Chamber Names Member of the Year; Honors Top Volunteers

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama recognized top volunteers for 2017 during its 117th annual celebration, presented on Friday, January 19 by The University of Alabama at the Bryant Conference Center.

A departure from previous events, attendees were treated to signature dishes from area restaurants including 301 Bistro, Bar & Beer Garden; The Avenue Pub; Black Warrior Brewing; Central Mesa; Cypress Inn, Dotson’s Burger Spot; Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill; Jim N’ Nick’s; Legend’s Bistro; The Levee; Monarch Coffee Bar; OHenry’s Coffee; River; The Side By Side; Southern Ale House; Taziki’s; and Urban Cookhouse.

Bobby Bragg of JamisonMoneyFarmer PC was named the 2017 Charles H. Land Member of the Year, the Chamber’s highest honor presented to an individual member. Bragg, who serves as the Director of Practice Growth for the firm, is a driving force behind efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in West Alabama.

With extensive start-up and entrepreneurial experience, Bragg has dedicated time and effort to serving as a mentor and counselor to numerous area start-up businesses, most notably at The Edge Accelerator and Incubator, an entrepreneurial center that offers an incubation program for new and developing businesses. Bragg is also involved in the Leadership Tuscaloosa Alumni Association, and works to improve and develop Leadership Tuscaloosa, an issues-based program that informs and increases awareness of topics of importance of West Alabama, and develops future community leaders.

“A major priority for the Chamber over the last few years has been growing and expanding this community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “During that time, there’s no question that Bobby Bragg has been a visionary and thought leader behind a lot of that work. Bobby is one of the most dedicated volunteers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

The Chairman’s Leadership Award was presented to Representative Bill Poole, member of the Alabama House of Representatives, representing District 63 and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Means Committee and head of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation.

The Robert C. Tanner Corporate Service Award, which recognizes the corporate leadership, philanthropic efforts and community service by a member entity in the West Alabama region, was presented to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

The Minority Business Council Trailblazer Award was presented to Sylvester Hester of ARD Logistics, Inc.

The Non-Profit of the Year Award was presented to Temporary Emergency Services.

Landon Lovell of Mariner Finance was named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year for her exceptional service to and on behalf of the Chamber’s membership. The Ambassadors are the Chamber’s official hosts for all functions.

The Chamber also recognized outstanding community leadership with the presentation of two Distinguished Service Awards, which are presented to individuals or organizations for their service and leadership. The 2017 awards were presented to Angela Hamiter of JamisonMoneyFarmer PC and Bryan Winter of Winter McFarland LLC, Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

The H. Pettus Randall III Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Wolfgang Kneer of SWJ Breilmann. The Rising Star Award was presented to John G. Newman, III of Ugo Convenience Delivery.These awards are given to local business owners whose innovation is making a significant impact on the community and their respective industries.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is a Tuscaloosa-based pro-business advocacy organization serving more than 65,000 working men and women through more than 1,350 business enterprises, civic organizations and educational institutions.  The official transition to the 2018 leadership team was made at the annual celebration. Dean McClure of TTL, Inc. served as the 2017 Chairman of the Chamber and Blake Madison of Rosen Harwood, P.A. serves as the 2018 Chairman of The Chamber.

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