The Monett Chamber of Commerce elected new board members and honored those who contributed to the Chamber's successes during the past year at the Chamber's annual membership banquet last week.
Following the distribution of ballots to members, the announcement was made at the end of the evening that new board members would be Jonathan Apostol, from the Monett R-1 School District, Regina Bowsher, from International Dehydrated Foods, David Young, from Tyson Foods, and Cindy Stephens, from UMB Bank. Stephens had been an alternate, filling in for Deborah Swarens, who moved. Because Stephens served for less than six months, she was eligible to run for a full term.
The alternates, who often get named to serve over the three-year terms involved, were also elected. Backing up the board will be Walter Branch, from EFCO Corporation, and Clif Crockett, from the First United Methodist Church.
In making his remarks as outgoing board president, John Bruner commended those who aided his term during the past year. Drawing special praise were John Jungmann for his organizational skills in pulling together last minute details for the dinner after the Industrial Appreciation Golf Tournament in the face of bad weather, and David Steward for his help with the logistics of the annual Prayer Breakfast.
"This is what our community is all about, a community of people showing and sharing our city with as many people as possible," Bruner said.
Outgoing board members were also recognized for their service. Receiving tokens of appreciation and a round of applause from the public were Cindy Pittman, from Pittman Realty, Mark Kaiser, from EFCO Corporation, and Tim Dieckhoff, from Main Street Feeds.
The Chamber used the facilities of the Southwest Area Career Center to enhance the experience of the evening. A red carpet was set up at the door, complete with uniformed Junior ROTC members with drawn swords providing an arch for those entering. A camera was focused on those entering, and their images were projected on the wall over the podium, which could be viewed from anywhere in the room.
Anessa Brown's media class also presented a slide show of businesses that are Chamber members to highlight them as part of "A Night in the Spotlight."
Master of ceremonies Mike Garrett also encouraged those attending to participate in the Chamber's "economic stimulus" by buying tickets for a drawing. Half the 50-50 pot went to Chamber employee Sarah Hohensee, who sang the National Anthem to kick off the activities as the JROTC flag corps presented the colors.
Incoming Chamber President Lori Negre also commended those who have been serving on the board for the past year, and Bruner in particular, for leading the organization. Negre said the board opted against raising dues this year to be particularly sensitive to the economic struggles faced by members. She said the leadership hopes to communicate better with its members to give them what they need.
In the coming year, Negre said the Chamber will be organizing a retail business committee to help store operators support each other. Through the joint effort with Drury University, exploring options for downtown.
"The more people we attract to Monett, we all win," Negre said.She asserted that with a strong foundation and small town values, "the sky is the limit" for Monett's future.
The evening ran longer than some banquets with the entertainment for the banquet was provided by the Skinny Improv comedy troupe from Springfield.
The Chamber board will next meet for the annual joint session between the incoming and outgoing board members on March 15.