Business leaders honored at Chamber dinner

fr chamberEach year the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce honors local businesses and leaders for their contributions to the community during its annual dinner and awards ceremony.

The Business of the Year award went to the Lake Junaluska Assembly. Employing more than 200 people and hosting groups from all over country, the Assembly has a major impact on the local economy. 

Skyrunner Wireless, an Asheville-based wireless internet company, was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Skyrunner has been able to provide many Haywood County residents and businesses with high-speed wireless internet when they had no other options. 

Taylor and Preston Gregg were the winners of the Business Start-Up competition, which will award them up to $10,000 to move forward with their wedding venue The Ridge at Chestnut Mountain.

Haywood County Commission Chairman Mark Swanger, who is not seeking re-election this year when his term is up, was recognized for his service to the county. Swanger has served as a commissioner since 2002 and also served on the Haywood County Board of Education before being elected as a commissioner. 

During his tenure on the board, Swanger was successful at acquiring the Dayco property, constructing the parking deck in downtown Waynesville, acquiring the former Walmart property and remodeling it for social services offices, and purchasing property in Beaverdam for the industrial park site. 

“Haywood County has and will for many decades benefit richly from your talent and dedicated public service over many decades,” said Chamber President CeCe Hipps as she presented the award to Swanger. 

Cecil Yount, who is a lead organizer for the Chamber’s Blue Ridge Breakaway event, received the Volunteer of the Year award. 

Katy Gould, director of the Small Business Center at Haywood Community College, received the Young Professional of the Year award. 

Rob Roland, Realtor and broker with Keller Williams, received the chamber’ Ambassador of the Year award. 

Travis Hyatt, Josh Brandt and Bruce Johnson received Rulers of Success awards for implementing new chamber programs to help businesses. 

The 2015-16 graduates of the Haywood Leadership program were also recognized during the dinner reception. 

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