The 99th Annual Meeting and Banquet hosted by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce was held Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Monroe Civic Center Conference Hall.
Emcee for the evening was Sue Nicholson, President and CEO for the Monroe Chamber.
The chamber presented the 55th Rambin-Silverstein Memorial Civic Award to Dr. Nick J. Bruno, the 8th President of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The award was presented by David Hampton, President of Progressive Bank.
Bruno is a Louisiana native with a 40-year career in Louisiana higher education.
He and his wife Linda have three children, son Steven and daughters Christina and Victoria and grandson, Porter.
Kitty Degree award
Frank Wilcox, who served as Executive Director for Monroe Housing Authority for 42 years, was honored with the 2019 Kitty DeGree Lifetime Achievement Award in Business. He is a native of Arkansas and earned his degree from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.
Wilcox and his wife Marianne, have two children, son Blake Wilcox and daughter Missy McNabb. The award was presented by his long-time friend Joe Farr.
Other special recognition presented during the program included the 2019 Bernard Heflin Ambassador of the Year Award that was presented to Meg Keene, Senior Account Executive with Stephens Media Group.
The Chamber also recognized Jeremy Harrell, Senior Vice President / Senior Lender at Guaranty Bank who was the 2019 recipient of the James M. Shipp Memorial Young Business Leader Award. Brady Middleton, with Assent Health Services, was recognized with the Leadership Ouachita Charles McDonald “Twice as Much Award.”
New board chair;
James Moore, III, partner with Moore Investments and the 2019 Chairman provided a recap of the year via a video presentation and personal comments. Moore highlighted the Chamber’s continued work with the City of Monroe to secure funds for major infrastructure projects. He mentioned the Chamber’s efforts in workforce development and thanked the many partners the Chamber worked with in 2019. He also highlighted several internal changes, including the Chamber’s move to a new office at 1811 Auburn Avenue.
Terri Hicks, COO/CFO for Specialty Management Services of Ouachita and Vice President of Procedural Services for St. Francis Medical Center, will serve as Chamber Chairman for 2020. Hicks outlined the Chamber’s plans for the coming year, which includes an increased effort to develop a strong workforce, to work with local government to build important infrastructure and to focus on business growth and job development.
The keynote address was given by Dr. Loren Scott, President and Founder of Loren C. Scott and Associates. The company provides economic consulting and public speaking services for a wide range of clients. He is one of the 32-member National Business Economic Issues Council, which meets quarterly to discuss issues of state, national, and international interest. He also serves on the Economic Advisory Board of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness-a group made up of the CEOs of the Fortune 100, top university presidents, and presidents of three major unions. Scott is co-developer of the Louisiana Econometric Model, a model used for providing annual forecasts of the Louisiana economy. He presented his annual Louisiana Economic Forecast at the event.