For the past two years, Paul Reynolds has served the Berea Chamber of Commerce as its president.

On Thursday night at its annual awards banquet, the chamber named Reynolds its Man of the Year.

Long-time supporter of chamber programs and community volunteer Josie Burnell was named Woman of the Year, while US Bank, managed in Berea by Stephanie Owens, was named Business of the Year.

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Sandy Rowlette, and Reynolds honored Tracy Todd Blevins and Kim Kelly with President’s Awards.

Chiropractor Dr. Brenda Huser-Taylor was named Health Care Professional of the Year. Berea Community Schools Supt. Gary Conkin was named Educator of the Year as Larry Agee picked up the chamber’s first Agriculture Award.

Reynolds and chamber executive director David Rowlette also reviewed a long list of the organizations accomplishments during the year.

They among other successes, they listed:

• The chamber-sponsored Spoonbread Festival, held for the 10th year in September, which drew the most visitors ever.

• A new Web site developed for the festival drew nearly 4,000 hits; the chamber’s site had 9,660.

• The 21st Twilight Christmas parade that drew a huge throng of spectators to town.

• The chamber sponsored state of the city and state of the county addresses

• Three candidate forums, including a fish fry and a pig roast

• A Washington update given by U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler

• The visit of a chamber delegation to Frankfort during the 2006 session of the General Assembly to meet with state Sen. Ed Worley, Rep. Lonnie Napier and Rep. Harry Moberly. Worley and Napier attended the chamber awards banquet.

• The second community leadership visit, with the Richmond chamber, to another city; the delegation visited Chattanooga, Tenn., in late September.

• The formation this year of a past presidents’ council that will give future chamber leaders to tap into the presidents’ collective experience

• New bylaws that limit membership on the board to no more than three people from one profession, give the board a wider, more diverse base.

Banquet attendees found a floor plan for a proposed 47,500 square-foot “event center” that the chamber would like to see built in Berea.

Over the past two years, chamber leaders had six visited communities with similar centers, Reynolds said.

“We asked them how successful they had been and what they might do differently if they had to start over,” he said. While chamber leaders were able gain insight from other cities’ experiences, “no one said they wished they didn’t have an events center,” he said.

Mt. Sterling has an event center to which Lexington refers events that are too small for facilities in the larger city, Reynolds said.

At the conclusion of the banquet, held at Boone Tavern Inn and Restaurant, Renolds passed the gavel of leadership to 2007 President Linda Burdine.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 623-1669, Ext. 267.

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