Cobb's Business Leaders Honored at 82nd Annual Dinner

Thursday, February 1st, 2024

Highlights of the evening include the 2023 Chairman awards presentation and an address by the 2024 Chairman.

The Cobb Chamber celebrated its many accomplishments of 2023 at the 82nd Annual Dinner celebration, presented by Wellstar, on Jan. 27 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Over 1,100 business and community leaders attended the black-tie optional dinner affair, including military leaders, economic development partners and elected officials. Michele Newell of WSB-TV Channel 2 Atlanta served as the event’s master of ceremonies.

The evening included a robust program, including outgoing Chairman, Chairman Greg Teague of Croy Engineering, passing the leadership to 2024 Chairman Mike Plant of the Atlanta Braves. In his address, Teague celebrated the collective efforts of the Chamber and how it served as a champion for businesses and the community over the past year.
He highlighted the Chamber’s economic development strategy, advocacy efforts, and work to enhance the member experience.

During the evening, Teague presented several awards to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of the Chamber’s programming and the quality of life in Cobb.

The 2023 Chairman’s Award was presented to Dan Buyers of McWhirter Realty Partners, a dedicated partner to the Chamber and an active member of the Board of Directors since 2015. The award is presented to an individual for outstanding leadership, dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to the Cobb Chamber. Buyers has chaired Cobb Youth Leadership and has volunteered for Leadership Cobb, East Cobb Area Council, and the Membership Campaign. He is consistently generous with his time, talents, and treasures, serving with humility and devotion.

The 2024 Len Gilbert Award was given to Pam Younker of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This award is presented to an outstanding board member who, through his or her leadership, commitment, and dedication, achieved new heights for a Chamber initiative, program or event. A longtime Cobb Chamber member, investor and volunteer, Younker has played a pivotal role in the Chamber’s advocacy efforts for Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the Clay National Guard Center. She is a graduate of both Leadership Cobb and the Honorary Commanders Association and is an active alumnus for each organization, serving as a past Chair for Honorary Commanders. Younker also represents Cobb County and the state of Georgia as an Air Force Chief of Staff’s Air and Space Forces Civic Leader.

The 2024 Mack Henderson Public Service Award was presented to Ray Thomas of the Mableton Improvement Coalition. This award recognizes an individual who embodies the philanthropic legacy of Mack Henderson through outstanding commitment and dedication to building a better quality of life for the citizens of Cobb County. Thomas has diligently shaped the community of Mableton, and through his work with the Mableton Improvement Coalition, has advocated for design guidelines for Mableton Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway. As a dedicated public servant, Thomas is also a member of the Cobb County Police Precinct Discussion Group, the Chattahoochee Riverlands Greenway Trail Work Group, and the Cobb Community Foundation Board of Directors.

The 2024 Dr. Robert A. Lipson Award was presented to Kim Gresh of S.A. White Oil Company. The award is presented to someone who is a visionary, a friend, a mentor, and a leader. Gresh has served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for many years and has been a Cobb Chamber member for over 40 years. Her unmatched passion for the Cobb community and her hometown, Marietta elevates her as a mentor and trusted advisor for many. On many occasions her generosity and leadership has guided many non-profits to a sound business model during difficult and uncertain times.

Teague’s final award of the evening, the 2024 Senator Johnny H. Isakson Leadership Award, was presented to Major General Tom Carden, the Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense. The award is presented to someone who is a visionary, a friend, a mentor, and a leader. Major General Carden was appointed by Governor Kemp in January of 2019 as the 43rd Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense. He is responsible for directing, coordinating, organizing, and stationing the Army and Air National Guards of the State of Georgia, the Georgia State Defense Force, and federal and state civilians, ensuring their readiness to perform state and national missions.

The Marietta Daily Journal presented its prestigious 2023 Cobb County Citizen of the Year Award to Deane Bonner of Cobb County NAACP. The Marietta Daily Journal has presented this award since 1963 at the Cobb Chamber Annual Dinner.

The 82nd Annual Dinner was presented by Wellstar. The invocation was offered by Mayor Al Thurman of the City of Powder Springs. Mike Jones Entertainment provided music and entertainment following the program, while JJA Project Management provided audiovisual and event production services.

The rest of the event’s sponsors included: Atlanta Braves, Brasfield & Gorrie, Croy Engineering, Georgia Power, and Lockheed Martin as Diamond Sponsors; Four Hats Inc. as the Reception Sponsor; MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service as the Award Sponsor; Audi Marietta as the Red Carpet Sponsor; Pinnacle Financial Partners as the Wine Sponsor; Comcast as the Life of the Party Sponsor; S.A. White Oil Company and Cumberland Diamond Exchange as the Camera Ready Sponsors; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as the Coffee and Dessert Sponsor; LGE Community Credit Union as the Entertainment Sponsor; Superior Plumbing as the Membership Campaign VIP Recognition Sponsor; Arylessence, CDH Partners, Cobb EMC, Cobb Galleria Centre, JJA Project Management, and Kennesaw State University as Ruby Sponsors; AssuranceAmerica, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, AT&T, Bank of America, Cumberland CID, DeNyse Companies, Development Authority of Cobb County, Freeman Mathis & Gary, Freeman Mathis Decisions, Gas South, Genuine Parts Company, Georgia Banking Company, Georgia’s Own Credit Union, Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, LLC, Henssler Financial, The Home Depot, Life University, Manning Proprieties, Mauldin & Jenkins, The Mazloom Law Firm LLC, New South Construction, RE/MAX PURE, Ruby-Collins Inc, SCANA Energy, Smith + Howard, SouthState Bank, Town Center CID, and Truist as Emerald Sponsors; and LAZ Parking as the Parking Sponsor. Special gifts were provided by Cumberland Diamond Exchange.

For more information about the 2024 Annual Dinner, contact Michele Howard, Executive Vice President of Programs & Leadership Development at 770-859-2345 or [email protected].