Economic update, awards highlight banquet

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, March 29, 2012

When it comes to the national and state economic picture, the news is good – but not great.

That’s according to Dr. Scott Beaulier, the Adams-Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise and Executive Director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University.

Beaulier was the keynote speaker at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Annual Meeting on Thursday. He spoke about the state of the economy locally, statewide and globally.

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“The economic outlook is not great,” Beaulier said, noting that his words might not be easy to hear, but were true.  “At the national level, things are going to be good, not great.”

The reason? As the nation emerges from a recession, Beaulier only expects to see a two to three percent growth, in the economy for 2012. 

“Usually coming out of a recession, people are going gangbusters,” Beaulier said, adding that too many people were overleveraged going into this recession.

He congratulated area businesses on being able to keep their doors open through tough economic times.

“It’s actually amazing you can function,” Beaulier said. “It’s amazing that our economy still functions.”

Beaulier said that he feels the key to Pike County’s success is to attract and keep talented 30-somethings and their families. “We’re close to great, but not quite great-great,” Beaulier said.

Also at the meeting, Chamber Board President Adam Drinkwater gave the groups annual report. Drinkwater said the last year brought 48 new members to the chamber and there were 19 ribbon cuttings for opening or relocating businesses in Pike County

The group closed the banquet by handing out awards for outstanding businesses and individuals in Pike County. The winners were: Business of the Year, Glow; Best Service Business of the Year, Jones Medical Supply; Non-profit Organization of the Year, Johnson Center for the Arts; Outstanding Customer Service, Troy Bank & Trust; Industry of the Year, KW Plastics; Young Professional of the Year, Ashley Henderson; Business or Industry Most Giving to the Community, SARHA; Promising New Business, Wagon Wheel restaurant in Brundidge; Chamber Board Member of the Year, Sandy Gouge; Most Devoted Volunteer, Dan Smith; Behind the Scenes Award, Melissa Sanders; and Hospitality Industry Award, Courtyard Marriot.