Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Angels in our midst

The following article was written exclusively for The Lake Norman Citizen Newspaper and printed in the  January 22, 2014 edition.

As president of the Lake Norman Chamber, I cannot adequately express how proud I am of the people from our community who step up to the plate and make this region a great place to live, work, and visit. Like the lake itself, these selfless acts send ripples across the face of our community and change lives in its wake.  Last weekend, nearly 200 business and elected leaders packed The Peninsula Club to attend the Chamber’s Annual Meeting.  It was a reflection of the past year as outgoing Board Chair Wendy Moran shared the accomplishments of our chamber and recognized key community leaders and volunteers.

Randy Marion of Randy Marion Automotive receives the Lake Norman Chamber Cashion Business Person of the Year.  Pictured are: Chamber President Bill Russell, Chamber Board Chair Wendy Moran, Randy Marion, and Bobby Cashion.  Photo courtesy of Deborah Young Studio.

Randy Marion of Randy Marion Automotive receives the Lake Norman Chamber Cashion Business Person of the Year. Pictured are: Chamber President Bill Russell, Chamber Board Chair Wendy Moran, Randy Marion, and Bobby Cashion. Photo courtesy of Deborah Young Studio.

Randy Marion was selected the Business Person of the Year. His dealership excelled in 2013 and Marion was recognized nationally as the #1 Business Elite Dealer in the nation.  Jim Engel, president and CEO of Aquesta Bank, was acknowledged with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award.  In addition to their business success, Marion and Engel have contributed greatly to their communities.  Each has been recognized by the March of Dimes for outstanding leadership. Marion is also involved with the Mooresville Soup Kitchen, the Piedmont Council of Boy Scouts, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Engel is a strong supporter of Big Day at the Lake, the Ada Jenkins Center, the Dove House and the American Red Cross.

While the Chamber’s gala was a time to reflect and celebrate, there were few dry eyes in the crowd when the staff of Business Today was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.  Literally fighting for his life, Business Today founder Dave Yochum spent half of 2013 facing a series of health challenges.  Dave is not only the hands-on leader of two newspapers, he is the founder of Big Day at the Lake and the Top Women in Business program.  During the past year, when Dave was unable to lead the projects himself, the staff of Business Today, as well as a number of community volunteers, made sure those programs met and exceeded the bar of success that Dave set in prior years.

One of our chamber members approached me with tears in her eyes. She hugged me and thanked the chamber for reminding her why she and her husband chose the Lake Norman region to live. Her comments and those just like hers that I get to hear on a weekly basis serve as a constant reminder of the impact we all make working together in a common cause. As the presentation of awards concluded, the Duke Citizenship and Service Award, was presented to Angels of ’97, a completely volunteer non-profit serving the entire north Mecklenburg area.

It was created by former Huntersville Town Commissioner Charles Guignard, shortly after the death of two high school students, who perished in a tragic auto accident in 1995.  To date, the organization has provided 152 scholarships to local high school students raising a little over $500,000. Angels of ’97 now offers a ministry group to console families who have lost children.  They hold monthly meetings for family members to share, reflect, and support one another.

Charles Guignard, founder of Angels of ’97, receives the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. Pictured are Chamber President Bill Russell, Chamber Board Chair Wendy Moran, Charles Guignard, NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Tim Gause.  Photo courtesy of Deborah Young Studio.

Charles Guignard, founder of Angels of ’97, receives the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. Pictured are Chamber President Bill Russell, Chamber Board Chair Wendy Moran, Charles Guignard, NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Tim Gause. Photo courtesy of Deborah Young Studio.

Like the angels they honor, these volunteers serve up spaghetti dinners for scholarships. They care for those who need comfort and consolation, lending a helping hand when times are tough. However, you will not recognize them by the wings on their back but by the smiles on their face and the love in their hearts. They are all God’s gift and a reminder, as a community – our Lake Norman community, we are never truly alone.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell is the president and CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce with approximately 1,000 business members serving the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region

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January 28, 2014 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chamber Celebrates 25th Year of Service to Lake Norman Regional Business Community

Annual Banquet & Meeting: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at Havana Banquet & Ballroom

Bobby Cashion and 2011 Chamber Chairman Robert Reed present John Bradford of Park Avenue Properties, LLC (center) with the 2011 Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year.

Bobby Cashion and 2011 Chamber Chairman Robert Reed present John Bradford of Park Avenue Properties, LLC (center) with the 2011 Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year.

On Thursday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m. Chamber officers and members will gather at the Havana Banquet & Ballroom 8325 Copley Drive in Cornelius to celebrate this past year of accomplishment and reward key individuals who set the benchmark in our region at the Lake Norman Chamber Annual Awards Gala.  The prestigious Cashion Business Person of the Year will once again be bestowed upon a deserving individual in the region. In addition, the Duke Power Citizenship and Service Award will be presented to an individual, group, or business.  The purpose of the award is to recognize and reward leadership and/or involvement in volunteerism and community service.

Chamber Chairman Jack Salzman will give a brief recap of 2012 highlights before handing the reigns of leadership over to incoming Chamber Chairman Wendy Moran.

Chamber President Bill Russell stated that since the Chamber of Commerce was celebrating Twenty-Five years, the organizing committee felt something unique and memorable should take place in lieu of the typical dinner speaker. “This year we will have three dynamic community leaders who will share how the Chamber “Grows local business, serves as a relentless advocate for business, and touches lives.”

Current Board Chairman Jack Salzman, owner of Lake Norman Chrysler

Chamber President Bill Russell with newly elected NC Senator Jeff Tarte

Chamber President Bill Russell with newly elected NC Senator Jeff Tarte

Jeep Dodge Ram, has focused on the creation of a new website for the Chamber to enhance the organization’s ability to promote the membership as well as make it easier for members to access information regarding programming and member benefits online.  Salzman also introduced a new business development program called the “Competitive Edge”, held in November, and which will debut this month on the Chamber’s website.

Wendy Moran is a Vice President and Business Center Manager for Peoples Bank in Denver, North Carolina.   Moran’s banking career spans 20 years and a myriad of titles.  But her passion for working directly with clients, developing market share and her community involvement made her the unanimous choice as the 2013 Board Chairman for the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.  The Black Tie optional event is presented by the Lake Norman Citizen; Gold Sponsors include Duke Energy Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville and Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; and Silver Sponsors are The McIntosh Law Firm, Ice by Premo, n2 Publishing, Business Today and Regions Bank. The 2013 Bronze sponsors are Bentz & Associates and CommunityOne Bank.  Sponsorships are still available and the cost per person is $65. To make a reservation or inquire about sponsorships call Brett Zabek at 704-892-1922.

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment