One of the best parts about the Lowcountry is the strong sense of community here. From neighborhoods and plantations to whole cities and beyond, members of the Lowcountry community are proud to share that common ground.
Within that community is another — the local business community. We recently had the honor and privilege to help celebrate some of those businesses at the annual Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Masquerade Ball at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. As the event’s presenting sponsor, we were proud to support the chamber on a night when they recognized businesses and individuals for their tremendous work over the year.
Chris McCorkendale, our Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development, spoke to the crowd to get things started and presented the night’s first award. Chris talked about how the business community comes together when the Lowcountry needs it the most.
“We’re all connected here tonight by our passion for and commitment to the Lowcountry,” McCorkendale told the crowd of nearly 550 people. “That commitment was on display when Hurricane Matthew hit last October. Hargray, like many others here tonight, rallied to get the region back on its feet quickly not for the sake of business, but for the sake of our friends, family and neighbors.”
Chris then presented the Bluffton Regional Business Council’s Member of the ear award to eviCore. One of the largest employers in Beaufort County, eviCore is investing $1.6 million and creating 35 new jobs at its headquarters in Buckwalter Place.
The John Curry Tourism Award was presented to Stephen Riley, Hilton Head Island Town Manager, for his leadership following Hurricane Matthew to quickly get the island back on its feet and open for business.
David Lauderdale, a columnist and senior editor at the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette, received the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award. He’s been a unique advocate for the region during his 40 years in newspapers, telling the great stories behind the stores, shops, and brands that add to the Lowcountry experience.
Outstanding Organization of the Year Award went to the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, one of the country’s signature spectacles of automotive history. This past year, Hurricane Matthew threatened to knock the event off track, but those involved persevered to bring it to life despite the odds. This was another event Hargray is so proud to support each year.
Other Award Recipients at the Chamber Ball were:
- Small Business of the Year – Outside Hilton Head (outdoor sports, education, and adventures)
- Start-Up of the Year – group46 (marketing and public relations agency)
- Sue West Educator of the Year – Mary Baker (Hilton Head Island Elementary)
- Zonta Woman of the Year – Linda Warnock (Dunes Real Estate)
The event was a reminder of how the true bottom line in the Lowcountry — is the Lowcountry. Businesses here are out to do what’s best for the community that supports us. The Chamber connects businesses to people and builds a community that looks out for one another. It’s another reason we’re proud to do what we do where we do it.