Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award
STEVE KAY – Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award
This gentleman has been instrumental in helping to move Anderson forward and has invested his time, money and passion into his hometown. Electrician. Entrepreneur. Innkeeper. Developer. Steve Kay, who grew up in Anderson, has deep roots in the Electric City. His grandmother was fondly known as “Momma Kay” around town, and his great-grandfather ran a streetcar in the early 1900s.
Kay started working at Hill Electric when he was 18 and ended up buying the company in 1991. He has transitioned Hill Electric to a younger generation stating “I want to give the next generation the same opportunity I was given years ago”. This year celebrates the eight-year anniversary of another one of Steve’s labors of love, The Bleckley Inn, a boutique hotel downtown. While some naysayers thought that a downtown hotel would not be successful, look at the Bleckley Inn today. After the Bleckley Inn development, came the former Dixson’s ice cream property and then the building on the corner where J Peters restaurant is located.
With many businesspeople Steve’s Bleckley Inn brought into downtown for meetings and events, Steve quickly realized the need and importance of having an event venue downtown, and in 2016 he began construction on The Bleckley Station, a 16,000-square-foot event venue that we celebrate our event in today. Yes, 310 South Main Street has been part of the history of Anderson businesses and Steve Kay has ensured that this site will have many years of celebrations with this wonderful event space which was designed to honor the features of the old Penn Station in New York City. Steve also realizes the importance of art and has the pastel monster graffiti by renowned artist Patch Whiskey that was on the building adjacent to the lot saved in this wonderful facility for all to view.
When Steve is asked if he only considered Anderson to build or did he consider other cities in the Upstate, he states, “No. I grew up here. My grandmother used to come to town every Saturday. We would park in front of Woolworths and I would come with her and sit. Everyone in town would come to visit and talk to Momma Kay. I’ve known this city as a child, and this is where you came. Another town never crossed my mind.” We sure are glad that Anderson has always been top of mind for you, Steve. Steve has been quoted as saying, “Downtown is a destination. That’s changed, and that’s a good thing. Everyone is trying to do his or her part, and it’s starting to happen.”
Steve, you have definitely honored Anderson with all you have set in place to ensure we prosper and now it’s time for us to honor all that you have done to set the stage for Anderson’s vision and future success.
2018 Ambassador of the Year
The Ambassadors are a select group of dedicated volunteers who serve as the public relations arm and “face” of the Anderson Area Chamber. They assist the Chamber staff in welcoming new members into the Chamber, hosting ribbon cuttings, ground breaking ceremonies, and offering volunteer support for Chamber events. Our top 3 finalists for the 2018 Ambassador of the Year are Amy Whitney, BB&T, Lauren Lindsay, PIP Marketing, and Teresa Lott, Groundwork Solutions. The 2018 Ambassador of the Year award recipient has become a familiar face at the Chamber and is always more than willing to lend a hand when available...This individual is a native of South Carolina, a graduate from Winthrop University, Lander University, and Francis Marion University. She is the founder of Groundwork Solutions, and has been in the non-profit field for over 12 years with a range of experience from direct services to fund development and grant writing to executive management. She has dedicated her professional career to helping organizations provide accessible, quality services to underserved individuals and communities. She has a passion for working with organizations, communities and individuals that are interested in developing innovative solutions to address unmet needs. In addition to serving her clients, this Ambassador has put in countless hours attending ribbon cuttings, recruiting new membership, and attending Chamber events to show her dedication and support. Her commitment helps to strengthen our Ambassador program and the Anderson Area Chamber as a whole.
As fate would have it, our 2018 Ambassador of the Year, Teresa Lott, is unable to join us today to accept this award as she is serving her clients in North Carolina.
This award will be held and given to her at our February 7th Toast ‘N Topics.
2018 Non-Profit Director of the Year
This year’s Non-Profit Director of the Year award recipient serves as the President of The Lot Project.
The LOT Project exists in Anderson, SC to provide a platform for the body of Christ to love, pursue, and provide for the least of these both spiritually and physically. Since 2009, they have been giving away almost 70,000 meals and 170,000 articles of clothing to the most vulnerable in Downtown Anderson. Providing for a person’s basic needs physically is a necessity when trying to reach their hearts spiritually. Through tangible support, a foundation is built that fosters relationships with those who come seeking a helping hand and a warm meal. Within these relationships, the second part of their mission is possible: to provide spiritually.
Andy Gibson is originally from Wabash, IN. He earned his Bachelor's and MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University before relocating to Anderson in 2009 to help start the LOT Project. The LOT Project originally began as an effort to shuttle underprivileged youth to and from church. Under Andy's leadership, The LOT Project become a registered 501c3 nonprofit and has since grown into an organization that feeds and clothes hundreds of people in need every year. Through Andy's passion to revive and restore the mill neighborhoods near downtown, the LOT Project is working to expand its services deeper into the Alphabet Streets as they explore new ways to share love, build community, and give hope to the Least of These.