can continue to build this amazing community.
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Lauren Merriam Award
The Lauren Merriam Memorial Award is presented annually by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce to a member of the Bay County business community who best exemplifies the characteristics embodied by Lauren Merriam, a Past President of the Chamber in 1959 and the original Chairman of the Chamber’s First Friday Club. Most importantly among those characteristics are commitment to the community’s well-being, as exemplified by involvement in civic, charitable and/or endeavors contributing to the betterment of Bay County and the benefit of its citizens — and the ability not to take oneself, or one’s peers, too seriously. Merriam did a lot for our community and in the process, he enjoyed himself.