DULUTH - Friday evening more than 1,000 people attended the 58th annual Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce dinner and awards ceremony, making it the biggest turnout in the chamber's history.
"We had to turn away 150 people because we only had enough dinners for 1,000," said Jim Maran, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. "The annual dinner is a time to celebrate Gwinnett's success and honor those who make a difference in our community."
The dinner and ceremony, presented by Gwinnett Medical Center and celebrated in the Thomas P. Hughes Grand Ballroom at Gwinnett Center, highlighted the people that contributed to the county by giving their time and talents in 2005.
"Those who are here continue to make success live here," said Wayne Shackelford, 2006 Chamber of Commerce chairman.
Seven awards were presented at the dinner to honor those who have made significant contributions to enhance life in Gwinnett County by improving education, medical and public services and overall quality of life. Of the seven awards the most prestigious award is the Citizen of the Year Award, which honors a member who has provided invaluable leadership and dedication to the chamber.
The 2006 Citizen of the Year Award was bestowed upon Dr. Miles H. Mason III, a Gwinnett native who has provided leadership to members of both the medical staff and administrative team of the Gwinnett Healthcare System.
"Dr. Mason provides remarkable leadership and has raised funds for Duluth, his hometown," Maran said.
Mason accepted the award in the presence of his family and friends and said he was truly surprised.
"It's a pleasure to be able to live in a community and to give back half of what it has given to me," Mason said.
The Chamber of Commerce also honored a former county resident with the Legacy Award, an award that honors the memory and legacy of an individual who has made a difference in the history and progress of Gwinnett. This year's Legacy Award went to the Micromeritics co-founder and president Warren Hendrix. Sons Preston and Greg Hendrix accepted the award on behalf of their father, who had been a chamber member for 43 years and passed away in May.
One legacy Hendrix left behind is Micromeritics, which is responsible for supplying 180 jobs in the county.
"In order to have a reserved parking space (at Micromeritics), you have to have worked for over 10 years," Maran said. "There are over 100 reserved places at the company (out of 180)."
Following the presentation of all chamber awards, 2005 chairman Richard Tucker thanked all the attendees for their efforts in the past year and welcomed the new 2006 chairman, Wayne Shackelford.
"Wayne is the standard by which all leaders should be held accountable," he said.
•Citizen of the Year Award: Dr. Miles H. Mason III
•D. Scott Hudgens Award: Alice Cunningham
•Legacy Award: Warren Hendrix, accepted by sons Preston and Greg Hendrix
•Public Service Awards: Tom Anderson, Rudy Bowen, Pat Brown, Joyce Ogletree, David Snell, Roddy Sturdivant
•2005 Salesperson of the Year for Memberships Award: Brian Karr
•2005 Salesperson of the Year for Total Revenue Award: Jackie Ginn
•Ambassador of the Year Award: Kevin S. Moffitt