74th Auburn Chamber Annual Meeting Award Winners

Each year the Auburn Chamber Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of the Auburn business community and an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the past year, applaud outstanding area businesses, and look forward to the year ahead. This year’s meeting, held at The Jay and Susie Gouge Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, featured remarks by the following: Rusty Prewett, 2022 chair of the Auburn Chamber; Dr. Cory Smith, Auburn United Methodist Church; Taylor Britton, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Preferred Real Estate; Anna Hovey, Auburn Chamber; Mayor Ron Anders, City of Auburn; Bill Ham; and Julie Melton, 2023 chair of the Auburn Chamber. The meeting was presented by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Preferred Real Estate and sponsored by Alabama Power, Ithaka Hospitality Partners, Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, Prewett Pest Control, and SouthState Bank.

The awards presented at this year’s Annual Meeting are as follows:

Eagle Awards—Eagle Awards are presented to businesses or individuals who have made broad contributions to the Auburn community. Recipients must be members of the Auburn Chamber and in business in Auburn for no less than 5 years.

Recipients have made an impact in our community through at least one of the following categories:

Educational growth for employees and community, Job opportunities, Charitable contributions, Civic contributions, or Aesthetic contribution via building and landscaping. The winners are as follows:

  • Eagles Program at Auburn University – Job Opportunity
  • United Way of Lee County – Charitable Contribution
  • Town Creek Inclusive Playground – Civic Contribution
  • Our Home Pharmacy –Aesthetic Contribution

Auburn Chamber & Auburn-Opelika Tourism Partnership Award—Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center

This award was created to recognize a business, person or project that has been an excellent partner in tourism or instrumental in developing or driving tourism in our area.

Young Business Person of the Year—Tim Spicer, Spicer’s Music

This award was initiated in 1994 to recognize a young business person for his or her achievement early in business.

Norm Caldwell Excellence in Industry Award—Andrew Albrecht, AUBix 

Created in 2002, the Norm Caldwell Excellence in Industry Award recognizes and honors an invaluable leader in industry.

Teague Award (Volunteer of the Year)—Heather Gotthelf, Auburn Therapy & Learning Center

The Teague Award, created in 1991, is named for Sam Teague, past chair, a chamber diplomat, member of the board of directors, and the ultimate volunteer. This award serves as the chamber’s “Volunteer of the Year” award and is presented annually to an outstanding volunteer.

Diplomat of the Year— Brenda Hellums, Renasant Bank

The Diplomats serve as the Auburn Chamber’s core group of volunteers and make everything we do possible. Our volunteers are our hosts, our helpers and our representatives.

Spirit of Auburn Award—Coach Cadillac Williams, Auburn University

The Spirit of Auburn award was established in 2002 to honor an individual or group for his or her special contribution to the community.Ham Lifetime

Impact Award—Bob Dumas

Created in 2019, the Ham Lifetime Impact Award pays tribute to an individual for 20 years or more of exceptional and impactful personal and professional contributions to the Auburn community. This award is known as the Ham Lifetime Impact Award in honor of Bill Ham, former Mayor of Auburn who served our community in so many ways and who’s impact continues to be felt in the business community today.

Chairman’s Award— Hans Van Der Reijden

The Chairman’s Award is the Auburn Chamber’s highest honor and is presented to an individual based on his/her outstanding achievement, leadership, loyalty and dedication to the Auburn community.

Best of Small Business Awards
In late spring, after a community-wide vote, we announced the Best of Small Business in five different categories—emerging (operating less than 5 years), 1-10 employees, 11-50 employees, 51-100 employees, and Retailer of the Year. The winners are as follows:

  • Emerging: Well Red
  • 1-10 employees: Ross House Coffee
  • 11-50 employees: University Ace Hardware
  • 51-100 employees: Baumhower’s Victory Grille
  • Retailer of the Year: Lily Jane Boutique

Customer Service Crown

Each quarter of 2022, the Auburn Chamber presented individuals with Customer Service Crowns, an award that honors the hard-working service professionals who make our lives happier and easier. The winners are as follows:

  • Chris Finley of Auburn Pharmacy
  • Kasha Walters of The Hound & The Depot
  • Laura Kirkpatrick & Brooke Slezak of Magnolia James Boutique
  • Tony Laney of Food Bank of East Alabama

Auburn Young Professionals Awards—

Presented this year by River Bank & Trust, the Auburn Young Professionals program continues to engage and develop area young leaders. Several 2022 standout members were recently honored:

  • Maria Lopez of Prewett Pest & Prewett Allstate Insurance Group received the Serve Award
  • Whitney Lee of Auburn University received the Develop Award
  • Dennis Davis of Summer Village received the Connect Award

The ceremonial gavel was passed from current chair Rusty Prewett of Prewett Allstate Insurance Group to Julie Melton of Northwestern Mutual. Congratulations to all of the winners!


For more information about the Auburn Chamber, please contact Ritney Johnson at ritney@auburnchamber.com.