Bossier Chamber of Commerce holds 73rd Annual Gala

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Randy Brown, Bossier Press-Tribune

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce held it’s 73rd Annual Gala (Annual Meeting) in the form of a luncheon event at the Bossier Civic Center on Thursday April 22, 2021. There were approximately 300 people in attendance for the event. Chamber members and interested parties also had the option of viewing the event virtually.

Bossier Chamber Commerce President and CEO Lisa Johnson kicked off the festivities by welcoming guests, thanking them for attending and telling them how exciting it is to see everyone in person again. Guests were asked to get their phones out to take a picture “selfie” and post it on Twitter with a hashtag (#) promoting that it is time to get “Back To The Future.” Colonel Jeff Beene from the Bossier Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee gave the Pledge of Allegiance. And, Bossier Chamber of Commerce Immediate Past Chairman Patrick Gullatt gave the Invocation, as well as a welcome message to those in attendance.

In further remarks, Johnson also talked about the countless challenges that both the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses faced in 2020. She talked about how the Bossier Chamber had reached out to its members by “over communicating” during the past 12 months. And, she expressed optimism in relation to the bright outlook for the future moving forward in 2021.

Bossier Chamber of Commerce Chairman Barry Regula presented a special recognition award to Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker for a lifetime of dedicated service to his community. Regula, also presented the Chairman’s Award for Regional Impact to LSU Health Shreveport for their tireless work during the pandemic. And, Regula recognized Beth Waldrop of Jean Simpson Personnel Services as the 2020 Bossier Chamber Diplomat Of The Year. The Diplomat Service Award was presented to Jill Valentine of Bossier Federal Credit Union.

Next, Johnson introduced the finalists for both Business Person Of The Year and Business Of The Year. For Business Person Of The Year, the finalists were: Joe Arnold, CEO, Carter Credit Union; Hardy Foreman, Partner, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, L.L.C. and Jessica Watkins, Business Relationship Manager, Aneca Federal Credit Union. Joe Arnold was announced as the Bossier Chamber’s Business Person Of The Year. For Business Of The Year, the finalists were: Bossier Parish Schools, Brookshire Grocery Company, Carter Credit Union, Lifeshare Blood Center and LSU Health Shreveport. There was a tie among the finalists. So, both Bossier Parish Schools and Brookshire Grocery Company were announced as the Bossier Chamber’s Businesses Of The Year.

Following these award recognitions, Bossier Chamber of Commerce Chairman Barry Regula returned to the podium to give his address as both the 2020 outgoing chairman and also as the 2021 incoming chairman. Regula also recognized the Bossier Chamber’s Board of Directors for both 2020 and 2021 (including Committee Chairs and the Executive Committees). Retiring directors were also recognized. The event concluded with Regula declaring a “restart” to the decade.

The theme for this year’s Bossier Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala event was “Back To The Future 2021” signifying that it is time for area businesses to turn their focus Back to the Future. The Annual Gala was presented by Barksdale Federal Credit Union. In keeping with the Back To The Future theme, the Bossier Civic Center was well adorned with “Back To The Future” themed decorations (including several grandfather clocks) to the point where guests seemed to be expecting Marty McFly and “Doc” (Emmett Brown) to suddenly and unexpectedly appear at any given moment. Guests were treated to lunch from Silver Star Smokehouse in Bossier City.

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce currently serves 720 members, the majority of which are in the Bossier City and Shreveport market area. However, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce also has members in other cities/towns throughout Louisiana and in the states of: Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and North Carolina. Bossier Chamber of Commerce members have access to more than 40 events per year, including a variety of business building opportunities that are crafted to establish relevant connections.

For more information, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce can be reached at: 318-746-0252 or www.bossierchamber.com

Photos: Chris Sepeda, Bossier Press-Tribune