Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 2014 Small Business Person of the Year and 2014 ATHENA Award Winners

Published Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bowling Green, Ky. (April 23, 2014) – Today the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce awarded two prestigious awards to outstanding business people in our community. 

Small Business Person of the Year

Mike Coffey, owner of BlueCotton, Inc. was awarded the 2014 Small Business Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Overhead Door Company. “Small businesses are vital to this community, and we are thankful to have so many accomplished business owners to honor. BlueCotton, Inc. is a great success story, and we are so proud to have them as a leader in our outstanding small business community here in Bowling Green. ” said Chamber Board Chairman John Mark Fones. 

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has named a community member the “Small Business Person of the Year” since 1985.  The award recognizes a business leader who owns and operates a for-profit company that employs 100 or fewer full-time employees, who has invested his or her own money in that small business, who has experienced recent business growth, and who is involved in the development and growth of the Bowling Green community.  Nominees were:

Leo Eggleton, Leo Eggleton Accounting

Marsha Wyzkowski, Merry Maids ServiceMaster

Mary Meszaros, Mary Jane Chocolates

Mike Coffey, Blue Cotton, Inc.

Thomas Thompson, Southern Kentucky Oral Surgery Associates

Robert Ramsey, Container World, Inc.


“The selection committee faced a tough decision this year, as it does every year. The high quality of our small business community continues to make our decision a very difficult one.  We are so proud of our small businesses and we are delighted to be able to honor our small business leaders with this award.  Their businesses are invaluable to our local economy and our quality of life,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.   



Michelle Gorman of US Bank was named the 29th recipient of the ATHENA Award, given by the Chamber and The Martin Management Group.  Chairman John Mark Fones commented “The ATHENA Award is a very special award and once again we are honored to have such a strong group of nominees. I’d like to personally thank the Martin Management Group for co-sponsoring this ground-breaking award that highlights positive role models for women.” 

The Chamber, with the generous support of the Martin Management Group, has honored local business people for contributing to the advancement of women in the workplace by presenting well-deserving business leaders with the ATHENA Award for the past 28 years.  The ATHENA Award celebrates positive role models in the business world – more than 3,000 women and men to date – on local, state, national, and international stages. The ATHENA Foundation is dedicated to recognizing individual leaders that have opened doors of opportunity for women in the workplace and beyond. The 4 nominees for the award were:

Robbin Taylor, WKU

Dena Nelson, ARGI Financial Group

Michelle Gorman, US Bank

Shannon Vitale, Hilliard Lyons


Both award recipients will be honored at the Chamber’s Excellence Awards Luncheon on May 15th at the Knicely Convention Center.  The event is the highlight of Small Business Appreciation Month and will feature both winners as keynote speakers.  To attend the event, online registration is required at Individual tickets are $30 and tables of 10 are $300. 



About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:


Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.