The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama celebrated its outstanding members and top volunteers Thursday night and also tapped new leadership during its annual dinner and awards ceremony.

The bash is the Chamber's biggest each year, and the 2024 edition was no exception as leaders from area businesses, governments and nonprofits filled the Bryant Conference Center Thursday night.

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(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

The top honor of the night, the Charles H. Land Member of the Year Award, was given to philanthropist David Pass of the Sealy Companies.

"Demonstrating quintessential membership qualities, Dave Pass brings a wealth of knowledge that has significantly enriched the Chamber,” said Michele Coley, the Chamber’s 2023 chair of the board of directors. “Whether leading initiatives to bring air service to Tuscaloosa or spearheading our Washington Fly-In, his steadfast commitment is consistently dependable and valuable to us.”

The ceremony - presented this year by The University of Alabama and ASI Partners - also doubles as an annual opportunity for the Chamber to change its board leadership. Her term complete, Coley passed the gavel to the ubiquitous Jheovanny Gomez of Jalapenos Mexican Grill, who now serves as the 2024 Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

A slew of other Chamber awards were also distributed Thursday.

  • The Honorable Richard C. Shelby Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Catherine J. Randall. Named in recognition of The Honorable Richard C. Shelby, who represented the State of Alabama in the United State Senate with distinction from 1987 to 2023, this award recognizes extraordinary leadership and service to the West Alabama Community.
  • The Robert C. Tanner Corporate Service Award, which recognizes the corporate leadership, philanthropic efforts and community service by a member entity in the West Alabama region, was presented to The Builders Group.
  • The Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to Daniel Barnett of RTR Pro Entertainment.
  • The Diverse Business Council Trailblazer Award was presented to Dr. Stacy Jones of The University of Alabama.
  • The Nonprofit of the Year Award was presented to Tuscaloosa’s One Place.
  • Two Distinguished Service Awards to recognize individuals or organizations for their service and leadership were also presented to Katrina Keefer of DCH Health System and JacQuan Winters of Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation.
  • The Entrepreneurial Rising Star Award was presented to Greg Crowe of Boostr.

The Chamber also recognized its staff members who reached milestones this year, including Alicia Gregory, 5 years; Brittani Colburn, 6 years; LoWanda James, 20 years; and Carolyn Tubbs, 21 years.

The Chamber travels to the state capital next week for their annual Montgomery Drive-In - stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates from that trip and West Alabama legislators on February 7th.

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)


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