A couple known for their commitment to serving the local community for the past 35 years and for starting one of the county's most respected businesses were honored by the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce as the 2017 “Citizens of the Year.”
Allen and Jennifer DeNyse, who founded DeNyse Signs, were honored Saturday night at the Douglas County Chamber’s 73rd Awards Banquet at the Douglasville Conference Center.
The DeNyses were selected by the Chamber’s awards committee, which considers community leadership, professional and civic contributions, current accomplishments and length of service in the community.
Kara Pearson, GreyStone Power Vice President of Financial Services, presented the award to the DeNyses. It marked the first time the annual Citizen of the Year award went to a couple.
“This year’s recipient is a pillar in the community and a true servant leader,” Pearson said, alternating male and female pronouns in describing the couple. “Starting a business in his basement, he built his company on five core values which remain true to this day: Teamwork, Accountability, Commitment, Mutual Respect and Quality. His commitment to the community has not gone unnoticed for the past 35 years. In 2012, this individual worked with her employees to start a foundation through her company to continue serving the Douglas County community. Her focus was to inspire the youth, respect the elderly, and honor our veterans.”
But Pearson said Allen DeNyse doesn’t stop with the foundation, noting he works with more than 15 local nonprofits.
He founded and serves on the Board of Directors for The Start Foundation, which works with the local DUI/Drug Court in Douglas County to help provide programming to participants.
Pearson said Jennifer DeNyse has served on the GreyStone Power Board for the past 13 years and is the first female Board Chair in its history.
Allen DeNyse is a graduate of the Leadership Douglas Class of 2002 and was recognized with the 2016 Leadership Douglas Founder’s Award.
“By now, you may have realized these pronoun errors are deliberate,” Pearson said before calling the DeNyses up to the stage. “Many of us have been privileged to work with these individuals over their many years of service, and I am sure many more of us will work with the growing company they have handed over to a second generation to lead into the future.”
Chamber President and CEO Kali Boatright kicked off the night by welcoming the crowd to the banquet, known as the “Winter Ball.”
Chris Pumphrey, executive director of the Development Authority of Douglas County, gave the invocation.
Pearson, as her first order of business, recognized 2017 Board Chairman Randy Whitaker for all that he accomplished last year.
“During his leadership, the community came together to create Douglas Unite: Envision, Engage, Energize,” Pearson said. “This program is focused on a 5-year implementation of the Community and Economic Development Strategic Plan. The Chamber collaborated with the development authority, city, county, WSA, schools, GreyStone, Georgia Power and local business owners to achieve this plan.”
Medline Industries was named the Large Business of the Year. Medline has been in business in Douglas County since 2011 and is currently undergoing its fourth facility expansion to keep up with growing demand. Last year, Medline was honored with a Business Service Award by the Atlanta Regional Commission and the internal “Betty Lock” Award for Excellence in Quality.
HRC Engineers, Surveyors & Landscape Architects was named the Small Business of the Year. HRC has been in the county for 17 years and has seen nearly 25 percent growth in sales, 30 percent growth in clients and has doubled their team since 2015. The company believes in giving back and has contributed more than 270 hours in service to nonprofits in the community over the past year.
Margaret McCarley of Brookview Apartments and the nonprofit Up By the Bootstraps was named Diplomat of the Year. The Chamber Spirit Award winner for 2017 was Michelle Volk of Silverton Mortgage.
Ellen McBrayer was named the 2017 Young Professional of the Year.
And the 2017 Sam P. Roberts Community Service Award was given to Myesha Good.
Pearson said Good is known for “being a busy community leader, career woman and wife, and handles it all with style and grace that will leave a lasting impression on anyone.”
“Her areas of service currently include D.C. GameChangers, United Way Advisory Board Member Junior League Advisor, Democratic Women’s Council and the Cultural Arts Council," Pearson said. “When she is not volunteering, you may find her serving as the 13th District Chair for the Democratic Party of Georgia. As a graduate of the Leadership Douglas Class of 2017, she continues to be highly engaged in the Chamber and in the future of Douglas County.”
The event was made possible by presenting sponsor GreyStone Power.