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Chamber Celebrates Winners in the Workforce


Pictured is Fresh Beginnings President Judy Hathcock, with winners James Davis (South Georgia Medical Center), Lloyd Dumas (ERCO Worldwide), Lemeika Jones (Wild Adventures) and Rachel Tate (City of Remerton) along with First State Bank President Bill Cowart.

Smiles and applause filled the air as those typically working behind the scenes of a business were standing tall before 300 Chamber members and guests at the annual World Class Employee Recognition breakfast on Tuesday. Twenty-four area employees and supervisors were recognized for their outstanding efforts in the workplace at this event hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber and presented by First State Bank and Trust Company, Fresh Beginnings and ELEAD1ONE.

President and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Commission, Margaret DeFrancisco, addressed attendees before the awards presentation sharing motivational stories and tips for success. “Constant dedication, commitment, energy, focus, attitude— these are the characteristics exhibited by an outstanding employee,” stated DeFrancisco.  “These traits make for a better workforce in Georgia.”

DeFrancisco, who was named among Georgia’s 50 Most Influential Women, deemed attitude as the most important workforce characteristic. “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.  We are all in the process of building our own lives.”  As DeFrancisco closed her last public speech as president of the Georgia Lottery before her retirement, she quoted Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up except to the dictates of conscience and duty,” and Susan B. Anthony, “Failure is impossible.” 

Sherry Zipperer (First State Bank) then announced the winners as event sponsor representatives Judy Hathcock (Fresh Beginnings) and Bill Cowart (First State Bank) presented them each with a $1,500 check, a continuing education scholarship and other gifts.

Lloyd Dumas, Relief Process Operator at ERCO Worldwide, was named the 2012 World Class Small Business Employee.  “Lloyd has a positive attitude that is contagious and his willingness to step up and go beyond his primary responsibilities distinguishes him as a key asset to our production success,” stated Plant Manager Jeff Fulp.

The 2012 World Class Large Business Employee award went to James Davis, Physical Therapy Assistant at South Georgia Medical Center.  “James doesn’t clock out at 5 o’clock, in his spare time he mentors high school students and is devoted to motivating others,“ said Acute Care Team Leader Jennifer Welch.

Rachel Tate, Remerton City Hall Clerk, received the 2012 World Class Small Business Supervisor award. “After holding various positions with the city, Rachel used her knowledge to implement more efficient procedures and training materials,” said Remerton Police Chief Mike Terrell.

Lameika Jones, area supervisor at Wild Adventures Theme Park, couldn’t hold back her tears as she accepted the 2012 World Class Large Business Supervisor award. According to Manager Jenni Boyer, “Jones exhibits servant leadership, doing everything possible to ensure her employees have what they need to stay productive and happy.”

The winners received a standing ovation as attendees recognized their outstanding work, that in this case did not go unnoticed. 



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