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Columbia Business Monthly

Greenville Chamber Honors Community’s Business Leaders at 135th Annual Meeting

Feb 23, 2024 05:35PM ● By David Dykes

The Greenville Chamber held its 135th Annual Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at the Greenville Convention Center. The theme for the event, presented by TD Bank, was “Betting Big for Greenville” and featured the Chamber’s bold vision for the future, recognition of Chamber volunteer leadership, and presentation of annual awards.

Through a panel discussion featuring four of Greenville’s visionary leaders, Greenville Chamber President/CEO Carlos Phillips shared the Greenville Chamber’s plans for the year ahead and urged attendees to work collaboratively to meet the evolving needs of Greenville’s growing community.

The “Legacy and Emerging Greenville Leaders” panel discussion featured Judge Merl Code, Of Counsel at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.; Minor Shaw, president of MICCO LLC; Carl Sobocinski, president of the Table 301 Restaurant Group; and Ebony Sullivan, chief operating officer of Cassy Electric.

Panelists shared leadership lessons, stories of Greenville’s transformation and called upon attendees to use their own platforms to drive change in Greenville.

Annual awards were presented to the following Upstate leaders:

The Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes an individual for service in her or his role as a Greenville Chamber Ambassador. This year’s award was presented to Ashley Cowper, director of Business Development for Craft Axe Throwing and active Greenville Chamber Ambassador for her service in 2023.

The ATHENA Leadership Award, sponsored by Hughes Agency, honors individuals who assist women in reaching their full leadership potential; demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Marjorie Jenkins for her role as dean of the USC School of Medicine Greenville.

The Buck Mickel Leadership Award, sponsored by Duke Energy, honors those who have impacted the community by playing a leadership role in solving critical community issues, strengthening the community or providing visionary leadership to a major community development project. The 2023 Buck Mickel Leadership Award was awarded to Stewart Spinks for his philanthropic endeavors and professional accomplishments over the past 51 years of The Spinx Company.

The 2023 Chairman’s Award, sponsored by Ogletree Deakins, was presented to Tami Miller, former Leadership Development Director at the Greenville Chamber. Miller was recognized for her 15 years of service in developing Greenville’s current and future leaders.

The F. Ben Haskew Collaboration Award, sponsored by Furman University, recognizes Upstate leaders who display progressive visions and a partnership approach to responsible growth in the Upstate. The 2023 award was presented to Dave Edwards in recognition of his leadership of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District and his role in Greenville’s community and economic development.  

The Leadership Greenville Distinguished Alumni Award, sponsored by Prisma Health, recognizes a Leadership Greenville Alum who has made civic and community contributions. The 2023 award was presented to Brian Albers and Mario Brown, graduates of Leadership Greenville Class 43 and co-founders of Affordable Upstate. After meeting in Leadership Greenville, Albers and Brown were inspired to create Affordable Upstate to support neighbors in need.  

The Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award, sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, is given annually to an organization or individual that has shown exemplary efforts toward improving the lives of those in Greenville. The award is named in honor of former Greenville Mayor Max Heller, who spearheaded numerous efforts over the years to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Greenville County. The 2023 award was presented to Upstate Circle of Friends in honor of work to enhance the quality of life for Greenville’s at-risk youth and their families.  

The Minority Business of the Year Award is presented to a local, independent and minority-owned company that has been in business for a minimum of three years and is a graduate of the Minority Business Accelerator program. The 2023 award was presented to 360clean. Owner Lorenzo Bates has led the organization to become an innovative leader of the janitorial service industry.

The Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Greenville Triumph and Greenville Liberty, was presented to Cassy Electric. Under the leadership of Chief Operating Officer Ebony Sullivan, Cassy Electric is a rapidly growing electrical contractor and is unique in the woman-owned, minority-owned and family-owned designations.

The Young Professional of the Year Award, sponsored by Michelin North America, is designed to recognize an individual between the ages of 22 and 39 for his or her involvement in the community. The 2023 award was presented to Jessica McCoy. McCoy serves as client experience manager at Brasfield and Gorrie.