BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
The Business Excellence Awards recognize achievement and business success in our community. While our recipients represent a broad range of business sectors, they all have successfully demonstrated the criteria set out for this esteemed recognition. Nominees were required to complete a business profile and were evaluated in the following areas.
- Staying Power
- Commitment to Local Economy
- Business Integrity
- Response to Challenges
- Community Contribution
RISING STAR – EMERGING BUSINESS AWARD
The Rising Star Award was created in 2016 as a way to recognize the outstanding achievement of young, emerging businesses.
2019 winner: AGAINST THE GRAIN DESIGNS & FLOAT ROBINS
ABOUT AGAINST THE GRAIN:
With the mission is to inspire, create, share and empower our first emerging business does that and so much more by inspiring and sharing their passion for creativity through teaching. It is evident that they truly want people to feel empowered and confident at any opportunity they may have to be creative. Getting their start out of the Firestarter FabLab, Against the Grain Designs opened the doors to their own storefront in January of 2019 inviting the Firestarter FabLab to provide a retail area in the front of their shop for other local artisans and entrepreneurs to sell their goods. Their principal services are teaching Do It Yourself workshops to guide clients step by step through creating a finished project. They also offer custom designs and work very closely with clients to make their vision become reality. If you haven’t been yet, we don’t know what you’re waiting for. In addition to scheduled workshops and open shop time, Against the Grain offers private events for birthdays, baby showers, weddings and anything else we can have a party for. It’s also great for corporate team-building events.
On the growth front, they started by teaching classes a couple of times a month in a community space. And within 9 months, were in their own space, with a storefront and fully functioning workshop that can accommodate up to 40 people. Since moving out on their own, the business has doubled with very little paid advertising as our clients continue to grow our reputation by word of mouth. They understand the value of community partnership and donate and work with numerous community organizations, they host one of our Chamber leadership classes each year and most notably have forged a tight bond with Robins Air Force Base and particularly the Robins Spouses Club employment 3 military spouses in their shop. Against the Grain gives renewed hope in the entrepreneurial spirit and chasing a dream to create something special & they are incredibly deserving of this award.
ABOUT FLOAT ROBINS:
At the end of this past school year, our next emerging business rising star closed the door to her middle school classroom for the last time and opened the door of her new business just two months later in hopes of address the need for a truly healing and relaxing experience in Warner Robins a new, therapeutic alternative for our community. Opening Float Robins was a complete gamble.
They offer four types of therapies at Float Robins: float therapy, infrared sauna, massage, and halotherapy. What they “sell” is quality of life, and I can tell you from personal experience that Telisa’s entire team embodies the epitome of providing an exceptional customer experience & once you float once you’ll wonder how you lived without it. And in addition to their rapid success, Float Robins has already fully embraced the concept of being community-first by generously donating to numerous organizations and causes in our community.
Business Excellence Award for Staying Power and Response to Challenges
2019 winner: Houston County GalleriaWatch their video here.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: For over 25 years this Houston County has been a retail destination for local residents and neighboring counties with an average of 2.4 million visits in a single year. But in a shopping environment where buying something doesn’t automatically equal going to the store, retailers and malls have to do more to entice shoppers to come. In the midst of retail closures around the nation, our very own Houston County Galleria made a bold investment of almost $1 million into their future this past year proving that our local economy is sustainable and thriving.
Business Excellence Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to Community
2019 winner: Rigby’s Entertainment Complex Watch their video here.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: In 2019 Rigby’s Entertainment Complex jumped in to take over the reins of the Warner Robins Christmas Parade. Their vision, stamina, passion, and persistence are to be commended.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR HONOREES
The Charles K and Barbara Shaheen Small Business of the Year award is presented to a business with 40 or fewer employees who:
– is a member in good standing of the Chamber
– demonstrates growth in sales, product lines or staff
– has innovative initiatives
– is considered successful by peers
– Shows evidence of outstanding community services contribution or involvement
– is a privately-owned, for-profit entity
2019 Small Business of the Year: Satterfield & Dempsey JewelersWatch their video here.
ABOUT THE AWARD:
The Charles K. and Barbara Shaheen Small Business of the Year award is given in memory of the late Charles K. Shaheen, Jr and Barbara Shaheen for their remarkable legacy of service to our community.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT:
This year’s small business of the year has been a staple of our business community for twenty years. They don’t just sell to their customers, they form lifetime relationships. When you walk through their doors you are greeted by their team of seven employees with a smile and service from experts in their craft. Over the past three years, they have dealt with adversity and still continued to flourish, increasing their sales by over 20%.
In addition to building a thriving business, the owners of this business are devoted community servants, donating their time and talents to numerous charitable and community organizations like the Salvation Army, Little Miss Pageants, and Clothing Drives. The owners have also served in leadership roles in the International City Optimist Club, the Central Georgia Technical College Foundation, and the Robins Regional Chamber.
2019 Business of the Year: Advanced Project ConsultingWatch their video here.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: The 2019 Business of the Year has distinguished itself from other companies of similar size and mission. They are proud to call the Robins Region home and have been in business here for 10 years. Over the past five years, this company has averaged double-digit revenue growth – 28% growth from 2016 to 2019.
They have been included on Inc Magazine’s list of top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies for four years in a row.
They will be opening a second facility in early 2020. As an organization, they are called to be more than just a business. They are dedicated to service before self. More than 40% of their staff are veterans. They award $4000 of STEM scholarships annually. They can be found supporting numerous community organizations with their time, treasures, and talents, including:
- Family Promise of Houston County GA
- CASA of Houston County
- Middle GA Food Bank
- Genesis Joy House-Homeless Shelter for Female Vets
- Rainbow House Children’s Resource Center
- Salvation Army Safe House
- Houston County Habitat for Humanity
With core principals of “Integrity, Customer Success, and Excellence,” they provide Engineering Services and Analysis, Logistics, Information Technology & Cyber Support, Technical Data Management, and Maintenance Data Collection/Analysis to satisfied customers.
This year marks the Chamber’s 70th anniversary, our ability to promote an environment conducive to business growth and community development is due in large part to our longest-standing members who are historic businesses in the area. The Legacy Circle is a new, but long-overdue distinction bestowed upon Chamber member businesses who have served our community in business for fifty or more years. This is just the beginning of a year-long effort to document and share the stories of these outstanding businesses that each played a critical role in shaping our community. We had the opportunity to recognize a number of these time-honored businesses in attendance during this year’s Pinnacle Awards including Houston Home Journal, McCullough Funeral Home, Warner Robins Building Supply, Flint Energies, Robins Financial Credit Union, Houston Healthcare, Meadowdale Early Education, Strato Cleaners, Warner Robins Little Theatre, Houston Lake Country Club, Warner Robins Towing & Wrecker Service and Academy of Dance, and we will continue to identify and honor all of our business members who meet the legacy criteria. This special designation is sponsored by Griggers Wealth management.LEGACY PHOTOS
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the community’s most outstanding citizens for sustained and superior service to the community. The Charlie L. Jones Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose service spans a significant number of years and may involve a combination of business, civic, governmental, cultural, and/or religious activities. Past recipients are a who’s who of Warner Robins and Houston County. Names like Osigian, Cowart, Wiggins, Callahan, Bayer, Greenway, Talton, and even a World War Two legend. This is the highest individual honor that the Robins Regional Chamber presents each year. This award was sponsored by Hughston Homes.
Recipient: Tom McMichael, Houston County Commissioner & Larry Thomson, Houston County Commissioner
Watch their video here.
ABOUT TOM MCMICHAEL:
Tom McMichael was born in Jackson, GA / Butts County, graduated from the University of Georgia and the LSU School of Banking and served in the U.S. Army. He enjoys all sports especially UGA teams, college sports, and professional sports. He is married (Dianne) and has 2 children and 4 grandchildren. His pride and joy are those grandchildren. He is one of the most loyal and servant-minded people you would ever want to meet. He gives very freely of himself.
He was in the banking business for 40 years. He came to Houston County in 1979 with his banking job. He has served and serves on more Boards than I have time to acknowledge but he has been.
ABOUT LARRY THOMSON:
Larry Thomson was born in Houston County, graduated from Perry High & attended the University of GA. He enjoys music, singing, gardening & fishing. He has even performed with touring music groups in his early singing years. He is married (Chris) & has 2 sons and 2 grandchildren. He has a passion to help and serve people. He is a businessman and has done commercial/residential development.
He has served on many boards including bank & church. He worked for Houston County as its Building Inspector and Chief Building Inspector for 6 years. He has served on the Houston County Board of Elections 8 years and served as Chairman as well as a liaison on the Houston County Library Board. He has held a County-Wide elected position for 20 years. He has seen this County prosper over the years and has been a vital part of its achievements.
GOOD GOVERNMENT AWARDThe Good Government Award was established in memory of former Houston County Commission Chairman and former Mayor of the City of Centerville Mr. Sherrill Stafford. Historically, it is presented to the community’s most outstanding elected or appointed official employee of a governmental agency. The award recognizes exceptional service in the performance of duty. Intended for individual recognition, the previous recipients of this award include some of the most notable names in the history of Houston County. In many regards, the Robins Region is the envy of our peers across the state – bringing together cities, county, development partners, educational institutions and the business community all for the greater good for our community and the state.
Recipient: BRIG. GEN. JOHN KUBINEC
Watch their video here.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: Brig Gen John Kubinec leads a workforce of more than 7,200 military and civilian personnel performing programmed depot maintenance and modification on the F-15, C-130, C-5, C-17, and special operations forces aircraft plus some workload on Global Hawk.
He is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of diverse aircraft components, avionics, and electronic warfare equipment along with the development and sustainment of mission-critical software, test program sets, and automated test equipment. He has championed collaboration efforts with Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) and Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority to establish the Aviation Workforce Development Center at the old Boeing facility. The educational partnership allows students to learn industrial maintenance practices alongside 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group (402 CMXG) employees who work on manufactured aircraft components at this facility, Robins North.
Another notable achievement is the venture with Mercer University, in conjunction with the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Macon-Bibb County consolidated government, the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and NewTown Macon, to develop a new software lab on the historic musical ground, the former site of Capricorn Records. The project is made of a distinctive blend of old and new — a proven partnership, a historic location, and the desire for a modern high-tech facility. The result is bringing welcome change for a new generation of Robins’ software engineers and scientists. He was instrumental in creating the partnership to form the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center (ATTC), an innovation hub for emerging manufacturing technologies. ATTC will use a collaborative team approach, community outreach to Middle Georgia academic, and private industry talent to
CHAMBER CHAMPION AWARDThe success of our chamber is made possible, first and foremost by our members, but also by our tremendous team of volunteers. Each year we recognize an individual for their contribution to the Chamber with the Chamber Champion Award given in memory of A.C. “Dick” Walden who served as President & Executive Director of the Robins Regional Chamber for an amazing 16 years.
Watch their video here.
Recipient: Jeremy Bennett, Parrish Construction Group
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: This year’s award recipient played an instrumental role in our Extreme Chamber Makeover. Jeremy Bennett of Parrish Construction Group truly embodies the spirit of this award. New to the Chamber board in 2019, as soon as the task of leading the Chamber renovation project was discussed in his presence, he jumped at the opportunity to offer his expertise and support as well as the heavy-lifting power of his employer, Parrish Construction Group. It is rare to find Jeremy in the spotlight, but you can always feel his presence working behind the scenes to ensure the job gets done.
OUTSTANDING LEADER AWARDThe 2017 Leadership Robins Region (LRR) Class – a class of leaders, has selected one of their own, to receive very special recognition – the Community Leadership Award in memory of Dr. Dan Callahan. Dr. Dan was a longtime resident of the Robins Region who lived the credo service before self. He served in the Army Medical Department during WWII and again as a volunteer physician during the Vietnam conflict. He was instrumental in the founding of Happy Hour and the Houston County Volunteer Medical Clinic. Dr. Dan embodied the characteristics of outstanding community leadership. The members of the class of 2017 have selected one of their classmates to be named the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Dan Callahan Community Leadership Award.
Watch their video here.
Recipient: Gracie Rigby, Rigby’s Entertainment Complex
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: This year’s Dr. Dan Callahan Leadership Award Recipient has left an impressive mark on the Robins Region in a short period of time. Gracie Rigby truly demonstrates a dedication to her vocation and this community in a way that underscores her commitment to both the growth and success of our region. In addition to working full time as the Operations Manager of a multimillion-dollar business, this 2016 Leadership Robins Region grad is studying to earn a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Mercer University, and she still finds time to serve as an Ambassador of the Robins Regional Chamber. This year’s honoree is a gifted leader and we look forward to many years of her leadership in our community. In 2019, she spearheaded the efforts to “save” the Warner Robins Christmas Parade. She developed and executed an intricate plan to re-invigorate this longstanding Warner Robins tradition and to set it on a path for a bright future. She is to be commended for her bold vision and fearless efforts as she took on this significant task.
ROBINS REGIONAL ROCKSTAR
Formerly known as the Robins Regional Chamber Employee of the Year honoring Edward Bayer, this award is about the people in business who make our days a little brighter or an experience a little more enjoyable. They are passionate about their work and they love the Robins Region. Ed believed in putting people first – investing in his employees and empowering them to do great work. The 2019 Robins Regional Rockstar Award is sponsored by Spherion Staffing.
Each of our 10 finalists was nominated by their employers, their customers, their patients, and friends. They represent a wide variety of positions and industries with the shared quality of providing exceptional service.
Hannah Branham, Coldwell Banker Free Realty
Chelsea Dozier, Ashley’s Business Solutions
Matt Evans, M&R Marketing
Amber Gross, Visiting Angels
Clayton Guthrie, OrthoGeorgia
JaMelle Hill, Central GA Technical College
Tanner Hughes, Museum of Aviation Foundation
Loretta Rusinski, Longhorn Steakhouse
Mandy Stella, City of Warner Robins
Peter Tran, Houston Healthcare
2019 Robins Regional Rockstar: Peter Tran, Houston Healthcare
Watch Peter Trans video here.
View photos from the 2020 Pinnacle Awards through the link below. Don’t forget to share on social media with #RobinsPinnacleAwards