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Outgoing chamber chair, John Bryan of CedarStone Bank, Sue Vanatta, retiring chamber president and CEO, and incoming president and CEO Melanie Minter. Photo courtesy of the Wilson Post.
On Thursday, February 6, the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet at Lebanon's Capitol Theater. Over 320 people attended the sold-out event to recognize Sue Vanatta as she retired from the chamber as president and CEO after 23 years of service.
The new president and CEO, Melanie Minter was introduced at the event, and the new board of directors and board chairman John Bradshaw were installed.
John Bryan, 2014 Ambassador of the Year Linda Spencer, Melanie Minter. Photo courtesy of the Wilson Post.
Outgoing chairman of the board, CedarStone vice president John Bryan, reflected on his term of office and expressed his gratitude for the vision and hard work of the chamber’s leadership.
Address by John Bryan
Ladies and gentlemen, 2014 has flown by. We have experienced an action-packed year. We celebrated our 90th birthday as a chamber, we said goodbye to a dear friend and leader for 23 years in Sue Vanatta as she retired on December 31st, and we will said hello and welcome to our new President for 2015 and beyond.
In setting our goals this past year, I know we set the bar high. Many of our goals we accomplished, some we fell short. But for the most part, we succeeded in the task at hand. Your chamber remains strong and vibrant in the communities we serve. And I know, with the leadership we have in place for this year and years to come, your Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber will continue to create commerce, provide services that help equip its membership, and embrace our membership with engaging events and informative meetings.
Tonight is a night of celebration. We plan this event each year to celebrate with our membership. Ladies and gentlemen, everything good that happens in our community, your chamber has its hands right in the middle of it.
Think about it: ground-breakings, ribbon cuttings, educational events, industry appreciation, recruitment of businesses and industry, tourism and special events – anything that we celebrate, Christmas, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day…your chamber is in the middle of it.
Tonight we will recognize many local businesses and some individuals that have stood out among the crowds. These awards are given to very deserving and honorable recipients and the committees that choose these winners take their job very seriously. I congratulate you all and, with that, let us begin the 2014 Cedar Tree Award presentation.
Before I introduce my friend, John Bradshaw, and pass the gavel for 2015, I want to take this time to thank my wife of 26 years for putting up with me. Like I said earlier in my remarks, this year was busy. It was actually an emotional roller coaster for me. In the midst of serving as your Chairman, Kim and I worked on getting our home prepared for my daughter’s wedding. We pulled that event off in June and from that point on, things seemed to get a little bit easier. I would also like to thank my parents, T.A. and Jean Bryan, for their support. Every time I turned around at a ribbon cutting or business-after-hours, T.A. and Jean were there. Thanks for always being there.
Thanks to my employer, Bob McDonald and CedarStone Bank and my co-workers for allowing me to be away each and every week at some sort of chamber function, meeting, or ribbon cutting. Melynda Bounds, our Lebanon office manager, has covered for me too many times to mention and I appreciate you for your friendship, patience and dedication.
John Bryan also recognized the chamber’s board members and those who served in leadership roles:
Economic Development: Jud Nave
Government Relations: Phil Carter
Sports Council: Paul Jewell
Membership: Melanie Minter
Tourism: Debbie Stewart
Education: Scott Jasper
Treasurer: Brenda Burkett