Greater Macon Chamber Hosts Annual Awards Recognizing Local Businesses and Community Leaders

Staff Report

Friday, December 1st, 2023

The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce announces the 2023 awards recipients that recognize local businesses and leaders for their outstanding engagement with the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and their extraordinary contributions to the Macon-Bibb business community. 

The recipients were announced at the Chamber’s annual awards celebration that was held on Thursday, November 30, 3:30 p.m., at Fall Line Station, presented by Cox, a longtime Chamber Investor. Over 250 people attended the annual program that the Chamber hosts to honor the year’s achievements.  

This year’s awards recipients represent the diversity of business in our community, from nonprofit and public service to small business and a leading economic engine. This year’s awards recipients are:  

  • Citizen of the Year: Josh Rogers, NewTown Macon 

  • Robert F. Hatcher Distinguished Alumni Award: Chief Marvin Riggins, Macon-Bibb Fire Department (Retired) 

  • Ambassador of the Year: Jonthan Barton, Quality Medical Management 

  • Workforce Development Champion Award: Prince Manufacturing 

  • Small Business of the Year: SPINEN 

  • Business Catalyst of the Year: Atrium Health Navicent 

The Citizen of the Year, awarded to Josh Rogers, is recognized by the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce annually for their character and contributions to our community and for working diligently to enhance the livability of the area and the economic climate of the area, which has resulted in the creation of new jobs and economic opportunities. The award was presented by Macon Water Authority Executive Director Ron Shipman, who was last year’s recipient.  

The Robert F. Hatcher Distinguished Alumni Award, given to retired Macon-Bibb Fire Chief Marvin Riggins, is awarded to an individual who is a graduate of Leadership Macon, is actively involved in making our community better, has attained professional success within Macon-Bibb and exemplifies positive and effective community leadership. The award was presented by Leadership Macon Alumni and Hatcher recipient Mike Austin, CEO of the Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority. 

The Ambassador of the Year, given to Jonathan Barton, is awarded to a volunteer participant in the Macon Chamber’s Ambassador program for outstanding work in cultivating and engaging new investors and encouraging existing investors to stay involved with Chamber. The award was presented by Ivey Hall, executive director of Macon Area Habitat for Humanity, and member of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce executive board of directors, where she chair the programming committee. 

The Greater Macon Chamber’s Workforce Development Champion, given to Prince Manufacturing, is awarded to a person, agency or business engaged with the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce who is strategically focused on growing and sustaining our local workforce pipeline and making an impact with talent recruitment and retention efforts. Stephen Adams, executive director of the Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority, presented the Award.  

The Greater Macon Chamber’s Small Business of the Year, given to SPINEN, is awarded to a small business with under 100 employees who made an impact on their community, served as a champion for the Chamber and re-invested their time, money and efforts in the local economy. The award was presented by Majorie Carter, Compliance and Reporting Partner for McNair, McLemore & Middlebrooks, a longtime Chamber business and sponsor. 

The Greater Macon Chamber’s Business Catalyst of the Year, given to Atrium Health Navicent, is awarded to a business serving as a catalyst through positive disruption, innovative growth, advocacy, or inspiring and compelling business practices. Business Catalysts can achieve this through improving the workforce pipeline, creating avenues of local expansion, promoting Macon, or implementing business initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion. The award was presented by Starr Perdue, Chamber board member, past Chamber chair and funeral director and treasurer for Hutchings Funeral Home, Inc., a longtime Chamber business.  

In addition to the awards, Greater Macon Chamber President and CEO Jessica Walden delivered the Chamber’s annual “State of the Chamber” to update stakeholders on the Chamber’s progress over the past year. Among the highlights:   

  • In 2023, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce hosted 89 programs, including introducing a Supplier Diversity Summit, re-inventing Good Morning Macon to Macon & Eggs, evolving Young Professionals Network to Macon Area Connections and launching a new morning series called BREW (business resources and engagement works!). 

  • Program revenue with the Greater Macon Chamber has increased 67 percent this past year. 

  • Membership revenue has also increased, as well as the number of members compared to last year. The Chamber now has 739 members, also known as Investors, in its network. 

  • The Chamber’s strategic workforce initiative, the digital platform is now up to 13,000 active users thanks to partnerships with the Bibb County School system, in addition to Twiggs and Crawford counties.