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Annual Banquet

The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet is a cherished tradition that unites our business community to celebrate dedication, progress, and success. This event stands as the largest assembly of business, civic, and community leaders in the area, solidifying its position as the Chamber’s premier event of the year.

Picture this: a night of glitz, glamour, and good times, and we want you to be right there in the spotlight with us. Get ready to step into the Rat Pack's world – where sophistication meets celebration, and every moment is etched in the golden pages of Old Vegas history. This ain't just any old soirée; it's the kind of gathering that brings together the who's who of business, civic duty, and community leadership for an unforgettable evening.

Highlights of the evening will include accomplishments of the 2023 Chamber year from Board Chair Randy Brooks, a preview of 2024 goals from incoming Board Chair Chris Evatt, and recognition of outstanding citizens and volunteers. The grand finale of the evening is the ceremonial naming of the 2023 Citizen of the Year.

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The 108th Annual Banquet will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2023 at 5:30pm at the McNease Convention Center. Registration for the event is now open; click the button below to register:

2023 Annual Banquet Awardees

The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce hosted its 107th Annual Banquet on February 9, 2023 at the McNease Convention Center.

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Annual Banquet (2023)

Outstanding Member

Awarded to: Shannon

Demonstrating their commitment to not only the Chamber, but the overall health of our community, we would like to recognize Shannon as the 2022 Outstanding Member.  Through their support of Chamber events like the Annual Banquet, their continued commitment as Cornerstone Investors, and their active involvement through volunteer service, the Chamber can remain focused on our mission.


Shannon Medical Center is the largest, locally based health care provider in the Concho Valley and surrounding area serving a 25 county region across West Texas.  For more than 89 years, Shannon’s mission has focused on providing exceptional health care for its family, friends, and neighbors. Together with Shannon Clinic, Shannon's clinically diverse team provides access to more than 350 providers in 40 medical specialties across 25 locations. Shannon’s services include nationally recognized cardiac and stroke programs with the AirMed air ambulance, a designated Level III Trauma Facility, which has been named top Trauma Facility in the state, a designated Women’s & Children’s Hospital with a Level II Neonatal Facility.  Most recently Shannon joined as a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network – a group of carefully vetted, independent health care organizations, offering patients access to Mayo Clinic’s expertise and latest research and treatment recommendations.  This means our families, friends, and neighbors throughout the region will receive some of the most advanced care in the nation, right here at Shannon.

Outstanding Director

Awarded to: Chris Evatt

Joining the Chamber board in 2020, Chris helped our community navigate some of our most challenging times and through his leadership has been instrumental in Growing Business, Building Community.  A valued member of this year’s Chamber executive committee, Chris has been an outstanding director whose community insight has played a vital role in the successes we have experienced this year.  Chris is the President, CEO, and Chairman of the First Financial Bank of San Angelo Region and began his career with First Financial 21 years ago.  Dedicated to community from the very beginning, Chris not only has contributed greatly to the Chamber, he is also actively serving on the Angelo State University Business School Advisory Council, San Angelo Industries Board, Howard College San Angelo Foundation, West Texas Rehab Board and is a former member of the City of San Angelo Development Corporation Board.  Chris has been named a Top 20 under 40 honoree in both San Angelo and in Abilene.

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Annual Banquet (2023)

Outstanding Chairman's Award

Awarded to: Griff Griffin

The impact of travel and tourism to our local economy is immense and despite challenges faced by the travel industry over the past several years, the San Angelo Destination Marketing Organization delivered a strong rebound of the local travel and tourism – resulting in economic benefits to our community through its marketing and promotional efforts.  A strong advocate, Griff Griffin has served on the Destination Marketing Organization advisory committee for over 10 years and served as committee chair in 2022.  He has contributed greatly to the vision of growing this critical pillar of our local economy and the Chamber is proud to present him with this year’s Outstanding Chairman Award.

Griff is the network operations manager for West Central Wireless and has been with the organization for over 28 years.  Prior to his time at West Central Wireless, Griff served 14 years in the US Air Force and after tours in the Middle East and Europe, he was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base for nine years where he taught advanced electronics and receiver principles for the National Security Agency and was the Resource Advisor for all radio electronics courses.  Griff was instrumental in the transition of the DoD Fire Training Academy from Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois to Goodfellow.  Active in the community, Griff has been a member of the San Angelo Downtown Kiwanis Club for over 20 years, has served on the Leadership San Angelo Alumni Board, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, and Co-Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Sports Advisory committee.

Innovation Award

Awarded to: Fast Signs of San Angelo

For over 20 years, husband and wife duo Michael and Beth Martinez have been working side by side to bring unique and innovative ways to showcase businesses throughout San Angelo.  Intrigued with digital billboards on a trip to Las Vegas in 2007, they decided to install the first digital billboard in San Angelo. Not an easy task, the couple continued to support businesses through innovative marketing and their dedicated work evolved into the full-service sign company, FASTSIGNS of San Angelo.  Through their skilled team of professionals, FASTSIGNS has helped to create cutting edge products and delivers innovate solutions to help our local business thrive.  The San Angelo Chamber has partnered with FASTSIGNS of San Angelo to create unique signage for several events like our premier West Texas Legislative Summit and the Chambers 20 Under 40 event highlighting our brightest young professionals.

We are proud to award Fast Signs of San Angelo the Innovation Award.

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Chairman's Award

Awarded to: Howard College San Angelo

Over the past several years, communities, businesses, and families have been forced to closely evaluate the future and develop strategic plans to ensure our community is positively positioned for continued growth.  Strong employees build strong business and this year the Chamber has been committed to cultivating business – education partnerships that will drive future success for San Angelo and the Concho Valley.

2022 was a year full of innovation and partnership building across the Concho Valley for Howard College. From increased GED Courses in rural areas, the Texas Two Step partnership with the ASU College of Education, and the Human Trafficking Summit with United Way of the Concho Valley, Open Arms RCC & LGBT+ Services, and Concho Valley Council Of Governments, and a Windmill Technician course with Aermotor Windmill Co. just to name a few.

Distinguished Service Award 

Awarded to: Beverley Hanks

Se would like to honor one of the Chamber staff who has been a valuable team member and is celebrating her 50th year with the organization.  Beverley Hanks has dedicated her career to the work of the Chamber and over the years has held several different jobs starting in Economic Development, working within different committees and at events like the Rodeo, Fiesta del Concho, San Angelo Relays, and many more.  She has been honored by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives for her years of service and received the Unsung Hero award from former Chamber President, Michael Dalby.  Beverly has been a treasured member of our Chamber team and we are  honored to recognize her for 50 years of committed service.

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Outstanding Young Professional of the Year

Awarded to: Diarmid Campbell

The Outstanding Young Professional Award is for young leaders under the age of 45 in recognition of their commitment and dedication. This year’s recipient reflects excellence & servant leadership.

We would like to recognize Diarmid Campbell as the Outstanding Young Professional of the Year for his dedication to both YPSA and our community.

Diarmid is an Assistant Business Agent/Career Development Organizer with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 520 (IBEW Local 520) and works to resolve issues regarding employment, education, training, and union related questions. In this role, Diarmid has been a valuable asset in numerous projects supporting the electrical field serving the San Angelo Community.  Diarmid has a heart for serving others and seeks opportunities to support the community.  He passionately serves on various boards and committees such as the Leadership San Angelo Alumni Association board, Hispanic Business Diversity Committee, Executive Board for Young Professionals of San Angelo, Trustee for West Texas Building Trades, Volunteer Services Council, Concho Valley Workforce Development Board and the United Way Impact Panel.



Phil Neighbors Spirit of San Angelo Award

Awarded to: Dave Erickson

This award is given to someone who helps to make our community a better place to live. It is named for the late Phil Neighbors, who served this city as the Chamber President and CEO for 10 years with distinction and dedication.

Phil was a gentle soul, who loved our city and worked hard to serve Chamber members and advance the Chamber’s mission. He was a man of strong faith, and always had a warm smile and firm handshake for both friends and strangers alike.

Since 1999, Dave has served our community, playing a vital role at the Small Business Development Center as both a Senior Business Advisor and currently, Director.  Assisting hundreds of small businesses throughout our community, Dave’s dedication has been evident by the economic impact these entrepreneurial businesses have had on our community.  His passion for helping business thrive has been instrumental in the establishment of the Business Incubator, the Small Business Plan Competition, the ASU Student Biz Pitch Competition and the Business Resource Center.  Positioning our community for future success, Dave created the Angelo State University, SBDC graduate assistant program, giving MBA and Accounting graduate students hands on learning opportunities serving small businesses under SBDC professional advisors and trainers to accompany their classroom learning.


Citizen of the Year

Awarded to: Richard & Betty Jo “BJ” Mayer

Presented by: 2021 Citizens of the Year, Barbara Rallo and Treva Boyd

The Citizen of the Year is selected each year by a committee of past Citizen of the Year (COY) recipients. The deliberation and selection process behind the COY honor is highly respected and is privy only to previous COY recipients and revealed to the public at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet.

Each year a committee of previous COY recipients meet to deliberate on and choose the next COY. Qualities of a COY, as defined by previous recipients include an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the quality of life in the community and who has been involved in quality and effective volunteer work. A COY will also exhibit the leadership needed to achieve success for all in San Angelo and passionately pursues the best for this community.

The 2022 Citizens of the Year is Richard and Betty Jo “BJ” Mayer!

Richard and BJ are involved with and donate to several other organizations as well, such as the West Texas Rehab Center and The San Angelo Symphony. They both give time and treasure to their church the 1st United Methodist Church feeding the homeless, traveling to nursing homes and singing to warm their hearts.

To continue the legacy of philanthropy and loyalty to ASU started by his grandfather, Richard and BJ played an integral part in bringing a softball field to ASU.

With a passion for the arts and history as well as a loyalty and dedication to west Texas, ASU and family their passions have converged in the Mayer Museum on the ASU campus.  In the state of the art Mayer Museum you will find art, archaeology, pioneer history and state government.  It is there that you will find the West Texas Collection preserved for future generations.

It is through the generosity of Richard and BJ Mayer that generations to come will take pride in learning about all things West Texas.



2022 Annual Banquet


The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce hosted its 106th Annual Banquet on January 20, 2022 at the McNease Convention Center.

Unique to San Angelo, the Chamber's Annual Banquet is a time-honored tradition, celebrating its 106th year in 2022. For decades, the Chamber has been bringing together the business community to honor those who are dedicated to moving forward, promoting progress, and striving for success.

Highlights of the evening included accomplishments of the 2021 Chamber year from Board Chair Shane Plymell, a preview of 2022 goals from incoming Board Chair Janet Karcher, and recognition of outstanding citizens and volunteers. The grand finale of the evening was the ceremonial naming of the 2021 Citizens of the Year.

2022 Annual Banquet Awardees


Outstanding Member

Awarded to: Western Audio Works

Our Chamber is composed of many Outstanding Members so it’s always difficult to single out one member for recognition. However, the recipient of this year’s award has continually provided his unwavering support. As you know, the Chamber holds very large annual events throughout the year which require a ton of work behind the scenes. In order to pull off events that are as significant and detailed as these, the Chamber relies on dependable and talented individuals to assist us in creating a special experience for all who attend. This member’s contributions elevate any occasion, and their work is continually top-notch. The Chamber would like to recognize Brooks Willig with Western Audio Works as this year’s Outstanding Member.

Outstanding Director

Awarded to: Dr. Clifton Jones

Dr. Clifton Jones is a strong community leader who had delivered tireless service to the City of San Angelo for many years. His service to the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce began with his membership on the Chamber Economic Development Committee. He later became a board member in 2018 and board chair in 2020.

Dr. Jones is an innovator whose leadership brings excellence to the organizations that he serves. At the Chamber of Commerce, he worked tirelessly with the board and the Chamber staff to re-energize the Chamber organization. In 2020, he was instrumental in the recruitment and hiring of the Chamber’s President and CEO Walt Koenig. His mentorship and guidance helped him come up to speed quickly, and his boundless energy and vision catalyzed a great turnaround of continued success at the Chamber.

Dr. Jones is always an eager volunteer and is one who brings competence, innovation, diligence, and a measure of humor to all he does. His impact on the Chamber has been both highly positive and enduring. We are pleased to recognize Dr. Clifton Jones as the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce’s Director of the Year.


Innovation Award

Awarded to: Galilee Community Development Corporation

The recipient of our Innovation Award serves our community by seeking to achieve their mission in providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in the Concho Valley.

During this past year’s winter weather crisis, also known as “Snow-ma-geddon”, Galilee Community Development Corporation helped stand in the gap for community members who experienced damaged pipes, heating, and electrical issues caused by the record low temperatures.  In collaboration with their network of contractors and community partnerships, Galilee CDC organized a response system to field calls for low-income homeowners who were most impacted.  Over the course of three short weeks, more than 170 of our neighbors received assistance to repair damages to their homes. Galilee’s innovative response to our community’s greatest need is why they have been chosen to receive this year’s Innovation Award.

Chairman's Award

Awarded to: COVID-19 Task Force

2021 was a year of rebuilding and reconnecting, and our city leaders worked hard behind the scenes to support our community by forming the COVID-19 Task Force. This group consisted of City & Ccounty leaders that met EVERY Monday to discuss COVID-19 and to devise solutions to mitigate the impact.

Communication among all of San Angelo’s Leadership, from government to academic, healthcare to private sector, is a unique quality for a city of our size. We wanted to show our appreciation to this dedicated group of leaders.

The recipients of this year’s Chairman’s Award, the COVID-19 Task Force are Mayor Brenda Gunter, City Manager Daniel Valenzuela, General Ronnie Hawkins of ASU, Dr. Carl Dethloff of SAISD, Pam Callan from Howard College, Dr. James Vretis from the Health Department, Judge Steve Floyd, and Chamber President Walt Koenig, and Shannon President/CEO, Shane Plymell.


Special Recognition Award

Awarded to: Kaitlyn Brosh

Kaitlyn is the Director of Student Life, Marketing, and Outreach at Howard College.   Since arriving in San Angelo, she has been an advocate for community involvement. Kaitlyn radiates servant leadership. She has always been involved with the Chamber, but this year, she went above and beyond. Kaitlyn stepped up to assist with the West Texas Summit, the Cookie Caper benefitting Goodfellow Air Force Base, and the Chamber’s newest endeavor: the 20 Under 40 Awards Program.


As a 2016 recipient of the “20 Under 40” award, Kaitlyn advocates the importance of fostering and recognizing young professionals in San Angelo. When the Chamber decided to incorporate the “20 Under 40” program into our calendar of events, Kaitlyn’s passion and hard work aided in its revival. She came early, she stayed late, and is truly a beacon of dependability, service, kindness, and strength.

Special Merit Award

Awarded to: Reyna's Tacos

Many of our local organizations play important roles in our community, and the Special Merit Award is given to one such entity that has made a positive and significant impact. Tonight, we would like to recognize Anna and Orlando Reyna from Reyna’s Tacos as our Special Merit Award recipient.

Despite the challenges of 2021, Reyna’s Tacos experienced huge growth, bringing a unique flair and flavor to our city. Anna and Orlando also support their team and encourage their success. They began by offering to pay the fees for any employee who wanted to attain their GED. That commitment has since expanded beyond their staff, and they now extend that offer to ANYONE in San Angelo that needs assistance in paying for testing costs.

Additionally, they stand out because of their willingness to help those in need. In February, the snowstorm left many in our community without essentials such as food, water, and electricity. Reyna’s Tacos encouraged people to bring their refrigerated and perishable items and cooked it for them and delivered meals to those in need.  We are pleased to announce that Orlando and Anna Reyna are the recipients of this year’s Special Merit Award.

SPECIAL MERIT AWARD Anna and Orlando Reyna

Outstanding Young Professional of the Year

Awarded to: Justin DeLoach

The Outstanding Young Professional Award is for young leaders under the age of 45 in recognition of their commitment and dedication. This year’s recipient reflects excellence & servant leadership.

This year’s awardee is a leader who likes to get things done. His drive and passion for the community is evident not just in his daily life, but through the work he does for others. His spirit and personality are contagious, and you know he will help get the job done, one way or another. He connects individuals to serve for the greater good of our community and is always an advocate for those who do not have a voice. Through his “practice what you preach” mentality, he inspires all of those who know him to be the best they can be.


Justin joined the staff of Children’s Advocacy Center in 2018 and oversees fundraising and development.  He has a passion for using his talents to connect donors and community members with the work of CAC.

Phil Neighbors Spirit of San Angelo Award

Awarded to: Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd

This award is given to someone who helps to make our community a better place to live. It is named for the late Phil Neighbors, who served this city as the Chamber President and CEO for 10 years with distinction and dedication.

Phil was a gentle soul, who loved our city and worked hard to serve Chamber members and advance the Chamber’s mission. He was a man of strong faith, and always had a warm smile and firm handshake for both friends and strangers alike.

Judge Floyd is a native and lifelong resident of Tom Green County. He has been a passionate promoter of Tom Green County for decades, and as such he embodies all the qualities represented by the Phil Neighbors Spirit Award. In 1975, Judge Floyd joined his father in the family construction business.  Judge Floyd’s public service began in 1994 when he was elected to serve as Tom Green County Justice of the Peace followed by being elected as Tom Green County Commissioner in 2005 and Tom Green County Judge in 2013.

Through his entire career, Judge Floyd has brought wisdom, diligence, kindness, humor and the highest of standards to our community.

Judge Floyd was unable to attend, so several family members accepted the award on his behalf.


Citizen of the Year

Awarded to: Barbara Rallo and Treva Boyd, EnPleinAir TEXAS

Presented by: 2020 Citizen of the Year, Matt Lewis

Our Citizen of the Year for 2021 is a couple. However, this couple isn’t married to each other, however they are each married to someone else. (This is a good way to get a good rumor started!)

For the first time in the history of the Citizen of the Year, our committee has selected a couple, “not married… to each other” that have combined their efforts on an incredible event, collaborating over the past eight years and continues for its 9th year in 2022 putting San Angelo on the international art scene map.

The first of our pair, is a native of San Angelo, graduated from Angelo State and active in establishing the “Host Family” program for international students. She has been an active ASU alumnus, was ASU’s First Lady from 2009-2012, was a member of the Texas Tech University Public Art Committee, serves on the board for the Cultural Affairs Council, the and the Symphony. While in France anticipating her long-awaited marriage proposal, she required the re-creation of the proposal, due to an all-day shopping trip to Florence. She is known for her beautiful watercolor rendering, especially red-poppies and is the quintessential art entrepreneur.

The other half of this pair was born in Lamesa Texas, attended Angelo State University, after having to turn down a French Horn music scholarship at Stephens University in Memphis because her father wouldn’t let her leave the state. She later transferred on to Texas A&M graduating in 1974, paying her own way through college. She has been married to another Aggie for the past 48 years, raising two sons, who also graduated from Texas A&M, are both married and have given her four grandsons!

She’s been involved in community activities her entire life, being active in church, brownies, 4-H, Junior League, A&M Club, Fiesta del Concho, teaching Sunday School at Southland Baptist, United Way volunteer of the year in 1989 while working at GTE, volunteering for West Texas Boys Ranch, several Texas A&M committees, the Texas Racing Commission, and Revitalize Christoval, all while working outside the home, which included work at ASU in the President’s office, working at GTE in human resources and labor relations, and President & CEO of American Truck & RV.

Over 100 years ago, along the banks of the Concho River around Christoval, artists gathered to paint. As many realized then and today, our region has incredible beauty tucked away in many places throughout the Concho Valley.

In 2014 this pair collaborated to restart this annual gathering, which is now known nationally and internationally as a recognized public art program, exposing San Angelo to the competitive art of painting outdoors, bringing in hundreds of the most renowned artists in the country. This effort has helped our own San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts facilitate the program and gain increased national exposure all while raising several hundred thousand dollars each year to support the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts educational youth programing.

This collaboration is EnPleinAir Texas.

EnPleinAir is French for “in the open air” refers to the practice of painting entire finished pictures out of doors.

EnPleinAir Texas is an internationally acclaimed juried event, which now ranks in the top three nationally.  (and the larger EnPlein Air events in our country have a larger metro area to draw on) This past year,

EnPleinAir Texas produced 187 paintings valued at over half a million dollars, creating income for 31 artists and more than a quarter million in net revenue for our Museum’s children’s programming.

One of ladies even has the word Plein Air on her license plates. Both ladies are like Madonna and Cher, who are recognized simply by their first names alone!

Our two Citizens of the Year for 2021 is the dynamic duo:  Barbara Rallo and Treva Boyd.

Everyone in our community know these two ladies simply by their first names, Barbara and Treva, which is a testament to their impact and long-time community involvement to help make San Angelo a great place to live. Congratulations to Barbara and Treva and their work on EnPleinAir Texas.


2022 Annual Banquet Photos

2021 Annual Banquet


The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce hosted its 105th Annual Banquet on March 4, 2021 at the First Financial Pavilion.

Unique to San Angelo, the Chamber's Annual Banquet is a time-honored tradition, celebrating its 105th year in 2021. For decades, the Chamber has been bringing together the business community to honor those who are dedicated to moving forward, promoting progress, and striving for success.

Highlights of the evening included accomplishments of the 2020 Chamber year from Board Chair Dr. Clifton Jones, a preview of 2021 goals from incoming Board Chair Shane Plymell, and recognition of outstanding citizens and volunteers. The grand finale of the evening was the ceremonial naming of the 2020 Citizen of the Year.

Special thank you to Platinum Sponsors: Angelo State University Norris-Vincent College of Business, Black Plumbing, Celebraciones Bellas, Conterra Networks, the City of San Angelo Development Corporation, United Operated by SkyWest Airlines, and Western Audio Works.

Special thank you to DigiRevival Creative Agency for photographing the event.


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Outstanding Member - First Financial Bank

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of business as we all know it. At the beginning of the pandemic First Financial Bank was one of the first in San Angelo to respond with help for the business community. The key role they played in helped local businesses survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. First Financial Bank was a leader in assisting local businesses to apply for federal assistance available through the Payroll Protection Program. As a result of their efforts, and others, over $100 million in emergency PPP funding flowed into our community, helping to shore up businesses and maintain employees’ salaries when they needed it most.

Chris Evatt is the President, CEO and Chairman of First Financial Bank - San Angelo Region. Mr. Evatt received both his BBA in Accounting and MBA in Finance from Tarleton State University. He currently serves the Chamber as a Board member, and as Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board. In addition, Mr. Evatt serves on the boards of West Texas Rehab, the ASU Ram Club, the ASU Business Advisory Council for the Norris-Vincent College of Business, the Howard College San Angelo Foundation, and San Angelo Industries.


Outstanding Director - Randy Brooks

Following a successful career with Town and Country Food Stores, Randy Brooks is currently an entrepreneur in West Texas through BNB Ventures, which owns and operates the successful chain of Jack’s Convenience Stores and Which Wich sandwich shops in our area. Mr. Brooks is an Aggie who served in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and then went on to serve our nation in the U.S. Army Reserve. Today, he proudly serves as a member of the Civic Leaders Group in support of Goodfellow AFB.

A new Board member, as well as a new member of the Chamber Board Executive Committee, last year Mr. Brooks willingly stepped forward to serve as the Chair of the President/CEO Search Committee. Chairing this Search Committee involved many hours of meetings and phone calls as the Committee actively reached out to recruit a strong pool of candidates. Throughout it all, he gave his own valuable time and talents to steer the Committee through the process.


Outstanding Chairman - Sherley Spears

In 2020, the Chamber’s Diversity Committee expanded on their programming and provided a series of workshops for the multitude of minority-owned small businesses in our community. Sherley Spears led the Diversity Committee to great success this past year.

Originally from Fort Worth, Ms. Spears retired after 30 years as a telecommunications manager with many years in leadership at Southwestern Bell and GTE. Today she is a local business owner of an independent real estate brokerage firm, editor of a community newspaper which serves Abilene and the San Angelo area, and owner of a history development company that focuses on the history of Black people in the western part of Texas. Ms. Spears serves on many local boards including the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Cognitive Development, Fort Concho Museum and is now serving her second term as President of the San Angelo chapter of the NAACP.

Ms. Spears is very passionate about improving the lives of Black and minorities by working to create additional opportunities in business. She has been working with the Diversity Committee of the Chamber for more than 5 years and has helped find wonderful speakers for the Chamber’s annual diversity luncheon. Most recently, she worked with the African American Business Coalition to provide Chamber members and other minority-owned businesses in our community with training for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), support for PPP loans for non-traditional financial institutions and training programs promoting how to start a business. She also provided the impetus for the Chamber’s resolution last year promoting efforts in support of increasing Diversity, Inclusion and Equity among businesses in the San Angelo area.

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Innovation Award - Senor Changs

In 2018, Adrian Soto transitioned his popular food truck, Senor Changs, to a successful brick and mortar restaurant. Since then, Senor Changs has become a San Angelo staple and crowd favorite. Senor Changs has not only grown to have two locations but was also one of the most innovative businesses during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an early response to the problems caused by the pandemic, Adrian and his team began running an online grocery store - known as Changs Grocer - to assist those in the community who were experiencing shortages for essential household groceries and supplies. Senor Changs closed their dining room and converted it into a hub for their grocery pick-up and delivery service. The impact of Changs Grocer was beneficial for many individuals - community members were able to purchase groceries and household goods, such as toilet paper, that were in short supply elsewhere, employees at Senor Changs were ensured job stability during a tumultuous time, and additional community members who were unemployed or furloughed were hired on as part of the Senor Changs team.

The ingenuity and innovation of Senor Changs didn’t stop at grocery delivery. During the pandemic while entertainment and music venues were closed, the Senor Changs team hosted Pull-Up Dance Parties, where community members could enjoy live music from their cars while remaining safely socially distanced.


Chairman’s Award - COVID-19 Economic Resources Task Force

This year’s Chairman’s Award was presented to the organizations that came together and designed a comprehensive, community-based response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local small businesses. On March 18, 2020 economic development partners in the Concho Valley formed the Economic Response and Recovery Task Force, led by Michael Looney (Vice President of Economic Development at the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce), Dave Erickson (Director at the ASU Small Business Development Center), and Guy Andrews (Director of Economic Development at the City of San Angelo Development Corporation). The Task Force’s mission was to provide a forum for sharing relevant information on the rapidly changing economic situation and collaborating on an innovative set of solutions.

Each member of the Task Force brought their own unique perspectives, experience, skills, and resources to bear on the crisis. Their combined efforts ensured that our business community was able to take full advantage of millions of dollars in COVID-related federal aid for small businesses. The Task Force’s innovative approach to providing regular, well-informed COVID-19 assistance to local businesses was incredibly successful and led to the receipt of well over $150 million in emergency federal funding by businesses in our area.

This Task Force was so successful that chambers of commerce from across Texas reached out to the Chamber to learn more about the initiative and sought to duplicate the Task Force’s responses in their own community.

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Special Recognition Award - West Texas Moving Forward Conference

Each year the Chamber, along with a planning committee, organizes and hosts the West Texas Legislative Summit (WTLS) , one of the largest gatherings of elected leaders and industry professionals in West Texas. As 2020 began, this team started their usual planning for the next Summit event in August. However, with the sudden shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lingering uncertainty as to how long the shutdowns would last, planning for another Summit event became much more difficult. Before long, it became clear that it would be impossible to host another Summit in the style of previous years, with lots of networking and many attendees.

As the weeks passed, it seemed the Chamber had no choice but to cancel the Summit for 2020 and hope that we the tradition could resume in 2021. However, this team really began to consider ways in which the Chamber could still host a policy-oriented conference in 2020 which focused on economic issues facing West Texas. Due to their hard work and innovative thinking, the West Texas Moving Forward Conference was created. The Conference was a huge success, despite the stringent COVID-19 restrictions they faced. This event really showcased just how it was possible to move forward despite those restrictions, and to offer a high quality, hybrid conference, with equal parts of in-person activities and virtual panels.

The West Texas Moving Forward team was led by the dynamic trio of Tricia Peterson, Events Director for the Chamber, Dr. Brook Dickison, Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at ASU, and Kayla French, Communications Director for the Chamber.

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Special Merit Award - Diann Bayes and the San Angelo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Diann Bayes and her team in the San Angelo Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) helped to keep San Angelo moving forward during 2020, even if none of us could have foreseen what 2020 would bring. In the face of constantly changing circumstances, Diann led her team through a year where travel and tourism were shut down, hotels were suffering, and the entertainment industry was crippled. As a team they moved forward in the face of unprecedented difficulties due to COVID-19 shifting their focus from destination marketing to local PR efforts to remind and reassure local tourism-based businesses that the CVB is still there for them during these unprecedented times.

Amid all that happened in 2020 they still managed to secure the designation of #1 True Western Town of the year by True West Magazine. Diann and her team worked diligently to be a good steward of the funds entrusted to her division and were able to slash the budget, avoid layoffs and come in $200K under budget with the plan of using those funds for marketing in 2021. Diann and her team kept an upbeat attitude and worked hard to satisfy their mission of letting people know that San Angelo is truly an oasis in West Texas.

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Phil Neighbors Spirit of San Angelo Award - Jamie Rainey

This award is given to someone who helps to make our community a better place to live. It is named for the late Phil Neighbors, who served this city as the Chamber President and CEO for 10 years with distinction and dedication.

Phil was a gentle soul, who loved our city and worked tirelessly to serve Chamber members and advance the Chamber’s mission. He was a man of strong faith, and always had a warm smile and firm handshake for both friends and strangers alike.

This year’s award recipient is someone who has also served our community for many years – Ms. Jamie Rainey!

Jamie has been a resident of San Angelo for over 50 years and is a proud graduate of Angelo State University. She has served the San Angelo community in many different capacities over the years, including a 4-year stint as City Councilwoman from SMD 1. She has served on numerous local boards, including the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board, Meals for the Elderly, United Way of the Concho Valley, and West Texas Rehab Center. In addition, she has served the Chamber as Board Chair, and as a member of the Economic Development Council. In her most recent role, she was the Workforce and Community Development Officer at Howard College for the past 13 years; in this role she was an ex-officio member of the Chamber Board.

As San Angelo’s housing shortage worsened in recent years, Jamie collaborated with the Home Builders Association of San Angelo to develop an innovative new program in construction trades at Howard College. This new program provides students with hands on instruction in the basics of the various construction skills that are needed in residential construction, including foundation, framing, roofing, drywall, window and door installation, and interior trim. The first class from this program graduated in December 2019, just a little over one year ago. By providing opportunities for residents to be trained in these construction trades, local contractors are better able to hire enough skilled workers to complete their projects in a timely manner.

Jamie also worked tirelessly with local community leaders to put together a new, accelerated nursing program at Howard College so that local nurses who already hold the LVN certification could quickly move up to an RN degree as a registered nurse. Jamie went to Austin to testify before the Texas Board of Nursing about the need for this program, accompanied by several local community leaders. Jamie also coordinated initial funding for the program from the City of San Angelo Development Corporation, the Workforce Development Board, Shannon, and San Angelo Community Medical Center. This important program was approved by the State of Texas in 2016 and helps to alleviate the shortage of qualified RNs in the San Angelo health care community.

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2020 Citizen of the Year - Matt Lewis

The Citizen of the Year is selected each year by a committee of past Citizen of the Year (COY) recipients. The deliberation and selection process behind the COY honor is highly respected and is privy only to previous COY recipients and revealed to the public at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet.

Each year a committee of previous COY recipients meet to deliberate on and choose the next COY. Qualities of a COY, as defined by previous recipients include an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the quality of life in the community and who has been involved in quality and effective volunteer work. A COY will also exhibit the leadership needed to achieve success for all in San Angelo and passionately pursues the best for this community.

The 2020 Citizen of the Year is Matt Lewis!

Matt Lewis was born in the Dallas area, where he lived until he was 5 years old when his parents moved the family to Brownwood. Mr. Lewis comes from a musically inclined family and grew up singing with them at church on a regular basis. A step stool was used in his early years so he could reach the pulpit and stand alongside his siblings. His first stage appearance was in a performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors, where he was cast as the lead role of Amahl. After this performance, Mr. Lewis realized his love of the theatre and never looked back.

Mr. Lewis graduated from Brownwood High School in 1980, where he received numerous accomplishments and was involved in several extracurricular activities including:

- Receiving the Architectural Drafting Award
- Being cast in the role of Old and Young Joe in the production of Damn Yankees
- Performing in the All-State Choir as 2nd Chair and 2nd Tenor
- Playing football before sustaining an injury that forced him out of the sport, then taking on the role of a Football Manager
- Mr. Lewis then attended Howard Payne University with a focus on art and music and a minor in accounting.

In 1982 Mr. Lewis began working as a meter reader, then later a lineman, at the Texas Power & Light Company, working his way into management at TXU Energy until 2002.

Mr. Lewis and his wife, Charlotte got married in 1995. The couple have four children – Lauren, Abigail, Luke, and Samantha. The family moved to San Angelo in December 1997.

In 2002, the San Angelo Area Foundation hosted a nationwide search for their next President/CEO. Mr. Lewis applied and interviewed for the position, his love for San Angelo evident.

The San Angelo Area Foundation was established in 2002 with a $1M grant from the San Angelo Health Foundation. As of 2020, more than 7,000 donors have contributed over $200M dollars since inception and have created more than 330 funds. Over $100M have been awarded in grants and the Foundation has over $150M in assets, all supporting a wide array of causes in San Angelo and the surrounding area.

Mr. Lewis and the Foundation directed and raised funds for the Stephens Central Library and the San Angelo Performing Arts Center (SAPAC). With Mr. Lewis’s leadership, the Foundation was able to apply for a $1M grant for each project. His love for the theatre as one of the driving forces of the SAPAC project, Mr. Lewis helped to acquire the 44,000 square foot Coca-Cola bottling plant building for the campus.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are both active in the performing arts community in San Angelo. They were both in the Dallas Symphony Chorus prior to moving to San Angelo. The couple have performed in a multitude of local productions and musicals and are longtime members of the San Angelo Chamber Singers. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis received Angelo Civic Theatre’s Legacy Award in 2011. Mr. Lewis has made and served on many Walks to Emmaus as part of the music team.

A man who keeps confidentiality close to his vest, and is intentional with his communication, Mr. Lewis’s impact can be seen and felt across San Angelo and the Concho Valley. With the priorities of God, his family, and his work, his contributions and leadership over the past 19 years are immeasurable.

Congratulations to Mr. Matt Lewis, the 2020 Citizen of the Year!