OneSpartanburg Recognizes 101st Class of Annual Award Winners in Virtual Celebration

An untitled award cup.

Assuming the role of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, newly-announced development organization OneSpartanburg recognized its 101st class of annual awardees at a virtual event.

The organization announced 24 awardees, including the Small Business of the Year, the Economic Futures Award and the Tourism Person of the Year, representing the organization’s primary functions.

“It is always important to reflect on the progress Spartanburg is making, and recognize the businesses and people creating impact countywide,” said OneSpartanburg, Inc. President and CEO Allen Smith.

The 2020 awardees are as follows:

  • Neville Holcombe Distinguished Citizenship Award (highest honor): The frontline healthcare workers of Spartanburg County were recognized for their tireless, selfless dedication to serving their patients and Spartanburg during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, healthcare workers became healthcare heroes, displaying resilience, collaboration and compassion, and stepping up to take on difficult work in difficult conditions.
  • James B. Thompson Small Business of the Year Award: Arrowhead Design Co. owner Lanie Whitaker and her partners, Jamie Woodruff and Ima Ortega, were recognized for their BURG brand’s impact on community pride in Spartanburg, for their design services available to local businesses, and for their business growth.
  • Economic Futures Award: Contec, Inc. was recognized for its quick pivot in response to COVID-19 production, and for putting the health of its team members and the larger Spartanburg community at the forefront during their operations in 2020.
  • Elaine Harris Tourism Person of the Year: Pinnacle Hospitality owner Sam Shanbhag was recognized for his investments in Spartanburg’s tourism economy, including the TRU Hotel, 1881 Event Center and Heirloom: A Milltown Eatery.
  • Ambassador of the Year: Eric Cook, branch manager with Job Impulse, was recognized for his dedication to educating local businesses on the tools and resources available to them, as well as his willingness to celebrate and connect others.
  • Chairman’s Award: Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt and Kay Woodward, owner of J.W. Woodward Funeral Home, were recognized for their roles as co-chairs of the Bringing Back the ‘Burg Business Recovery Task Force, Spartanburg’s COVID-19 recovery effort. The duo’s leadership while serving on the task force will be felt across Spartanburg County in the years to come.
  • Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award: C. House Reps. Mike Forrester and Eddie Tallon, who retire at the end of the year, and retired Rep. Derham Cole were recognized for their efforts to support business-friendly legislation in the State House.
  • Inclusion Advocate of the Year: Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, assistant chair of the Department of Language, Literature and Composition at USC Upstate, was recognized for her extensive work to create equity and fair representation in Spartanburg.
  • Leadership Spartanburg Alumni Association Unsung Hero Award: Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson was recognized for his dedication to community leadership, and his efforts to build trust and connections between his officers and community residents.
  • Minority-Owned Business Person of the Year: Pontheolla and Paul Abernathy, owners of Clevedale Inn & Historic Gardens, were recognized for their homegrown hospitality, helping to grow Spartanburg as a tourism destination.
  • Young Professional of the Year, Leadership Spartanburg Alumnus of the Year: Cal Wicker, commercial lending specialist with Truist (formerly BB&T), was recognized for his community involvement and dedication to Spartanburg.
  • 2019 Teachers of the Year:
    • District 1 – Katie Darby, Inman Elementary School
    • District 2 – Emily Wilkins, Chesnee Elementary School
    • District 3 – Melanie Cecil, Cannons Elementary School
    • District 4 – Ashley Bennett, Woodruff Middle School
    • District 5 – Carrie Potter, Lyman Elementary
    • District 6 – Allie Thrower, Jesse Bobo Elementary School
    • District 7 – Crystal Weathers, EP Todd Elementary School
    • C. School for the Deaf and the Blind – Julia Wittschen-Price
    • Spartanburg Day School – Paige Phillips
    • High Point Academy
      • Elementary – Mellissa Brown
      • Middle – Heidi Boyd
      • High – Andreau Green
    • Spartanburg Preparatory School – Lauren Mason