About 500 officials, businesspeople and residents turned out to the Cherokee County Conference Center for the chamber’s annual meeting to hear of the progress made in 2013 and witness the welcome of the 2014 chairman of the board.
Before passing the gavel to new Chairman Lewis Cline, senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia, retiring Chairman Randy Gravley of WLJA radio remarked on what he said was another successful year for the chamber and the county.
“Not only are the existing industries growing and adding jobs, we’re also bringing new (companies) into this county,” Gravley said, referencing companies like Inalfa Roof Systems, which has just built a new plant at the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park in Acworth.
With other developments including the opening of the Cherokee County Aquatic Center and the county’s new fire services training center, Gravley said the county’s amenities were also improving.
“To have a great county we have to have great infrastructure and we have that here in Cherokee County,” he said. “We live and work in one of the greatest communities in the country.”
As for the Chamber of Commerce, Gravley said it had a strong year in 2013, with 83 percent of companies staying on as members and more than 4,600 people attending the organization’s events.
But without the work of volunteers and staff, Gravley said the chamber’s success wouldn’t be as attainable. Gravley praised many of those volunteers and presented one of them, John West, of Express Impressions, with the annual Chairman’s Council Volunteer of the Year award.
Former Cherokee High School teacher and tireless volunteer Joan McFather was also tapped for Citizen of Year.
Gravley was confident the new chairman would contribute to the success of the chamber and the county in 2014.
Through the years, Gravley said Cline has given many hours to causes like Reinhardt University’s “A Day” campaign, the Cherokee County Historical Society, the Salvation Army and the Canton Festival of the Arts.
“And it goes on and on and on,” Gravley said. “Now, Lewis, I’m not sure when you were able to do any work at the bank, but we thank you for your service to the county.”
Cline also praised Gravley as an inspiration and for his work in the past year as chairman.
“Randy has also been a good friend over the years and has been a great mentor this last year,” Cline said. “Randy is also one of the few who’s had the honor and privilege to chair this board twice.”
Drawing inspiration from Gravley and with the help of staff and volunteers, Cline said he would work to make 2014 another good year for business in Cherokee County.
“It is indeed a pleasure to work for a company whose values and beliefs are strongly focused on community service,” Cline said. “Through volunteers and support staff, the chamber will continue to connect businesses to businesses and businesses to the community. We are strongest when support each other and we create a united front to ensure all businesses succeed and grow in Cherokee County.”