BOWLING GREEN, KY-The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated a year of success at last night’s Annual Dinner at Sloan Convention Center, where more than 600 local business leaders, regional partners and special guests were treated to a unique twist on the traditional annual dinner.
According to 2013 Board Chairman Brad Howard, “In previous years we’ve hosted the traditional annual dinner with long speeches and lots of awards. This year, we tried to find a new and different way to celebrate the year’s achievements. With the outstanding successes of The Leader In Me and a banner economic development year, we have a lot of good news to share. It seemed natural to celebrate those two things together, and we thought a ‘live’ newscast would be a perfect way to add some fun to the event. Special thanks to Commonwealth Health Corporation for their title sponsorship that made this event possible.”
Barbara Deeb, Producer and Host on WKU Public Radio, and Tony Rose, host of The Tony Rose Show on 100.7 FM (WKLX), served as anchors for the “newscast”, while children from local schools served as reporters. The broadcast centered around the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, which are the focus of the Sean Covey-led The Leader In Me initiative. In 2013, the Chamber raised nearly $1.3 million of the $1.6 million needed to fund implementation of The Leader In Me in all schools in Bowling Green and Warren County, K-12. All 19 elementary schools and all 5 middle schools are on the path to Lighthouse status, with both districts’ high schools moving forward in 2014 on track for Bowling Green to be the very first community in the nation to have the Leader in Me K-12 in its school districts. The Chamber and its partners have been strong proponents of The Leader In Me initiative as a way to support the community through talent development in the Bowling Green and Warren County area.
Eight of the Chamber’s President’s Club partners sponsored the “commercials” for the newscast, each focusing on one of the 7 Habits of Happy Kids:
Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner, Carr, Riggs, & Ingram
Begin with the End In Mind
Sponsored by President’s Club Diamond Star Partner, Western Kentucky University
Put First Things First
Sponsored by President's Club Gold Star Partner Independence Bank
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Sponsored by President's Club Gold Star Partner BGMU Fiber
Sharpen the Saw
Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner, Stewart Richey Construction, Inc.
Effectiveness to Greatness
Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner, BKD, LLC.
Presentation Sponsors for the evening were Holiday Inn University Plaza, Graves-Gilbert Clinic, and Gordon Ford College of Business and WKU Athletics. WKU-PBS provided outstanding production services for the event, as well as a top-notch production crew that included several WKU students.
Additional Sponsors included:
Gerald Printing, Print Sponsor
Illuminanz, Up-Lighting Sponsor
The star of the night, however, was the economic development successes celebrated in Bowling Green and Warren County this year. "2013 was a year of economic development success, as the Chamber supported announcements totaling more than $240 million in capital investment and more than 350 additional jobs," said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Chamber. "In fact, we celebrated the 5th largest economic development in the state in 2013. Clearly, economic development is important to the region, and we thank all of our elected leadership, allies, President's Club partners and regional economic development partners for helping us effectively market South Central Kentucky."
In addition, 2013 Board Chairman Brad Howard ceremonially passed the gavel to his predecessor, 2014 Board Chairman John Mark Fones, Senior Vice President, Managed Care, of President’s Club Diamond Star partner, Commonwealth Health Corporation.
"It is a real honor to serve as Chairman of the Chamber this year," said Fones. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with our partners and staff to make a lasting impact on the region through our programs, activities and business advocacy. I look forward to meeting with our Chamber partners and developing new ways to grow our economy here in South Central Kentucky."
Also at the event, 2014 Chairman Fones unveiled his theme for the year: Growing Talent, Leading Innovation. In an interview with Barb Deeb, he emphasized the value of workforce development and why the Chamber believes it is important to emphasize talent at all levels, whether through The Leader in Me initiative in school systems or the implementation of a jobs portal that matches talent with available jobs. He also noted that innovation is integral to the continued competitiveness of the region against a global economic development landscape, pointing to innovative research and development opportunities available at Western Kentucky University and South Central Kentucky Community and Technical College.