At last night's (Thursday, Nov. 15) Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Banquet, awards for Industry of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Woman of the Year and Man of the Year were presented.
Bill Kaplan, president of the Lincolnton Rotary Club, presented the Man of the Year Award to Wayne Lowe, retired after years of service at the Timken Company. Lowe was also touted for his service to the community through work at his church, Habitat for Humanity, the Rotary Club, the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce.
Woman of the Year honors went to Cheryl Burgess. Cathy Davis, president of the Business and Professional Women's Club presented the award, noting Burgess' contributions to the community through her involvement with Relay for Life and other organizations.
Mohican Mills was honored as the Industry of the Year. Bo King presented the award on behalf of the Lincoln County Economic Development Association. Accepting the award was Mohican Corporate Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jerry Deese. At its peak, Mohican employed over 900 people. While that number has shrunk to about 350, the company continues to provide jobs for many in the community and has managed to outlast most other textile firms.
Michelle Johnson, chair of the Small Business Council, presented the Small Business Person of the Year Award to Ralph Rudisill, owner of Zippers Restaurant. Not only does Zippers provide jobs for a staff of some 30 employees, Rudisill was praised for the restaurant's involvement with many charitable causes.
Also at the Banquet, Melissa Harrison took over the top position on the Chamber's Board of Directors, succeeding Buddy Collins. Collins noted that the Chamber had added almost a hundred new members this year, bringing membership to within a dozen of the all-time membership record.
Guest speaker for the event was Kelly Swanson. The event was sponsored by First Federal Savings Bank. Food was prepared and served by Mitchem's Kitchen.