Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 2020 Athena and 2020 Small Business Person of the Year

Published Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Bowling Green, Ky. (June 9, 2020) - Today the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce awarded two prestigious awards to outstanding businesspeople in our community: the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year and the 2020 ATHENA.

ATHENA

Monica Wardlow of German American Bank was named the 35th recipient of the ATHENA Award presented by the Chamber and Martin Dodge Jeep Chrysler RAM. For over 17 years Monica has helped others through the banking industry. Monica serves as a Chamber Ambassador and Board Member and in 2019 she received the Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award. Along with her Chamber involvement, Monica is heavily involved in supporting community non-profits such as Junior Achievement, where she serves on the Board of Directors, and United Way.

“It is a great day for myself and all the previous ATHENA Award recipients to honor our newest member for 2020, Monica Wardlow! In submitting a nomination for Monica, I noted that Monica not only demonstrates excellence within her profession, she works diligently to improve the quality of life for others,” said 2012 ATHENA recipient Sue Parrigin. “Monica is very active in our community, her church and several non-profit organizations and shows passion for others through volunteerism. Monica exemplifies the true spirit of the ATHENA Award through service and support for others, mostly without recognition. We all look forward to welcoming and celebrating Monica as ATHENA 2020.” 

The nominees for the award are:

  • Jean Cherry, Med Center Health
  • Debi Wade-Jordan, retired from Bowling Green Warren County Community Education
  • Julie Milam, WNKY-TV
  • Denise Mitchell, Village Manor/Christian Health Center
  • Monica Wardlow, German American Bank


“The ATHENA award recognizes an individual for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to their community and actively helping women to attain professional excellence and leadership skills. Monica holds all these qualities and more, and we are proud to have her leading the way for women in the Bowling Green community,” said Chamber chairman Eric Walker.

2020 Small Business Person of the Year

Kelly Arnold, and his wife Kristy, established Gemini Homes in 1995 to build custom homes in Bowling Green, Kentucky and surrounding areas. He has served as President of the Builders Association of South Central Kentucky and is a member of the National Home Builders Association. Over the years, Gemini Homes has built over 100 custom and speculative homes in and around the Bowling Green/Warren County area, not to mention numerous home renovations. Kelly has been heavily involved in the Chamber’s Leadership Bowling Green program since 2012 when he graduated from the program and was awarded the Bart Hagerman Leadership Award.

“Over twenty years ago, the first time I saw Kelly Arnold, he was working hard as a framing subcontractor. I was immediately impressed with his productive and positive attitude about his quality work. He took pride in what he was doing and who he was doing it for,” said 1997 Small Business Person of the Year recipient Michael Murphy. As Kelly grew in business over the years, he never lost that productive and positive attitude, and he always had respect and encouragement for those who were climbing that same ladder in their careers. He has always been willing to help, teach and promote others in their personal endeavors.  The more Kelly grew personally and professionally, the more he gave and helped others.”

Since 1985, the Chamber has annually named a community member the Small Business Person of the Year. The award recognizes a business leader who:

  • Owns and operates a for-profit company that employs 100 or fewer full-time employees
  • Has invested his or her own money in that small business
  • Has experienced recent business growth
  • Is involved in the development and growth of the Bowling Green community

 
The nominees for the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year are:

  • Kelly Arnold, Gemini Homes, Inc.
  • Tony Bishop, Hot Yoga Bowling Green
  • Robert Bowden, The Spartan Garage, LLC
  • Susan Hoechner, Barbara Stewart Interiors
  • Mike Hughes, Cambridge Market Café
  • Sasha Mandrapa, Novo Dulce, Pub by Novo and Burger & Bowl

 
"Our selection committee is faced with an extremely tough decision each year when choosing from such strong nominees," said Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch. "The highest quality of businessmen and women represent our small business community, and we are honored to recognize their leadership through this award. Small businesses make up 90 percent of the Chamber's partnership, and we couldn't accomplish what we do without their support."

 

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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. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 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.