The Levelland Chamber of Commerce held their annual recognition luncheon on Friday in the Sundown Room of South Plains College. They awarded several volunteer achievement award for the year.
They began by honoring the Young Emerging Leader of Levelland (YELL). This group was formally known as the Youth Chamber several years back. This is an exciting progressive youth leadership program that engages high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. This group meets once a month during the student’s lunch hour at the high school, the LISD sponsor is Shannon Copeland. The YELL group is at its largest ever with over 50 members. The YELL member of the year award this year went to Kailyn Whipple, Vice Chair of the group. In addition to recognizing Kaitlynn, they also recognized two members who have attended meeting faithfully since they were freshman. The group recognized Conde Rodriguez and Nathan Fletcher and thanked them for their service.
Tania Moody, owner and operator of KLVT Radio in Levelland was recognized as the Marigold of the year. Tania is the current president of the Marigold organization and has worked tirelessly to add important features to the meetings to help keep the group engaged in the community and to keep members apprised of community activities. Tania has also served on the Levelland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Levelland Main Street board and currently serves as president of the Levelland ISD Board of Trustees and serves on the Hockley County Endowment Board.
Adrian Mellberg, past chair of the Young Professionals was honored as the Young Professional of the Year. Mellberg is employed by South Plains College and shares her skills and talents with many organizations. Adrian and her husband Dusty, have two children, Brier, 11 and a daughter, age 9.
The educational professional award went to Shannon Copeland. Shannon serves as the District Testing Coordinator for Levelland ISD. She is very involved in the community and has provided instrumental leadership to the YELL group and has served as the liaison between the chamber and the school district. She is married to Kurt Copeland and they have two children, Cade, a graduate of Levelland High School and Kalan, a junior at Levelland High School. Copeland is also one of the Leadership Levelland participants this year and is a member of the Levelland Marigolds.
The Ag Professional of the year award went to Prentice Fred. He has been manager of the Long S Gin for 23 years and has been actively involved in several organizations including President of the Texas Independent Ginners Association and also received the Distinguished Service Award from that group in 2009. He is the current secretary for the board of directors for the Texas Cotton Ginners Association, has served on the Belt Wide Cotton Coop, Pro Cot Cotton Coop and Plains Cotton Ginners boards. He currently serves on the Plains Cotton Growers board and in 2012 was awarded the prestigious award of Cotton Ginner of the Year by the Texas Cotton Ginners Association. He has two sons, Scott of Levelland and Robin and his wife Sharon of Raleigh, NC. He has five grandkids and two great grandchildren.
Ken Williams was recognized as the Oil Professional of the Year. He is the co-owner and manager of G & C Contracting, a family owned business specializing in oil field corrosion mitigation. He is a graduate of Levelland High School and attended South Plains College. He transferred to Texas A & M University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science. He and his wife Leslie, have two daughters, Kimberly Davis of Houston and Kallie Williams of Lubbock and two grand children.
The Keep Levelland Beautiful Hero award went to Michelle Davis for her leadership in developing and recognizing residents and businesses that are doing an exceptional job of maintaining their property. Michelle also serves on the Chamber Board of Directors, Executive Committee, member of the Ag Committee, member of the noon Lions Club and serves as chair of the Levelland ISD LIFE Foundation.
Tushar Bhakta, was recognized as the Citizen of the Year. As the owner and manager of two local hotels, he also serves on the Chamber Board of Directors, tourism and lodging council, Levelland Economic Development Board of Directors and the Levelland Noon Lions Club.
Larry Davidson was recognized as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Davidson started his career with Energas in 1981 as a plant operator. Energas became Atmos energy in 1988 and Larry as held various positions through his 36 year career including service tech, senior service tech and finally Town Operator, a position he held for the last 20 years. He retired from that position last month. Larry served on the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Board and is past chair of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Larry and his wife Angie have one daughter Kendra and one granddaughter.
The Business of the Year award went to the Mallet Event Center. The first year for the Mallet Event Center was 2012, after it was built on a bond issue passed by Hockley County voters. In its first year the Mallet hosted approximately 30,000 guests and last year that number increased top over 46,000. Bookings continue to show a steady increase and over 70 of the Mallet events are repeat bookings. The facility continues to show growth in the number of events and people coming through their doors. The staff of the Mallet include LaRae Johnson, LaTyrle Sehon, Steffani Cantwell and Delores Flores.
LaDonna Gatlin was the guest speaker for the event. She is an active member of the National Speakers Association and has earned its highest designation as Certified Speaking Professional. In 2005, LaDonna was one of only five new inductees into the Speakers Hall of Fame. She is married to Tim Johnson and has two adult children and seven grandchildren.