By Michael Pineda
The Houston Raceway Tower Club was hotsy-totsy and all those in attendance at the “Roaring Into 2020” event could agree it was the bee’s knees.
The West Chambers County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 35th annual awards gala to celebrate a successful year in which its growth mirrored that of its service area. The event honored members of the chamber for contributions over the past year Thursday night.
“There was so much excitement, 2019 was a year of unprecedented growth” Executive Director Macie Schubert said. “We have a very hard-working board of directors and volunteers that took the chamber to new heights.”
Schubert said the chamber has 424 members, 50 of which joined in the past year.
“It shows how much we have grown,” she said. “I can’t take credit for it, I have such a great staff. I feel so truly blessed to be put in a position to lead the chamber and look forward to 2020. We have a board working hard on new promotions we are going to roll out and further enhance the chamber.”
Schubert gave a lot of credit to Membership Director Rhonda Barker, who has been with the chamber for six years, and Ashley Wells, the events and office coordinator.
Headlining the event was the 2019 Person of the Year, Mont Belvieu City Manager Nathan Watkins. Watkins served in the U.S. Navy for six years as a member of Naval Special Warfare before joining the City of Mont Belvieu, where he has served the past eight years.
He was promoted from assistant city manager to city manager by the city council in December 2016. In 2019, he was awarded the Honorary Eagle Distinguished Alumni for Barbers Hill Independent School District. He is an avid hiker who has completed a trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp.
“Nathan is a wonderful advocate for the entire community,” Schubert said. “Every decision he makes, he has local business in mind. He is a big supporter of Barbers Hill ISD and is always at local functions. He is a wonderful advocate for the chamber of commerce.”
The night was also made special with the presentation of a new award. The Holly Jackson Award was developed to recognize those who demonstrated years of extraordinary vision, passion, diligence and drive to make the West Chambers County Chamber of Commerce and community a better place. Receiving the award was none other than Holly Jackson.
Johnny Eversole was named the Beach City Volunteer of the Year. Eversole is credited with bringing stability to the Beach City Volunteer Fire Department, helping build the department and raising funds. If not for his efforts, the fire department could very well have folded. Instead, it is thriving under his leadership.
Kathy Franssen was named the Old River-Winfree Volunteer of the Year unanimously by the city council. She has served on the council for six years and is active in assisting with Founders Day and Snow Day. She is a Master Gardener and has been a member of the Chambers County Historical Commission for the past six years.
Joey McWilliams was named the Mont Belvieu Volunteer of the Year. McWilliams has served with Turner Industries for 18 years as vice president. He is serving his eighth year on the city council, sixth as mayor pro-tem and on Friday nights, McWilliams is recognizable as the voice of the Eagle football team. He has also served on the chamber nine years and is a past president.
The 2019 Small Business of the Year is RE/MAX ONE-Premiere. It is located in the heart of Eagle Drive and has grown to 25 agents. It is active in business and in the community. The team is a testament to the adage, ‘Good leaders must first become good servants.’
The 2019 Business of the Year is Enterprise Products. The Committee Chair of the Year was Dean West of The Baytown Sun. Tara Quick with TWFG Quick Insurance was the Ambassador of the Year.
Bruce Temporary Services served as the underwriting sponsor and Patients ER was the entertainment sponsor for the event.