Honoring Excellence – Atmore News

Chamber recognizes individuals, companies


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The Atmore Chamber of Commerce Gala is always a time of celebration for the Chamber of Commerce, for the city, and for individuals and businesses.

This year’s gala took place to a full house on Friday, January 28th in the Wind Creek Ballroom.

The following awards were presented.

Citizen of the Year

Presenting this award, Dale Ash said, “An exceptional leader, this individual is constantly giving back to our small community with a single-minded mission to improve the quality of life in Atmore and make it a more vibrant and vital community. Some may think it’s that person’s job – but it’s more than a job for this elected official – it’s a passion.”

Citing a number of initiatives that person led or was involved in, Ash ended with these comments: “An enduring legacy for Atmore and economic impact was developed through his contributions. His vision of improving the quality of life for all residents is paying off. With an excellent reputation for being a dedicated, smart, and tenacious leader, Greg Albritton’s small town of Atmore has and continues to thrive. His positivity, instinctive management skills and keenness to improve the quality of life at Atmore – through devotion to his job and working diligently behind the scenes – make it clear that Greg Albritton is a highly deserving Atmore Area Chamber of recipient Commercial Citizen of the Year.”

company of the year

Former Chamber President Emilee Craft presented this award. Her comments included the following: “As a lifelong resident of the Atmore area, Debbie Rowell has an in-depth knowledge of Atmore and the surrounding communities. She brings 37 years of experience, focus, determination and enthusiasm to the real estate business… As dedicated full-time professionals, her diligence in meeting her clients’ needs has earned her many friends and earned her a solid reputation in society. Debbie believes giving back to the community something that has been so good to her is very important. She is active in civic clubs such as the Atmore Rotary Club and has served on the City of Atmore Community Enhancement Committee, the Beautification Committee, the Business Spotlight Award Committee and the local Escambia County Habitat for Humanity. She currently serves on the Atmore City Planning Commission and the Escambia County Healthcare Authority. She is also an active member of the Alabama Association of Realtors, State-at-Large.”

The Business of the Year Award was presented to Debbie Rowell, Southern Real Estate.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Atmore Councilwoman Eunice Johnson presented this award to her brother James McNeil.

“James is an enthusiastic and supportive individual who demonstrates unwavering integrity,” she said. “His involvement in the community is an excellent example of his commitment and dedication. James has been a pillar in the community for over 30 years and has proven to be a prominent member and supporter of this community. He was simply an inspiration to many and is a man of honor and respect. He sticks to what is right and maintains a high standard of behavior. James demonstrates high moral value and has numerous achievements.”

In addition to being the business owner, he is also the founder of The Concerned Citizens of Atmore, established in 1992, where he held positions of Committee Treasurer and Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade held. James was also the treasurer of a local NAACP chapter.

He is currently a member of the Small Group of America and the Beautification Committee of Atmore. James has donated his time and effort making church signs for local churches including Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Mt Olive Baptist Church, New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of McCullough, where he has served for more than 10 years serving on the Deacons Committee years now. He was also involved in church renovations at the First Baptist Church of McCullough and Liberty Baptist. James also played a role in the construction of the pavilion at Houston’s Avery Park.

“James McNeil deserves this Lifetime Achievement Award simply because he genuinely loves his community and constantly gives back to the City of Atmore through hard work, by treating all people fairly, by being charitable and altruistic,” concluded Councilman Johnson.

Lifetime Entrepreneur Award

Ellis Beachy presented this award.

“You will see this recipient’s fingerprints all over Atmore,” he said. “Many companies come to mind when you think of those who work behind the scenes to improve the city of Atmore. But this year’s standout is Maxwell Construction. We don’t have time to list all of the contributions this company has made throughout its history, but in this year alone they have made a significant amount of in-kind donations to the Pride of Atmore and completed major construction work on the Watson Cabin at Heritage Park.

“Maxwell Construction has been there this past year and every year. Owner Richard Maxwell has just completed seventeen years on Atmore’s Industrial Board. His tenure was instrumental in founding Rivercane.

“Maxwell’s vision of the economic impact years ago is limitless. As a member of the Atmore Historical Commission, Richard Maxwell’s insight and experience that year were invaluable. Richard Maxwell, Chapman Maxwell, Mallorie Maxwell and Glen Wilson are always ready, willing and able to help whenever a need arises. Richard, Chapman and their ancestors have served the Atmore Lion’s Club since its inception in the 1920’s. When the old Atmore High School was built in the late 1980’s, Maxwell Construction donated all of the labor for the project. Maxwell always gives back. It is now the honor of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize Maxwell Construction with this year’s Lifetime Business Award.”

[None of the Maxwells were on hand to receive the award. Gregg Raines accepted for them.]

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