Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce award winners
Small Business of the Year: Skyline Contracting and Southern Baked Pie Co.
Family Business of the Year: Mountain Fresh Creamery and Wayne Capital
Community Service Award: Rhonda Samples of Hall County Schools
Distinguished Citizen Award: Bob Swoszowski of McDonald’s of Northeast Georgia
W.G. Mealor Award: Philip Wilheit Sr. of Wilheit Packaging
For the 114th time in its history, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting and gala at the Chattahoochee Country Club Thursday, May 12, honoring a lineup of community business leaders and public servants.
The title of Small Business of the Year was awarded to both Skyline Contracting, owned by Wes Hall, and Southern Baked Pie Co., owned by Amanda Wilbanks.
Hall founded the roofing company 10 years ago with Terry Garrett, focusing on roofing, siding, gutters and paint. His first introduction to the chamber came several years ago when he was called upon to address roof leaks at the chamber building, which turned out to be clogged drains that, according to the chamber, looked like a makeshift swimming pool.
“We sort of joke about that today, but in 10 years of doing this I’ve never seen so much water on a roof as I did that day,” Hall said. “We have been helping them maintain the roof out there ever since.”
A Gainesville native and proponent of family recipes and buttery crusts, Wilbanks founded Southern Baked Pie Co., which made its debut at the Mule Camp Market in 2012 with $400 in the bank. Today, her shop has four brick and mortar outposts — Gainesville, Buckhead, Alpharetta and Vinings — and ships to corporate and individual clients nationwide.
Family Business of the Year was awarded to Mountain Fresh Creamery, owned by Scott and Jennifer Glover, and Wayne Capital, owned by Alan, Alex and Daren Wayne.
After launching Glo-Crest Dairy in 2000 on a rented farm, the Glovers built Mountain Fresh Creamery in 2011 to bottle their own milk and ice cream, which have received a series of awards and accolades including Georgia’s Cream of the Crop award from 2004-2014.
A “bedrock” of the South Hall community, the Wayne family at the helm of Wayne Capital have forged strong governing board-level ties with Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, the Northeast Georgia Health System, the Technical College System of Georgia and Leadership Georgia.
The chamber’s Community Service Award was presented to Hall County Schools Executive Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Rhonda Samples.
Samples began her career with the local school system as a 21-year-old marketing teacher at North Hall High before assuming the role of district youth apprenticeship coordinator.
The Distinguished Citizen Award was presented to Bob Swoszowski, owner and operator of McDonald’s of Northeast Georgia.
Swoszowski began his career with the fast food empire in 1973, when he opened three restaurants in Northeast Georgia; today, he operates 21 throughout the region. Named the North Georgia Community Foundation’s 2016 Philanthropist of the Year alongside his wife, Wanda, Swoszowski is a strong proponent of area nonprofits including Gateway Domestic Violence Center, Boy Scouts of America, Randy and Friends, Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Hispanic Alliance GA and The Arts Council.
Philip Wilheit Sr. of Wilheit Packaging was presented with the W.G. Mealor Award. Named for the chamber’s first chairman, the honor is given to a volunteer who “has gone beyond the call of duty” in their work with the chamber and in the community.
According to the chamber, “if there ever was a Mr. Chamber of Commerce, it’s Philip Wilheit Sr.”
Philip has served 50 years on the Greater Hall Chamber’s board, which includes a stint as chairman in 1982. He has held the post of Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority chairman for 42 years, and served upward of 30 years on the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council, Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board and Northeast Georgia Health System Board.