2021 Membership Meeting & Awards Celebration Recipients Announced

September 23, 2021

2021 Membership Meeting & Awards Celebration Recipients Announced

The Abilene Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Abilene Chamber Awards Celebration. The Annual Meeting that took place the evening of Sept. 23 is the Chamber’s annual celebration for the business community to reflect on the previous year, celebrate the year to come, and to honor those who have helped shape that future.

“As staff, we often hear others describe the Chamber as ‘doing all those things most people think just happen.’ We are thrilled tonight to recognize those who make those things happen. The doers. Our volunteers. The backbone of our organization,” said Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. “The Abilene Chamber has been driven by the leadership of its investors for 113 years, and it’s their hundreds of purposeful, incremental and strategic moves that helps to move our great community forward. For those reasons and so many more, we salute these recipients.”

This year’s recipients are:
Excellence in Agriculture – Texas A&M AgrLife Extension Office Taylor County; Redcoat of the Year – Ricardo Gutierrez, RGF Insurance Agency; Hispanic Business Council Champion – RGF Insurance Agency; Corporate Star Award – First Bank Texas; Leadership Abilene Award – Tim Farrar, United Supermarkets; Military Affairs Committee Award – Col. Michael Bob Starr; Nonprofit of the Year Award – Abilene Philharmonic Association; Young Professional of the Year – the late Mark Rogers; Chairman’s Award – Gary Grubbs, Lawrence Hall Abilene.

Get to know the award winners
Excellence in Agriculture Award
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office is the epitome of helping promote the agriculture industry and the Chamber’s Agriculture Committee’s mission. Through teaching and extending research-based knowledge to benefit our community, the Taylor County Extension Team provides innovative solutions at the intersection of agriculture, natural resources, youth and health. Congratulations, Taylor County Extension Team!

Redcoat of the Year
Ricardo Gutierrez is the proud owner of RGF Insurance Agency, and has been an active Chamber Redcoat Ambassador for the last four years. His fellow Redcoats describe Ricardo as supportive, genuine, and encouraging to all. Ricardo is actively engaged in the Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council, Business Mercado, and enjoys getting to know each Chamber member at their special events. Congratulations, Ricardo!

Corporate Star Award
Family owned and operated since 1880, First Bank Texas is a true community bank. As an Impact Investor the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, they offer support through various Chamber activities including the Military Affairs Committee, Abilene Industrial Foundation, Abilene Young Professionals and more. Open, caring and committed to providing each customer a wonderful experience, First Bank Texas is committed to ensuring their communities are supported and their customer needs are met. Congratulations, First Bank Texas!

Hispanic Business Council Champion Award
Finding the right policy doesn’t have to be complicated, and RGF Insurance Agency prides itself on comparing a wide range of policies so you find the right fit for your coverage needs. Woven into their business culture to give back, Ricardo and his team are active in celebrating Abilene businesses through the Chamber Redcoat Ambassadors, the Hispanic Business Council, Business Mercado, the Hispanic Leadership Council and more. Congratulations, RGF Insurance Agency!

Leadership Abilene Alumni Award
Tim Farrar, Store Director for United Supermarkets, is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Abilene. Tim has shown extreme dedication to the mission of Leadership Abilene by serving as the chair for Leadership Abilene the past three years and through a global pandemic. Tim supports the community through service to the Chamber’s leadership programs, Board of Directors, Business Council and is a newly selected Vice Chair of Mobility, 317th Airlift Wing Honorary Commander. Tim also serves the community through United Way of Abilene, Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels and many other nonprofits and organizations. Congratulations, Tim!

Military Affairs Committee Award
Retired Col Michael Bob Starr has served his country well having received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992 and retired with over 2,000 flight hours. Michael Bob’s commitment to Dyess and our Airmen can be seen through the program Abilene Home Away from that he helped found. Home Away from Home assists first-term Airmen at Dyess by pairing them with a local host family to help alleviate the anxiety of being far from home. Congratulations, Michael Bob!

Young Professional of the Year
This year’s Young Professional of the Year Award honored the late Mark Rogers. Mark was multi-talented. He started his professional career in broadcasting, and then went on to work for Hendrick Health as the Director of the Children’s Miracle Network and later as the Physician Recruiter. After leaving Hendrick, Mark returned to his alma mater and worked at Abilene Christian University as an Advancement Officer for several years. Mark left Abilene Christian University to take on the role of West Central Texas Market President for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lonestar.
Mark adored the Abilene community. He was always looking for ways to give back with his time and service. Mark served on the United Way of Abilene board for many years. He was also a member of Kiwanis. On Friday nights during the Fall you could turn on the radio and hear Mark’s unforgettable voice announcing for the Abilene High Eagle football team. Mark emulated all that this award hopes to honor – a young professional that is advancing in their field as well as making significant contributions to attract, retain and engage young professionals in Abilene.

Nonprofit of the Year Award
The Abilene Philharmonic is one of Abilene’s most established performing arts organizations. Its history traces back to 1950 when community supporters organized a musical group called the Abilene Symphony Orchestra with concerts held in the old Abilene High School, now the future Abilene Heritage Square. Their tenacity was shown throughout the pandemic by finding innovative ways to unleash the power of music through living room concerts, outdoor concert series and many more. Congratulations, Abilene Philharmonic Association!

Chairman’s Award
Gary Grubbs is the marketing and advertising manager for Lawrence Hall – Abilene, and has been affiliated with the Chamber through events and programs for many years. Gary has served on the Abilene Business Council, Military Affairs Executive Committee, is a past Chairman of the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau and Abilene Chamber of Commerce, is the current Chair of the Abilene Industrial Foundation, and is a proud Honorary Commander. Outside of the Chamber, Gary give back to the community through service to Love and Care Ministries, Parks and Recreation Board, Crimestoppers of Abilene and many more. Congratulations, Gary!

Since 1908, the Abilene Chamber has served as a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for developing and promoting the economy and quality of life. For more information on the Chamber and the 1,200 businesses it represents, visit www.abilenechamber.com




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