By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Inc. held its 2011 Annual Banquet and Silent Auction on Monday, Nov. 7, at Shelby’s Restaurant in Madison. The event was sponsored by Progress Energy.
The silent auction began at 6 p.m. This was followed at 7 p.m. with the welcome to the banquet by Cindy Vees, the Chamber’s Executive Director. Doug Freer, board member, followed with the Pledge Allegiance and Jerome Wyche, also a board member, delivered the invocation.
The new officers for 2011-2012 were then introduced. Ina Thompson, from the Mail Room, will serve as the Chamber president. Roy Ellis, from the Board of County Commissioners, will serve as vice-president. Phyllis Williams, from the Madison Realty Group, will serve as secretary/treasurer.
The new Board of Directors was then introduced. Board members include Doug Freer, Freer Consulting; Darlene Hagan, Capital City Bank; Michael Halley, councilman, Town of Greenville; Adrian Kinsey, Madison Youth Initiative; Kim Scarboro, North Florida Community College; Myra Valentine, City of Madison; Dr. Jessica Webb, Florida Virtual School; and Mickie Salter, Advisor, Rep. Leonard Bembry’s office. New Board members are Sarah Anderson, manager, Town of Lee; Ramona Guess, District School Board; Preston Matthews, individual member; Jada Woods Williams, individual member; and Jerome Wyche, Madison County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention.
Deena Hames was presented an award by Chamber President Ina Thompson for her many years of service to the business community and as a valued member of the Chamber.
Sarah Anderson accepted an award on behalf of the Town of Lee in honor of longtime Mayor Ernestine Kinsey for her many years of service as a chamber member and to the business community.
Dignitaries and sponsors were recognized before the dinner buffet. The silent auction closed at 7:30 p.m.
Bobby Pickels, the keynote speaker, began his address at 7:40 p.m. Pickels is the Community Relations Manager for Progress Energy and represents his company in 16 North Florida communities, stretching from Bay to Columbia Counties. He is an attorney, who worked for former U.S. Rep. Alan Boyd for more than a decade. He holds degrees in law and communication from Florida State University. He lives in Port St. Joe, where he serves as president of the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Committee. He and his wife, Carly, have one son, Luke. He is active in his community as a youth soccer and baseball coach. He is the immediate Past President of the Port St. Joe Lions Club.
At 8 p.m., there were closing comments and a drawing for special prizes. The silent auction winners were also announced.
Special music was performed throughout the evening by Bryant Thigpen.