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Chamber hosts 105th annual meeting and awards ceremony
Mid-Size Business Award
The ALPHA Center was named Mid Sized Business of the Year. Shown from left are Chamber First Vice President Dennis Ray; Paul Napper, director of the ALPHA Center; Tara Williams of AllSouth Credit Union; and Amy Kinard, chamber board president. - photo by Jim Tatum

A packed house honored Richard “Dick” Lackey with a standing ovation as he received the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Award during the chamber’s 105th Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony.

Lackey was one of several individuals honored during the event, held Friday night at the Robert Mills Courthouse. A Mardi Gras Gala outside followed the awards ceremony.

“The President’s Award is the highest honor given by our organization,” Chamber Executive Director Liz Horton said. “It is given annually to an individual or individuals who have contributed significantly to Kershaw County for an extended period of time or have made significant contributions to the betterment of the community and a long-term commitment to improving Kershaw County and making it a better place for all our citizens and visitors.”

Chamber Board President Amy Kinard said Lackey exemplifies such work, with a successful engineering career as well as a long history of community service.

Lackey first came to Kershaw County as a DuPont engineer in 1965. He would be part of many important projects and teams with the company for the next 36 years, Kinard said. In the 1990s, he was named co-chair of the DuPont World Wide Nylon Polymer Technology Committee and visited every DuPont Nylon facility worldwide to study the technical needs of the nylon enterprise. He also organized a team from all areas of the nylon industry to develop the design of a modernized nylon autoclave; this would be installed in all DuPont sites. He would retire in 1996 and continue to work with the company as a consultant until 2001.

Lackey received the DuPont Engineering Excellence Award in 2000 as a member of a team that developed a modernized nylon pelletizer for the Camden plant.

Lackey served on many boards, commissions and organizations as well, starting with the Camden/Kershaw County Recreation Commission in 1975, Kinard said. He served with a committee to develop a future vision for the Kershaw County School District in the 1990s; he would serve as chairman of the school board’s curriculum subcommittee and would later oversee the construction designs and work with contractors to ensure quality and cost control with the district’s $102 million dollar Phase 1 facilities equalization plan. His work allowed all projects to be completed under budget, which provided funds for additional work at other existing schools, Kinard said.

Lackey has also been a member of the Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, First Baptist Church of Camden, Camband Club, Committee of 100 and American Legion Post 17 -- for which he served as commander as well as leader of the post’s annual oratorical contest -- and worked with the selection committee for Boys State. He also recently established the Lackey Family Endowment in Engineering and Science at Clemson University, his alma mater, Kinard said.

“He has touched every aspect of community involvement including education, workforce development, recreation, economic development, philanthropy and much more,” Kinard said. “Even though he has been a part of Kershaw County’s exponential growth over the past 45 years, he has never wanted acknowledgement for his hard work because his passion to see Kershaw County thrive was done as a selfless act of devotion to his community. He is one of the ‘silent’ achievers Kershaw County citizens respect and admire.”

The chamber also recognized Clay Davenport, a business development officer with AllSouth Federal Credit Union, with the William F. Nettles Award, which recognizes a non-board member of the chamber who has done the most to further the programs of the Chamber.

In addition, the chamber recognized Belk of Camden and Mid Carolina Credit Union with Business Partner of the Year awards for their support of Kershaw County schools. The chamber also presented the Small Business of the Year Award to Upchurch & Jowers Insurance Agency; Mid-Size Business of the Year Award to the ALPHA Center; and Large Business of the Year Award to Haier America R&D Company.

After the award presentations, Horton recognized several individuals the community lost in 2015, including Walter Spradley, Dr. Bill Biggins, Dr. Stephen Wangensteen, Gene and Clara Richardson, Jim and Pat Watts, Clyde Jones, Mike Rush and John Rainey.

 Horton also recognized outgoing board members and delivered the chamber’s first ever annual report, made available to all members.