Stelling was the keynote speaker for the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce’s 102nd annual meeting at The Forum.
“I think great leaders are strong and courageous. They face challenges with determination,” said Stelling. “They are willing to make even the most difficult decisions and they know that risk, innovation and change are necessary for growth.”
Stelling told more than 400 attendees at the meeting that Rome was blessed with leaders that will not back down from a good challenge. During brief remarks about the banking industry, Stelling made it clear that he was not a fan of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
Dodd-Frank offers some of the most comprehensive changes in the financial institution regulatory environment in more than 70 years.
“Some bankers have said there are good things in that act but I haven’t found them yet,” Stelling said. “It does get in the way of us taking care of you.”
An awards ceremony was part of the event.
The Small Business of the Year award went to ServiceMaster by Twins, 1 Hillindale Drive, owned by Barry Alford and Larry Alford.
The twins also own ServiceMaster operations in Augusta, Cartersville, Douglasville, Gainesville, and Hampton in Georgia and in Destin, Fla., Guntersville/Huntsville, Ala. and Maryville, Tenn.
Small Business Action Council Chairman Lamante Attaud said ServiceMaster by Twins has proven to be innovative through the years and the firm, which has been in Rome for 21 years, experienced 62 percent growth last year alone by installing new technology that.
The other nominees for Small Business of the Year were Honeymoon Bakery, Parker Systems, Schroeder’s New Deli, and V3 Publications.
Missy Armstrong was honored as the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year. Armstrong works both for ServiceMaster by Twins and Rome Cleaners, both owned by the Alford brothers. Armstrong was the leading recruiter of new members for the Chamber in 2012.
Armstrong chaired the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo in 2010 and has been a member of the Small Business Action Council addressing the needs of small businesses in Rome for many years. She serves on the young professionals committee of the Chamber.
Cheryl Huffman was recognized as the recipient of the Wesley Johnson Leadership Award.
Huffman, now employed in the guest services office at Berry College, retired as president of the Northwest Georgia Credit Union. She currently serves as chairman of the Rome City Board of Education.
Doc Kibler accepted the gavel as chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors from outgoing Chairwoman Angie Lewis. Lewis said she was a better person for serving her year at the helm and paid special tribute to the 10-person staff.
“You have no idea the hours this team puts in,” Lewis said.
Kibler told the business group that creating new jobs in the community involves not just the quality of life but a quality environment for business to come and thrive.
He also cited pluses such as local health care and educational opportunities and extraordinary leadership in both the public and private sectors.