Sherman’s business community gathered together Friday to hear a motivational presentation from former NFL player and U.S. Olympic bobsledder Johnny Quinn. The event was held at Austin College and drew more than 300 attendees from local businesses, government offices, schools and non-profits for the Sherman Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards luncheon.

This year’s luncheon featured six main awards highlighting the work of Sherman’s economic movers and shakers.

“We know that all the leaders like you, and everybody in this room, are a big reason for all of our recent success,” Sherman Mayor David Plyler said of the award winners. “Your work employs thousands of people, breathes life into our many fantastic nonprofits and gives your government the fuel it needs to keep improving our city.”

Sherman Chamber of Commerce President Eddie Brown led Friday’s banquet and reviewed the chamber’s activities and endeavors from the last year. Outgoing board chair Jennifer Thompson and board members Clay Mahone, David Gunn, Bruce Maxwell and Dave Hilton were all recognized for their service. And, Brown told the crowd of growing membership within the chamber and it’s professional development program, Leadership Sherman.

“In 2019, we added, in a single year, more new members than we’ve added in the last 25 years,” Brown said. “I think that’s part of the hard work that we all do in our community and the great road that we’ve been on.”

Financial advisor and volunteer Asa Jessee was named Community Leader of the Year for his efforts.

“I love serving this community,” Jessee said. “I love the boards that I’m on and the organizations I represent. I wish I could do more because there are so many worthy causes out there.

Small Business of the Year was awarded to local print shop FastSigns and Tyson Foods, Inc. was named Large Business of the Year.

“It’s my honor to stand up here on behalf of the more than 1,700 team members that we have at this plant, as well as our friends and our family, and accept this,” Tyson Complex and Human Resources Manager John Kyker said. “We really do take a lot of pride in our community and we’re proud to be here and to participate.”

Joey Morneau was named Ambassador of the Year and Ashton Ghaemi of the Sherman Economic Development Council was selected as the chamber’s first Volunteer of the Year.

And finally, The Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma was named Nonprofit of the Year.

“We’re so grateful so thankful and so blessed to serve this community and have your support,” Executive Director Brenda Hayward. “It means the world.”

Drew Smith is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at