Home » Business community, regional leaders gather for Commerce Lexington Annual Dinner

Business community, regional leaders gather for Commerce Lexington Annual Dinner

LEXINGTON, Ky. — About 1,000 business professionals, community and regional leaders, and elected officials attended the 2019 Commerce Lexington Inc. Annual Dinner presented by Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance at Lexington Center on Thursday.

This event looked back at 2018, highlighted some of the key goals of the organization, and recognized Commerce Lexington’s most involved members, volunteers and community leaders.

Commerce Lexington Inc.’s 2019 Board Chair Jeff Koonce, market president for WesBanco Bank, said, “I am a firm believer in the power of collaboration and working together to achieve greatness. That’s why you’ll hear me talk about ‘Constructing Bridges’ throughout my time as board chair. Building strong bridges, or in this case relationships, across the Bluegrass helps us to understand each other’s differences and find common ground.”

During the Annual Dinner, several awards were presented to recognize outstanding community leaders and volunteers.

Greg Brown


Ambassador of the Year Award

Greg Brown, C-Forward

Commerce Lexington’s Ambassador Committee is a key connection between the staff and the member businesses, ensuring that they are getting the most out their membership. Four finalists for the award are named based on a point system of their involvement during the year, and then a staff committee selects the Ambassador of the Year based on their effectiveness and contributions to the committee.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Camden Skidmore, WesBanco Bank

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to the person who best demonstrates the volunteer spirit, in both their participation and the effectiveness and outcome of their effort. Camden Skidmore has been an effective volunteer for Commerce Lexington for a number of years not only as an advocate for our leadership development programs, but also through his participation in our annual fundraising campaign called The Winner’s Circle.

Public Policy Advocates of the Year Award

Rob & Diane Perez, DV8 Kitchen

The Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on public policy in a priority area for the business community. Opening the DV8 Kitchen on South Broadway, Rob and Diane Perez not only developed an employment model that offers jobs to people recovering from substance abuse, but also addresses a key policy priority for Commerce Lexington.

Leadership Lexington Distinguished Leader Award

Tawanda Owsley, American Red Cross Bluegrass Chapter

Tawanda Owsley was a great asset to last year’s Leadership Lexington program, constantly challenging the class with her thought-provoking questions and comments and going out of her way to make others feel involved. She was also part of the #LexGiveBack group project, a week-long community service project encouraging acts of compassion and kindness.

Leadership Lexington Youth Program Distinguished Leader Award

Una Mijatovic, Lafayette High School

The Leadership Lexington Youth Distinguished Leader Award recognizes the class member who demonstrates strong principles and dedication to the concept of community service. Now a senior at Lafayette High School, Una Mijatovic showed strong leadership qualities, as well as a desire to learn and contribute to the Lexington community.

W.T. Young Lifetime Achievement Award

Luther Deaton, Jr., Central Bank & Trust Co.

Central Bank & Trust Co. President & CEO, Luther Deaton, Jr., has built a legacy as a successful banker, strong community leader, mentor and caring father.  For many years, he has been a great resource, advocate and supporter of Commerce Lexington. Deaton has a fierce commitment and great passion to improve the quality of life in Lexington and across Kentucky.  Luther has served on numerous boards, while Central Bank supports many causes and organizations, and encourages its employees to participate throughout the community.