Kimberly McMurray of Ward Scott Architecture Named Member of the Year; Chamber Recognizes Volunteers at Awards Celebration

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At the 115th Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration, held Thursday at the Bryant Conference Center, Kimberly McMurray of Ward Scott Architecture was named the 2015 Charles H. Land Member of the Year, the Chamber’s highest honor presented to an individual member. Beginning her involvement with the organization as a Chamber Ambassador, Kimberly now serves in a range of leadership roles, including on the Board of Directors, with the Education Policy Council and as immediate past chair of the Women’s Division. A 2013 graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa, Kimberly now chairs the program and is active within the Leadership Tuscaloosa Alumni Association. Kimberly also has served the Chamber as project manager for the design of the new Edge facility, which is nearing construction.

“Kimberly sets the standard for active engagement in the Chamber,” said Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “We are extremely fortunate that she gives so much of her time and attention to the important work of this organization.”

Kimberly sets the standard for active engagement in the Chamber.

The Robert Tanner Corporate Service Award was presented to WVUA-TV. The award, which is the organization’s highest corporate honor, is given annually to recognize exceptional charitable, volunteer and philanthropic service by a corporate entity in the Tuscaloosa County/West Alabama region. WVUA was honored for its service to the local community as a go-to source for local news and information, as well as a resource for local programming such as their Featured Teacher segment and Law Call. The station gives back to non-profit organizations through consistent promotion, and also serves as a training ground for aspiring journalists through the University of Alabama.

The Chairman’s Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Robert E. Witt, who, during his tenure as President of the University of Alabama, spearheaded a plan that has positioned UA as one of America’s fastest growing public research universities. This award is given to an individual who has provided extraordinary leadership and service to the community. Dr. Witt’s impact on the Tuscaloosa County Community and the State of Alabama has reached far beyond his leadership roles in higher education. He is past chairman of the Board of the Chamber, and chaired the Chamber’s Working As 1 capital campaign in 2012.

The Minority Business Council Trailblazer Award was presented to Fitzgerald Washington, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor, and Verta Barr-Meherg, the first female chair of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Alabama Automobile Dealers Association. This award is presented to individuals whose pioneering contributions have been outstanding and unique, and whose efforts have blazed a trail in their profession.

Annette Smallwood of Chick-fil-A of Northport was named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year for her exceptional service to and on behalf of the Chamber’s membership. The Ambassadors are the Chamber’s official hosts for all functions.

The Chamber also recognized outstanding community leadership with the presentation of three Distinguished Service Awards, which are presented to individuals or organizations for their service and leadership. The 2015 awards were presented to Judy Graham of the Alabama Department of Commerce, Bruce Henderson of Phelps, Jenkins, Gibson & Fowler and Cal Holt of Knight Sign Industries.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is a Tuscaloosa-based pro-business advocacy organization serving over 65,000 working men and women through more than 1,250 business enterprises, civic organizations and educational institutions.  The official transition to the 2016 leadership team was made at the annual celebration.  Norman Crow of D.T. & Freight Company served as the 2015 Chairman of the Chamber and Dan Blakley of Regions Bank serves as the 2016 Chairman of The Chamber. “The future has limitless possibilities if we are all actively seeking opportunities to move this community forward and if we unify for the common goal of simply making life better in West Alabama,” Blakley said. “As a uniformed group, there is nothing we can’t achieve. The key is unity.”

Presenting Sponsor for the 115th Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration was the University of Alabama. The Bryant Conference Center and Mercedes-Benz were Gold Sponsors, and Silver Sponsors were Alumni Development & Construction, BF Goodrich, Randall Reilly, Raymond James, TekLinks and Townsquare Media.

Awards Sponsor: Award Company of America; Floral Arrangement Sponsor: Pat’s Florist; Reception Sponsor: Hotel Capstone; Video Sponsor: Seed Digital Media; Entertainment Sponsor: Fast Signs. Entertainment provided by Karis Lamb-Wilson.

Table Sponsors for the event were BankFirst, The Buffalo Rock Company, Capstone Bank, Core Focus Personnel, LLC, Renasant Bank, Tuscaloosa County Board of Education and the University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences.