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DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 79 Years of Business Success

DECATUR, Ga., March 1, 2017 – Nearly 400 distinguished DeKalb and metro Atlanta business and community leaders joined the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for its 79th Annual Meeting and Business Luncheon Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Georgia Aquarium. Presenting sponsors included AT&T and MGM Resorts International.

During the meeting, Diane McClearen, outgoing chair of the board and Director of Community & External Relations for Oglethorpe Power, passed the gavel to Frederick L. Daniels, Jr., incoming chair and Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President for Citizens Trust Bank. Daniels reflected on the Chamber’s commitment to its members and the business community.

As Chair, Daniels will reenergize the organization through inclusive leadership by bringing people together and resolving issues together. He also noted his plans to support and develop entrepreneurs. “We look forward to showing you our renewed commitment to businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Daniels. “Entrepreneurs will improve economic outcomes, generate diverse workforce opportunities; and increase retention of new and current industries.”

The five incoming board members are Elaine Armstrong, Vice President of Marketing for Goodwill of North Georgia; Catherine Downey, Founder and CEO for CATMEDIA; Pete Hajjar, Founder and CEO for PRIME Business Advisors; Joe Quatro, Vice President of Commercial Banking – Middle Markets for Fifth Third Bank; and, Beverly Thomas, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente. Retiring board members are Jim Monacell, Partner for Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP; Trey Ragsdale, Manager of Government & Community Relations for Kaiser Permanente; and, JaKathryn Ross, Senior Director of Community Affairs for Georgia-Pacific.

The program included an awards ceremony, honoring select companies and individuals for their contribution to the organization and DeKalb County. Award recipients included:

  • 2017 Ambassador of the Year Award – Kim Hicks
  • 2017 Sirius Star Award – Delores Crowell
  • 2017 Economic Development Project of the Year Award – MARTA, Avondale Station Transit-Oriented Development

Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts International, served as the keynote speaker. He discussed MGM Resorts International and what a destination resort could mean for Georgia.

More information about the awards is below.

Ambassador of the Year Award – The Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond to serve DeKalb Chamber, volunteering countless time and effort to spread the Chamber’s mission.

Sirius Star Award – The Sirius Star Award is given to an individual who has a high level of integrity and work ethics; an individual who holds strong values and vision for DeKalb County.

Economic Development Project of the Year Award – The Economic Development Project of the Year Award highlights a development project in mixed-use, brownfield, industrial, office developments, adaptive reuse or rehab projects, and resident projects (must include a commercial component).

To download and view photos from the event, please click here.


The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization with the mission to support, promote and sustain business development in DeKalb County. With 79 years of service in the community, DeKalb Chamber focuses on four critical areas including education, workforce and economic development, public policy, and business member services. We are the primary resource for businesses in DeKalb County. For more information on DeKalb Chamber, please visit their website at www.dekalbchamber.org or call 404-378-8000.