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RAI Properties, Dougherty honored at annual banquet

By Staff | Jul 7, 2014

The 55th Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet was held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. The event recognized many new business members of the local Chamber as well as some who have expanded over the past year. There were 24 new businesses as well as 25 existing or expanding businesses who joined the ranks of Chamber membership this year.

The evening, led by outgoing Chamber President Pat Hubbard, saw keynote speaker Natalie Tennant, West Virginia Secretary of State, address the audience with remarks on West Virginia’s economy and business-friendliness. She touted the efforts made within her office during her tenure to make the business climate more welcoming and to provide needed accessibility and information to existing and potential businesses.

Tennant spoke about the Business Industry Growth Map, provided by her office, which tracks county’s rankings of new businesses, closed businesses and other growth categories. The BIG Map shows that Jefferson County is ranked sixth in the state in business growth at 5.83 percent with 148 new businesses.

The Chamber also took the opportunity Monday evening to present the George E. Vickers Business Award which was given to RAI Properties, LLC, doing business as Burr Plaza.

On hand to accept the award was managing member Jim Ruland.

“I am enormously proud to receive this recognition on behalf of RAI,” Ruland said.

The community construction property management company has been in existence for 10 years and offers more than 95,000 square feet of office and business space at Burr Plaza. Twenty-eight businesses employing over 300 individuals are now in place at that location.

Also recognized at Monday’s banquet was Sheriff Pete Dougherty, who was named the Distinguished Citizen of the Year. Dougherty, who was joined Monday evening by his wife, Jan, was humbled by the recognition, he said. A long list of Dougherty’s accomplishments both professionally and community-based were shared with audience members before he received a standing ovation.

Doughtery’s words of acceptance had many applauding him beyond the ovation as they consisted of “No speech.”

The Dougherty’s attended the banquet Monday evening while celebrating their wedding anniversary. ‘

“We enjoyed dinner at the Final Cut last night,” Jan Dougherty shared, as they knew they would attend the banquet Monday.

New officers for the Chamber were announced at the annual banquet as Pat Hubbard passed the torch of leadership to incoming President Andrew Skinner. Other officers announced included Amy Panzarella,1st vice president and Jeannie Hamilton, second vice president and treasurer.