Chamber Civitas Awards honor Beaufort leaders

In its 10th year, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Civitas Awards will celebrate the best and brightest businesses and business leaders in Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands June 29 at the Dataw Island Clubhouse.

Part of the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, the event includes a cocktail reception for networking, dinner, comments by the outgoing and incoming chairmen of the Chamber Board, and the highlight of the evening – recognition of the Civitas winners.

“This year, we recognize 34 highly qualified nominees and will celebrate 11 Civitas Awards,” said Blakely Williams, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.  The Civitas program is in line with the Chamber mission to lead the enhancement, expansion and diversification of the business community. The awards cover a wide scope of excellence in the community, she noted.

“We are so proud of these nominees, the work they’ve done and the promise they hold for our future,” said Jon Rembold, 2011-12 Chairman of the Chamber Board. “It’s a real honor for us to recognize them at such a big event.”

Early-bird tickets to the Annual Meeting and Civitas Awards are $50 for members and $65 for non-members of the Beaufort Chamber through Friday. To buy tickets or for more information, contact Renee Faucher at 525-8537 or renee@beaufortsc.org.

Judges for this year’s event included Kevin Cuppia, Modern Jewelers; John Perrill, CBC National Bank; Mike McFee, Hometown Realty; Jeff Evans, Lowcountry Weekly; Bill Bootle, individual; Frankie Denmark, Hargray Communications; Jeff Kidd, Beaufort Gazette; and Sallie Stone, Beaufort Memorial Hospital and The Blood Alliance.

The highlight of the Civitas Awards is the coveted Lifetime of Leadership honor. This award recognizes an individual who has made great contributions to his/her community with their lives through various avenues of service. Service may come in the form of business growth and development, setting higher standards and/or demonstrating great leadership skills.

Lifetime contributions in communities prior to moving to the Beaufort region are also considered in determining lifelong leadership, provided the nominee meets the eligibility requirements. Nominees for the 2012 Lifetime of Leadership Award are:

Robert DeLoach has lived in Beaufort all his life with the exception of his college years and his World War II service in the Navy.

He has positively impacted the lives of Beaufort residents over the last six decades with his invaluable engineering experience, beginning at Parris Island where he worked for 37 years as a mechanical engineer and at BES, Inc. where he has completed countless projects, introduced groundbreaking technologies in the field of engineering and mentored five generations of young engineers for the past 36 years.

Among DeLoach’s numerous volunteer hours include: the Beaufort Academy Board of Directors; Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association (LIBPAS) Board of Directors; South Carolina Social Services Board of Directors; and the Boy Scouts of America as District Commissioner.

Bernie Kole was drawn to Beaufort nearly 20 years ago by its strong sense of community and friendly people, Bernie Kole is the owner of Kole Construction, a well-known real estate development and residential homebuilder in Beaufort.  Kole served as the 2001 Chamber Chairman of the Board and played a key role in the Military Enhancement Committee for BRAC in 2005.

Kole’s volunteer hours include building the shelter and office building in 1998 for Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse, the Child Abuse Prevention Association office in 2007 and most recently, the CAPA Closet project on Ribaut Road.

Kole currently serves as president of CAPA, president of the Friends of the Beaufort County Library, Inc., and as a trustee of the Beaufort County Public Library system.

Larry Mark is a Beaufort native and founder and owner Furniture Warehouse Design Gallery (FWDG). He started his furniture business at just 20 years old in a converted garage in 1972.  Now in its 40th year, FWDG enjoys its 60,000 square feet showroom space, has generated millions in sales revenue and employs nearly 20 people.

As the fourth person in his family to graduate from Leadership Beaufort, Mark has served as Chairman of the Beauport Area Transportation Commission, Co-Chair for the Beaufort County Schools Air Quality Task Force, Chairman of the University of South Carolina division of the Small Business Development Centers and Beaufort Planning Board Officer.

Larry and Robyn Mark founded the FWDG Coat Drive, a 21-year old effort that has resulted in over 40,000 coats being distributed to needy children and adults throughout Beaufort County.

Other categories and nominees for this year’s Civitas Awards include:

Regional Economic Impact

This award recognizes a business that has demonstrated significant accomplishments in promoting economic prosperity and quality of life in our region.  Businesses nominated create a significant economic impact through investment, risk-taking or job creation at a macro level.

Nominees include the City of Beaufort; Mitchell Brothers Inc.; and Technical College of the Lowcountry.

Excellence in Free Enterprise

This award recognizes a business that is a model of successful enterprise for others. Success can include job creation, creating economic diversification for the community, unique risks and results, turning a business around or filling a market niche. Nominees include Greenbug and The Island News.

Community Stewardship

This award recognizes a for-profit business that actively and voluntarily supports community service organizations or provides support to individuals in need. It recognizes businesses that have made exemplary or long-standing contributions to our community, promoting community involvement within its corporate culture. Nominees include Beaufort Memorial Foundation, Robinson Grant and The Greenery.

Outstanding Non-Profit

This award recognizes a private, non-profit organization that demonstrates enhancement of the quality of life and betterment of the community, contributes a balance of time, expertise and funding, meets an identified community need, and serves locally, regionally or nationally with a local or regional presence. Nominees include Alzheimer’s Family Services, Beaufort Art Association, Beaufort County Historical Society, HELP of Beaufort and the Wardle Family YMCA .

Outstanding Leadership Beaufort Alumni

Leadership Beaufort Alumni was organized in 2009 and launched this award in 2010.  The award recognizes one of the alumni who best exemplify the directive of Leadership Beaufort to get engaged and give back to the community. Nominees are Terry Bennett, Jack Cunningham and Charlotte Gonzalez.

Tourism Leadership

This award recognizes a business, person or organization that has made great contributions to Beaufort County’s number one industry:  tourism. Nominees are Beaufort Water Festival and Ron Tucker of the Beaufort Film Society.

Outstanding Employee

This award recognizes an individual who provides excellent customer service, who are good team players and who raise the bar in their workplace by contributing new ideas that better their company. Nominees are Josh Castillio, Plums restaurant and Androula Weiland, Main Street Beaufort USA.

Military Citizenship Award

This award recognizes retired military in our community that makes exemplary and lasting contributions to our community. Nominees are Garry Parks, Bill Severns and Jack Snider.

Lowcountry Young Professional

This award recognizes a young professional who exemplifies strong professional capabilities, leadership qualities, service to the community and a respected character. Nominees are Will Achurch, Wells Fargo; Julie Good, Beaufort Historic Foundation; Joel Iacopelli, Capstone Financial Partners; Stephen Murray, Kazoobies Inc.; and Charlie Nolette, Berry Island.

The Civitas Awards also will recognize the Junior Enlisted Service Member of the Year and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year. Both winners are selected by staff at the three local military installations.

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