Friday, February 5, 2010


Public Service, Legacy, Hudgens and Citizen of the Year Awards Presented at Awards Ceremony

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will celebrate Gwinnett's finest citizens, as well as a record-breaking year for the Gwinnett Chamber, on February 5 at the 62nd Annual Dinner Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Annual Dinner, to be held at the Thomas P. Hughes Grand Ballroom at Gwinnett Center, will highlight Gwinnett's success and honor those who have made a difference in our community.

"The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's 62nd Annual Dinner is a time of reflection, celebration, and most importantly, a time of recognition of those who keep Gwinnett's future shining bright," says Jim Maran, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

The 2009 Chair Kerry Armstrong and 2010 Chair Bartow Morgan will join Maran in recognizing the outstanding contributions of several Gwinnett pacesetters who continually give of themselves to ensure that success lives in our community. The Gwinnett Chamber will also honor the 2009 Board of Directors, recognize newly appointed directors, and give several prestigious awards to Gwinnett's pacesetters.

Yesterday, Ambassador Service Awards were presented to Al Brown with Group, LLC and Martin Birkbeck with American Family Insurance
for their outstanding commitment, dedication and service to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. The Gwinnett Chamber is pleased to announce that Martin Birkbeck will be named the Gwinnett Chamber's 2009 Ambassador of the Year.

The five Public Service Awards will be presented to Jay Eun, Golden Stella, Inc..; Berney Kirkland, chief of staff, Gwinnett County Public Schools; Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, president, Georgia Gwinnett College; Philip R. Wolf, president, Gwinnett Medical Center; and Jock Connell, former Gwinnett County administrator. These awards are given to individuals who have gone above and beyond over the years in their service to the community and its residents.

The Legacy Award, honoring the memory and legacy of an individual who has made a difference in the history and progress of Gwinnett County, will be awarded posthumously to the life of Wayne Shackelford. The award will be given to Wayne's wife, Anna Shackelford. With a photographic memory, brilliant mind, and booming voice, Shackelford crafted a successful career that included serving as Gwinnett County's top administrator in the 1970's as well as in the private sector, shaping Atlanta landmarks like Phipps Plaza. Wayne became commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation in 1991 and served in that role until mid-2000. He received global accolades for guiding the department's preparation for the 1996 Olympics and was instrumental in the creation of the Department's Transportation Management Center and the new I-85/316 interchange in Gwinnett, both named in his honor.

"Wayne was a true leader and one of the most amazing visionary and courageous men many of us have every known," reflects Maran. "While he blessed us with him many talents, we were the ones that were truly blessed by having known him these many years. Wayne is one of the few rare souls that left a significant legacy for the public and countless memories for those of us in private that will be remembered for generations to come."

This year's D. Scott Hudgens Award will be presented to the The IMPACT! Group. Accepting the award on behalf of the The IMPACT! Group will be The IMPACT! Group President Tom Merkel. The award is given in honor of Scott Hudgens, a respected developer and philanthropist who unselfishly gave of his time and talents to ensure that many others, especially those with limited means, would benefit from his treasure. The IMPACT! Group's work is more critical today than at anytime since its creation in 1992 by the Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services. Formed to create and preserve quality, affordable housing as well as provide an emergency shelter program in Gwinnett, The IMPACT! Group focuses on three areas including transitional housing, home ownership, and serving low and moderate income residents by developing affordable housing units through The IMPACT! Real Estate Division. In 2009 alone, The IMPACT! Group provided housing to over 5,000 Gwinnett County families, which equates to over 12,300 people. Current projections call for those numbers to continue to rise with over 6,000 families and 17,700 people expecting to receive their services in 2010.

Dr. Manfred Sandler, partner, Cardiovascular Group P.C., will receive the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award. This year's Citizen of the Year comes to us from Johannesburg, South Africa. Dr. Sandler first called Gwinnett home in July 1994 and has never looked back. He is a partner of the prestigious Cardiovascular Group P.C. Since 1994, he has served in many leadership roles within the Gwinnett Hospital System. He has embraced the Gwinnett community and currently serves as vice chairman on the Gwinnett Hospital System Board and on the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee. It was during his initial 10 years of practicing Cardiology in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta that he and his colleagues realized the need for a full service cardiac facility in Gwinnett. This would save countless lives and provide treatment to thousands of Gwinnettians in the future. Dr. Sandler embraced this challenge and served as the physician's champion, leading Gwinnett Medical Center's effort to attain the certificate of need for Open Heart services. Thanks to Dr. Sandler's tireless efforts and solid community support, approximately 18 months after the initial filing, with the withdrawal of all opposing hospitals, the Department of Community Health ruled in favor of Gwinnett Medical Center and we're now preparing for Open Heart Services in Gwinnett. Because of Dr. Sandler's actions in both the operating room and in society, countless lives throughout our community will be saved and have a better quality of life. Because of his leadership and the aforementioned accomplishments he is truly worthy of the Gwinnett Chamber's 2010 Citizen of the Year.

"Leaders such as Wayne Shackelford have blazed the trail to success and the end result has been a Gwinnett that is one of the most innovative, diverse and dynamic communities in the nation. Through the strength and vitality of leaders like Jay Eun, Berney Kirkland, Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, Philip R. Wolf, Jock Connell, Tom Merkel, and Dr. Manfred Sandler our community continues to flourish, so that people from every race, religion, culture, and creed can call Gwinnett home," says Maran.

For more information on the Annual Dinner, contact Alicia Krogh at 770-232-8809 or


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