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Chamber honors local business leaders at annual gala

Chamber honors local business leaders at annual gala

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The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce honored local businesses for their successes, entrepreneurial spirit, and community commitment Friday at its 30th annual Awards & Gala.

Jaime Garza won the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Garza has combined his video and storytelling talents to help business owners, nonprofit leaders and brides and grooms tell their stories through video. During the pandemic, he teamed with other small businesses to highlight the resilience of our community.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery received the Small Business of the Year award. Shutting down to the public for months when COVID-19 hit, the business pivoted from one kind of distilled product to another, producing hand sanitizer and disinfectants. The first batches were donated to local front-line workers and those at risk in the community.

Atlantic Builders received the Large Business of the Year award. The chamber notes that executives Adam Fried, Tom Schoedel and Gene Brown lead with core values that extend to employees as they provide exceptional service to their customers. Atlantic Builders has served the region for 33 years, and they are proud to have a management philosophy of “If the company does well, we all do well”.

Michelle Caldwell Thompson won the Prince B. Woodard Leadership Award, given to an individual who has provided years of service and commitment to the Fredericksburg region. It is named for the former Mary Washington College president whose, vision, integrity and dedication to serving others made her a pillar for the community.

The chamber noted that Thompson is a force in the business world, owning and operating the largest African American-owned residential real estate firm in the area. As CTI Real Estate’s founder and principal broker, she manages corporate strategic initiatives, regulatory compliance, and a team of more than fifty real estate professionals. Her clients have described her as professional, helpful and energetic, and is a leader who inspires, motivates and encourages others to achieve their goals.

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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