Chamber recognizes community leaders

PARKERSBURG – The business community came out Thursday to honor those who have made a difference in the community.

Area business people and businesses were honored during the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s annual dinner and awards banquet at the Parkersburg Art Center.

“I think 2013 has been a wonderful year,” said Chamber President and CEO Jill Parsons.

The variety of programing that has helped serve the local business community has continually brought many businesses together.

Of the awards, Parsons said it was really hard to pick winners.

“There are so many deserving companies and individuals who play a role in our business community who support the Chamber and our efforts,” she said. “Hopefully, some of the organizations that participated this year will be nominated again and hopefully other businesses will see opportunities to be nominated next year.

“I feel great about the winners we had this year. They were a great representation of our business community.”

Matt Tranquill, the Advertising Director of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, was named the 2013 Young Business Leader of the Year. He organized the Chamber’s Business Expo; active with the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, involved in the AirExpo public relations committee, and coach for Tri-C Baseball. He also led the News and Sentinel’s Advertising Department to record sales for the last three years.

“Being honored with this award is a reflection of the abilities of the advertising staff and the other departments of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel,” he said. “I look forward to continue to build strong relationships with our advertising partners and the community.”

Parkersburg News and Sentinel Publisher Jim Spanner, who was the Chamber’s 2012 Business Person of the Year, commended Tranquill’s award and the work he continually does.

“Matt’s recognition as Young Business Leader of the Year is well deserved,” Spanner said. “He has earned the respect of the business community and his positive attitude is infectious.”

The Business Person of the Year 2013 was Elysia Atkinson of Peoples Bank. She has continually exceeded in challenges she was given. She helped open a new Peoples Bank facility in Vienna and gave of her time and volunteered at numerous events throughout the year.

“I love to give back to the community,” she said. “Any type of community event that I could give back in representing Peoples Bank, I tried to do. Whether it be the Wedding Expo or the Chili Cookoff or the Taste of Parkersburg…you name it, I tried to be there representing Peoples Bank.”

Atkinson said it is very important to give back to the community and volunteer, especially in business by putting one’s self out there and going above and beyond the normal workday.

“I think it speaks volumes to the person that you are,” she said. “To me, it is not about the 9 to 5. To me, it is about what can I do to make a difference in an individual’s life as well as for a group of people.

“I always find ways to give back to the community. To me, it makes me feel like I am making a difference and that is a huge deal to me. At Peoples Bank, we are big on volunteering and giving back to the community. That coincides with what I try to do everyday.”

The keynote speaker Gregg Gregory spoke on “Navigating Generational Differences in the Workplace.” Gregory is a Certified Speaking Professional with more than 25 years working at all levels within corporate America.

He talked about how people of a certain age tend to view the world and technology in how they do things.

Gregory told everyone to remember a phrase his high school principal taught him, “If it is to be it is up to me.”

Through hard work and teamwork with others, he said he has lived those words.

“I can take anything in my life and trace it back to these 10 little words,” he said. “It is up to you.

“That is how you begin to be influential. You have to influence the people you lead.”

Leaders have to have a connection with people, regardless of generations, Gregory said.

“Use your influence to be a great leader,” he said.