Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Honors 8 with Annual Awards at Chamber Ball
Author: CH2 Press Release
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. January 29, 2017 – A local newspaper columnist and beloved Lowcountry storyteller is the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award.
David Lauderdale, a columnist and senior editor at the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette, was recognized for embodying the award’s standard of “selfless community service in the spirit of brotherhood” at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Masquerade Ball Saturday, January 28 at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa.
As a columnist, Lauderdale writes about Lowcountry life often with a lens that allows the reader to appreciate the “roots” and “soul” of the community. For nearly 40 years, he has chronicled the Lowcountry’s history, giving context to current events with memories past and digging deep into what it means to be a part of this community.
“Yes, his ‘job’ is to ‘write’ for the Island Packet, but his ability to speak to and for our community’s values and purpose far exceeds that role and is felt throughout the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton area,” said Linda Silver, who nominated Lauderdale. “There is no one else who has the knowledge, experience, and platform to accomplish this important task. David is a great storyteller. An honorable, caring, compassionate, generous person who gives so much of himself above and beyond preparing his column each week. He loves the Lowcountry.”
Lauderdale joined the Island Packet in 1977 as a reporter, and has served in various newsroom roles since then including news editor, managing editor and editorial page director. Lauderdale has garnered numerous awards and recognition for his coverage of the environment, the Gullah culture, literacy and local history. He’s twice won the President’s Award for journalism excellence, the highest staff honor in the McClatchy Company, the parent company of the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette.
Lauderdale grew up in Atlanta and is a graduate of Erskine College in South Carolina. He and his wife, Sybil, raised their grown children, Burke and Ann Talley, on Hilton Head Island. He teaches “Lowcountry Lessons,” an adult Sunday School class, at First Presbyterian Church, where he is also and elder and deacon, and is president of the South Carolina Associated Press News Council.
The Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award was first presented in 1971 and is dedicated by her family to the memory of Doughtie, who died at 22 after a short life in service to others.
2016 Annual Award Winners
John Curry Tourism Award: Stephen Riley
Stephen Riley, the Town Manager of Hilton Head Island, is the recipient of the John Curry Tourism award for his leadership spearheading the recovery efforts on Hilton Head Island following Hurricane Matthew. His diligent management helped Hilton Head Island and its tourism and business sectors quickly resume after the passing of the destructive category 2 storm in October.
Riley navigated the arduous task of recovery and led the efforts to get the island and its tourism-based economy back up and running in an impressive amount of time. He continues to oversee the recovery and advocate for Hilton Head Island as the clean-up efforts continue.
Riley joined the Town of Hilton Head Island as the community development director in 1991, and has been the town manager since 1994. He has served on numerous local and state boards including the South Carolina Planning Education Advisory Committee, the Municipal Association of South Carolina, the South Carolina City and County Managers Association, the Commission on Fire Accreditation, the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Board, the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club, and the St. Francis School Board.
The John Curry Tourism Award – given to those whose dedication and hard work has fundamentally shaped Hilton Head Island’s tourism industry – has been received by only two individuals since its founding 10 years ago, most recently Steve Birdwell, president of the Sea Pines Resort, for the Sea Pines Resort in 2015. This is the first time it has been awarded to a person not directly in the tourism industry.
The award is named after John Curry, a pillar of the community who helped shaped Hilton Head Island’s tourism industry and led efforts to incorporate Hilton Head Island as its own town. Curry served as executive vice president of the Sea Pines Company, later founded Sand Dollar Management, led the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor and Convention Bureau, and helped establish the Heritage Classic Foundation, among many other accomplishments. He received the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award in 1972.
Outstanding Organization of the Year Award: Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance
What began as a few friends gathering to admire one another’s cars, the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance has grown into one of the country’s premiere automotive events. Over 10 days, it features cars from all over the country and attracts visitors from all over the world, bringing more than $100 million in economic impact to Hilton Head Island since its inception in 2002 while also investing in the community’s youth.
The 2016 festival was held just weeks after Hurricane Matthew tore through Hilton Head Island. Concours leadership, staff, volunteers, community partners and town officials rallied together to host the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance, sending a powerful message that Hilton Head Island was open for business. The event attracted 14,000 attendees from 45 states and 12 countries, filling 12,000 room nights and leaving a $10 million economic impact on the area.
This year, the organization also donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s Disaster Relief Fund to further help the local recovery efforts.
The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance is more than a 10-day event to celebrate automobiles. Its charitable fund, Driving Young America, fosters the education and inspiration for youths who have an interest in design, performance restoration and historical significance of the automobile, and also supports youth-orientated programs.
Bluffton Regional Business Council Member of the Year Award: eviCore
An information technology healthcare company that recently announced an expansion is the winner of the Bluffton Regional Business Council Member of the Year Award.
In November 2016, eviCore, one of the largest employers in Beaufort County, announced a $1.6 million capital investment and 35 new jobs at its headquarters in Buckwalter Place.
“The investment and expansion of eviCore in Bluffton is not only bringing more skilled, high-paying jobs to the area, it shows the confidence they have in our town as a great place to do business, with a quality of life their employees really enjoy,” said Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka.
CareCore National relocated its headquarters from New York to Bluffton in 2006. CareCore and MedSolutions Inc. merged in 2014, and rebranded as eviCore in 2015.
Small Business of the Year: Outside Brands
Entering its 39th year, a windsurfing school has become a Hilton Head Island institution. The Outside brand (Outside Hilton Head, Destinations DMC, Outside Palmetto Bluff, Team Outside and Outside Daufuskie) is a small business story of growth, giving back to the community and nurturing natural resources.
At only 19 years old, Outside founder Mike Overton headed to Hilton Head Island to start a windsurfing school. He was able to schedule 15 minutes with Charles Fraser. The meeting lasted seven hours. Fraser told Overton: “If you want to connect people to Hilton Head it can be summed up in one word, tides. Everything here is about tides, our nature, our history, our culture, our literature is about tides. If you want to be successful understand this and understand how the salt marsh is our life blood.”
On Fourth of July weekend 1979, the business opened with a card table in the back of the South Beach Marina General Store. By the mid-1980s, the company was the nation’s largest windsurfing school, and by 1988, it was the first nature-based kayak tour company on east coast. In 2008, Overton opened the Destination Management Company and the Outside Foundation in 2014.
With the core values of safety, passion, excellence, teamwork and sustainability, Outside has stayed ahead of the curve on the services offered and the products sold in its retail stores. As the first to offer windsurfing lessons in the area in 1979, through the transition to guided kayak tours and lessons in the 1980s and later the addition of boating activities, Guided Daufuskie Island History tours and Team Building Programs and Leadership Development offerings, the creative team continues to evolve.
Over the years, Outside has grown its staff and business, while investing heavily in the community. Overton has served on numerous local boards, including the Island Recreation Association, Port Royal Sound Foundation and others. The company has organized events and participated in multiple fundraisers for local charities including Volunteers in Medicine, Hope Haven, Deep Well Project, Souls for Shoes and more.
In 2014, The Outside Foundation was founded with a mission to get kids outside, and protect and preserve the local environment. It raises funds each year to grow the Kids in Kayaks program. This year, every 7th grade child in Beaufort County public schools will have a day outside, immersed in water testing, dock fouling, touch tanks and kayaking.
Start-Up of the Year: group46
group46 started with a lot of sweat equity.
Founded in April 2014, Ryan Lockhart, president of the full-service marketing and PR agency, led the making of the office by hand-building desks and – in some cases – computers. Over the past two and a half years, the company has grown its client portfolio, invested in its employees and has given back to the community.
With a motto, “raise your game,” group46 offers its employees creative benefits, including unlimited paid time off, spa treatments and team lunches, while investing its efforts into company culture and training to develop stellar team members.
group46 has donated more than 155 hours of rebranding and marketing assistance to Second Helpings, and multiple gift cards to local school fundraisers.
Sue West Educator of the Year Award: Mary Baker, Hilton Head Island Elementary School
The 2016 Sue West Educator of the Year Award has taught and influenced generations of children in the Lowcountry.
Since 1974, Mary Baker has taught a variety of grade levels, including middle and high school students, and has extensive training to teach gifted and talented students, English learners and students with special needs. Most recently, she’s been a mainstay in the Hilton Head Island Elementary School 5th grade classroom, where she has pioneered the “flipped classroom” model. Students watch online lectures or perform research at home and then perform “homework” in the classroom. She was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year for Hilton Head Island Elementary School.
“Although Ms. Baker has the ability to leave her current position for more administrative or district leadership roles, she continues to work in the capacity best for young learners, the classroom,” said Sarah Owen, principal of the Hilton Head Island Elementary School. “She knows that is where the true difference can be made.”
Baker was raised in Bluffton. She’s volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and helps train therapy dogs. But her true passion is teaching.
“Ms. Baker was asked why she got into teaching. Her answer was ‘Teaching found me.’ She couldn’t think of another profession she would want to do,” Owen said. “She wanted to help students believe they could do anything or be anything as long as they are passionate about it and willing to work for it. She empowers students by encouraging them to work to their fullest potential and does it in a way that is truly infectious and inspiring. The learning environment she creates is one where every child can succeed.”
Zonta Woman of the Year Award: Linda Warnock
“Others before self” is more than a guiding principle for Linda Warnock. It is a way of life both personally and professionally for the Dunes Real Estate controller and 2016 Zonta Woman of the Year Award recipient.
Warnock has a long history of charitable endeavors, giving back to the community and making it a better place.
“When Linda discovers someone is in need or finds a particular group that could use her help, she jumps right in without hesitation and does whatever needs to be done,” said Daniel Moskowitz, the broker-in-charge at Dunes Real Estate. “When the workday ends, Linda’s humanitarian focus assumes the forefront in focus. After hours, Linda is most likely training community security forces or the public on bicycle safety, rallying support for participation for charity, furthering organizations whereby she is affiliated, celebrating with others in their life successes, or being the support arm for friends and family however great the need.”
Warnock created the annual Bicycle Elf Delivery, a food drive now in its fifth year to benefit the St. Andrews by the Sea Soup Kitchen. She has assisted with countless service projects benefiting local organizations such as Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse(CODA), Lowcountry Collation Against Human Trafficking (LCAHT), Hope Haven and The Children’s Center. She’s also had leadership roles with the Hilton Head High School Z Club, League of American Bicyclists, Zonta Club, Pedal4Kids Annual Community Bike Ride, Town of Hilton Head Island Bicycle Advisory Committee and more.
Started in 2005 by the Zonta Club of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, the Zonta Woman of the Year Award “recognizes local women who have made significant contributions and helped improve the quality of life in our community.”