116th Annual Meeting: Lighting the Way for 2019

The 116th Annual Meeting of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce was held on Tuesday February 19, 2019 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.


Outgoing board chair, Dr. Shannon Wilder offered her thoughts on 2018 and highlighted the Chamber’s accomplishments under her “Leadership in Motion” theme. Dr. Wilder spearheaded the search committee that hired new AACOC President/CEO, David Bradley. Other things “In Motion” for 2018 were revamping policies and procedures, entering into new partnerships, creating a Finance Committee, introducing the Chamber Champion program and stepping up new member recruitment.


Incoming board chair, Chuck Toney, unveiled his theme for 2019, “Lighting the Way”, and revealed the new Strategic Plan that was developed in conjunction with UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute. Mr. Toney noted the plan is ambitious, but also achievable. The five goals are:

  1. Brand the Chamber as a leader in economic development for Athens and the region.
  2. Ensure the Chamber’s current and future financial stability and staff growth.
  3. Build an organization with a diversity of membership reflective of the larger community.
  4. Develop a strong member engagement program.
  5. Grow business expertise within the Chamber.


At the conclusion of his remarks, he energized the crowd by stating that, “…we cannot do this alone – we need all of you to help. It will take all of us to make our Chamber all that it can be!”


The 116th Annual Meeting also served as a forum for presenting several prestigious awards to community leaders. Congratulations to the following individuals for their well-deserved recognition:


  • The Honorable Regina Quick- ATHENA Award (Sponsored by Heyward Allen Motor Company)
  • Elaine Cook- Spirit of Athens (Sponsored by Synvovus)
  • Donna Sherrer-Gant- Teacher of the Year
  • Michele Pearson- Chamber Champion
  • Bridget Burke- Ambassador of the Year
  • Mayor Nancy Denson- Bentley Award


Finally, the 116th Annual Meeting serves as the Chamber’s largest fundraiser, and we owe much thanks to the following Chamber Champions. Their generosity enables the Chamber to serve the community and its membership.


Premier Partners

Chastain & Associates

Epting Events

Georgia Power

Jackson EMC


Pilgrim’s Pride



Presenting Partners

Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley

First American Bank & Trust

Piedmont Athens Regional

St. Mary’s Health Care System

The University of Georgia


Classic Partners




Carrier Transicold

Fortson, Bentley and Griffn

Kaiser Permanente

Oconee State Bank

The Sign Brothers

Vickery Financial Services


Supporting Partners

Epps, Holloway, DeLoach and Hoipkemier

Grahl Construction

Jackson Spalding

Peach State Federal Credit Union

Williams & Associates Engineering


Friends of the Chamber

Kevin Price Construction

Jeanette Rankin Foundation

Pinnacle Bank

Southern Mutual Insurance Company