The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Dale Henry, an author, educator, trainer and speaker, who is a native of East Tennessee and the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Henry earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Secondary Education before he obtained his doctorate degree in 1991 in education with a concentration in Adult and Continuing Education. Henry served as associate dean of professional and graduate studies for Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn., the oldest college in Tennessee.
Henry, who is considered to be a Southern humorist, uses his Smoky Mountains background to entertain, train and delight audiences. It was no different on Saturday evening as he had the banquet hall at the chamber in stitches with his performance.
"Success in life is not that hard," said Henry. "Success is where your heart is."
However, the main event of the evening was the awards presentation. The biggest honoree of the evening was Megan Madden, assistant vice president of marketing and business for Security Bank, who was doubly recognized as the 2012 Emerging Leader as well as the Chamber's Diplomat of the Year.
Madden, who was born and raised in Dyersburg, is an active member of the community, serving in Feed the Need, the Dyersburg Primary School HOSTS Program, Community Cancer Fund Annual BBQ, the Dyersburg Christmas Parade, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Union Mission Youth Center, UT Extension Piggy Bank Project, Chimes for Charity, McIver's Grant Read Around Town and the Dyer County Fair Board. Madden is also a Chamber diplomat and is involved in many other community enrichment programs.
Madden was recognized in 2009 as the Chamber's Woman of the Year and
"All of us who are in leadership positions in our companies know we must recruit, retain and develop good people to step up and take on more responsibilities in order to keep our organizations moving forward into the future," said Steve Guttery, director of Downtown Development for the Chamber. "She is more than just involved, she is committed."
"To whom much is given much is expected," said Madden as she accepted her award for Emerging Leader.
The Chamber also recognized two other individuals. Nancy West was named the Distinguished Woman of the Year for 2012 while Jeff Agee was named the Distinguished Man of the Year.
West who was also born and raised in Dyersburg serves the community in a number of ways including: the McIver's Grant Public Library Foundation Board, Dyersburg First United Methodist Church Council, Walk Across Tennessee Planning Board, Healthy Woman Advisory Board, Salvation Army bell ringer and is an Upward Basketball Program Volunteer.
West is currently the Dyersburg City Schools coordinator of Coordinated School Health and has focused most of her career on health and schools. She has emerged as a leader in promoting public health through smoking cessation, weight loss, nutrition, stress management, proper hygiene and highway safety.
Although West sets a high standard, Agee sets an equally high standard as Man of the Year. According to Guttery, judges consider motivation, civic leadership, business leadership, community involvement and dedication in determining the recipient of the award. Agee, who was born and raised in this community, has been employed by First Citizens Bank for the last 30 years and has had an intense focus of serving his community.
Agee is involved with countless organizations such as the Kiwanis Club, the WestStar Program, Leadership Dyer County, and currently serves on the board of United Way of West Tennessee, United Way of Dyer county, Dyersburg State Community College Foundation Board, Dyersburg State Annual Fund Drive, Boys Scouts of America Executive Advisory Board, Dyersburg Middle School Advisory Board, and Tennessee Scholars. Agee has also served as the chairman of the board for the Chamber for the last two years.
"He just keeps on working, keeps on volunteering and keeps on making Dyersburg a better place," said Guttery.
After being presented with the Man of the Year award, Agee delivered his last address as Chamber Board President commenting that he would continue to serve in this role for five years. In his message he pointed to the continued growth in Dyer County and encouraged residents to become involved in their community. Agee presented incoming Chamber Board President Larry White with the chairman's gavel at the conclusion of his speech.
Individuals were not the only ones recognized on Saturday evening, as large and small businesses took the stage to receive honors as well. C&C Pharmacy and owners Kevin Cook and Curtis Colbert were recognized as the Small Business of the Year.
"We are lucky to be able to do what we do," said Kevin Cook, owner of C&C Pharmacy. "Thank you (to C&C employees) for your hard work and dedication."
C&C is also a leader in the community, serving in the Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, United Way, DSCC Alumni Association Board, and previous service on the board of the YMCA of Dyer County.
The Large Business of the Year Award went to RFW Construction Group, which according to its website has built a nationwide reputation for delivering industrial projects, specializing in the fast-track design and construction of: food-processing facilities, freezers, cold-storage distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and bulk-storage distribution centers. Established in 2003, RFW has experienced single-digit growth in local employees and double-digit growth in revenue since its inception.
The owners and employees of RFW serve in a wide range of organizations including: Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, WestStar participants, Leadership Dyer County, Dyersburg State Community College Annual Fundraising Board members, YMCA of Dyer County, Duck Blast 2011 and 2012, Cub Scouts of America and Dixie Youth/Cal Ripken.
"God has blessed RFW," said Larry Rogers, representing RFW Construction Group. "Our team works hard and on their behalf we accept this award."