Capping the recognitions extended during Thursday evening’s Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, Bob McGinnis was honored as Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

Each year, previous recipients of the award vote on the newest recipient, with McGinnis honored as the 2010 recipient for his many years of service above self to the community.

2009 recipient Mark Singleton said he was presenting the award to a “native Waxahachie citizen who had an outstanding career in business and upon retirement returned to his hometown. He has devoted much of his time to activities beneficial to our city and making Waxahachie a more desirable community it is today.”

McGinnis graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1945 and after his college years was employed by Sears Roebuck as a management trainee. He went on to manage stores in several states, with his last store before retirement – Austin, Texas – recognized as the biggest store in volume in the state.

Returning to Waxahachie in the 1980s, McGinnis continued to “work at many of the ‘non-pay’ jobs our community offers,” Singleton said, noting the recipient was elected to the city council in 1990 and has served with numerous other organizations and boards through the years.

“I love Waxahachie, first of all. It’s my most favorite city,” McGinnis said in accepting the award and thanking the previous winners for their bestowing the community’s top honor on him. “I really, really appreciate it. I’d do anything I could for Waxahachie. I’m awfully happy to accept this award.”

Speaking to 2011

In his remarks prior to the presentation of Outstanding Citizen of the Year, incoming chamber board chairman Neal White praised the previous recipients, describing them as his mentors and role models.

“I’m here because of you. I’ve learned from you,” he said. “You’ve set the bar high – you’ve set the example for all of us.”

Later, in his closing remarks, White emphasized the chamber’s mission, encouraging people to become involved.

“The chamber is here working for you,” he said. “We can help you grow your business. We can help you create jobs. Our executive committee and our chamber staff are working to help fulfill that mission.”

White pointed to the chamber’s latest initiative, an economic development committee spearheaded by Mike Ramsey, as an example of new ideas being put into place.

“Stay tuned for some very exciting things coming out of this committee,” he said. “All of this is designed to help you grow. It’s all designed to help you succeed.”

Saying his efforts would build on those by his predecessors as chairman – Keith Wolverton (2009) and Joe Gallo (2010) – White said the chamber board and staff function as a team and with an open door.

“We want all of you to get involved. There is a seat at the table,” he said, adding, “This year is going to be a banner year for the chamber of commerce. I’m looking forward to serving you.”

Extending his appreciation to Project Graduation for its service as valets and banquet staff and to Mary Alice Warrington for her service as banquet chairman, White also praised the chamber staff members.

“I want to thank them,” he said. “You have no idea how hard the chamber staff works.”

Chamber president and CEO Debra Wakeland then introduced her staff, saying, “We love what we do. We are here for you and, if you have any ideas, please come talk to us.”

The evening’s

honorees also included:

• Ambassador’s Award – presented by Fercina Fudge, with Debbie DeMont, who was unable to attend, named as recipient. Fudge spoke of DeMont’s volunteer work on behalf of the chamber, including serving as a photographer and assisting with the marketing the organization.

• Mabel Frame Award – presented by Hilda Chapman to Bonney Ramsey. Chapman spoke of Ramsey’s tourism-related efforts, including serving as chairman of the Crape Myrtle Festival.

“It is so much fun working with the chamber,” Ramsey said. “It is truly my joy – I am truly honored to receive this award.”

• Leadership Waxahachie Award – presented by Paul Hernandez to Michael Scott.

“Awards like this aren’t possible without being surrounded by good people. With that said, I thank you for this very much,” Scott said.

• Marvin E. Singleton Jr. Environmental Beautification Award – presented by Mark Singleton to Colonial Restoration, owner Brad Yates accepting.

“The great majority of us in this room live in Waxahachie because we cannot imagine living anywhere else,” Singleton said. “There is something about our community that is special, something you cannot find anywhere from Denton to Duncanville. We have a very special ‘it factor’ (and) this year’s recipient is part of that ‘it factor.’ ”

Describing Yates as “the heart and spirit and craftsmanship behind Colonial Restoration,” Singleton noted that Yates and his wife Lorinda bought and renovated their first home in 1994, with that leading to another home restoration.

“Those homes may have energized him because he has helped renovate a few additional homes around town over the years,” Singleton said. “That’s why I think he would tell you the ‘it factor’ is the charm and character and charisma of the historically significant homes in our community.

“Did I say (Yates) has only helped renovate a few homes in Waxahachie? Well, that few is only relative to the fact that he plans to renovate many, many more,” Singleton said. “In the past 16 years, he and his company have renovated, restored and resurrected more than 150 properties.”

• Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award – presented by Mary Alice Warrington to Hope Clinic, Dr. Bobby Haney accepting on behalf of CEO Dr. Mackie Owens, who was unable to attend.

Warrington spoke of the clinic’s history and how it has expanded its services through the years, with the most recent addition including health care offered to Medicaid and Medicare patients.

“This clinic is fulfilling its mission of serving its clientele,” Warrington said.

• Small Business of the Year Award – presented by Michael Scott to College Street Printing, owner Kenneth Denny accepting.

Scott noted College Street Printing’s longevity, having opened its doors in 1887. Under Denny’s ownership for the past 20 years, the business has demonstrated an ability to change with the times, Scott said, noting also the company’s community involvement.

“People will buy quality, no matter the economy,”  Denny said, saying the past two years for his business had been “the best” in its history.

“I accept this award, but I do give all the glory to God. Thank you so much,” Denny said.

• Business of the Year Award – presented by Debra Wakeland to Scarborough Renaissance Festival, with general manager Coy Sevier accepting.

“Tonight’s winner of the Business of the Year Award has been a very active member of the chamber since March of 1981 … volunteering in many aspects of the chamber,” Wakeland said. “They are in the entertainment business, starting their first run in 1981 and are located on a 165-acre site with 21 stages and 150 cast members and an average yearly attendance of 200,000.”

“Going into our 31st year, we cannot do it without the chamber, all of the businesses, all of the friends we have,” Sevier said.

• Industry of the Year Award – presented by Paul Stevens to Oncor Electric Delivery, with area manager Paul Hernandez accepting.

“When you hear who Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce’s industry of the year for 2010 is, you won’t be shocked,” Stevens said in his remarks, which played on the identity of the recipient. “To shed a little light on this industry, they not only have a powerful presence here in Waxahachie and Ellis County, but they provide service to well over 7 million Texans. …

“I am really wired about the fact that our industry is a major job contributor, a large taxpayer and major community participant here in Waxahachie,” Stevens said, concluding, “The local face of our industry has an electric personality and a boundless commitment to Waxahachie. Since I haven’t given you any clues as to who our industry of the year is and you are probably still in the dark, without further adieu, the 2010 Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce Industry of the Year is Oncor Electric Delivery.”

“Paul, thank you for that electrifying introduction,” Hernandez said in accepting the award on Oncor’s behalf.

• Chair’s Special Award – presented by Joe Gallo to Rodney Kent. Gallo remarked on Kent’s outstanding effort presented in volunteerism to the chamber, including assisting with setup and cleanup at “every single event” during the year along with other assistance, such as serving as a float driver for the Mardi Gras parade.

“He is our unsung hero,” Gallo said. “He is the person who is always there for the chamber. He’s always there to volunteer.”


The annual banquet marks the transition for the position of chamber board chairman, with 2010 chairman Joe Gallo passing the gavel to 2011 chairman Neal White, who presented his predecessor with a desk set for his service.

Recognitions also were extended to retiring advisory member Joe Grubbs and outgoing board members Jamie Nay and Keith Wolverton, along with the current executive committee – Neal White, chairman; Michael Scott, chairman-elect; Leslie Majors, vice chairman; Richard Rozier, vice chairman; Mary Alice Warrington, vice chairman; secretary/treasurer Brian Ford; and past chairman Joe Gallo.

The remaining chamber board members and committee chairmen also were introduced and honored, as were the banquet sponsors: Platinum level – First State Bank of Rice, Waxahachie; Hampton Inn & Suites; Kevin Chester and Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson LLP; ShowBiz Cinemas; Southwest Securities FSB; Ta Molly’s Mexican Restaurant; and Vintage Bank of Waxahachie. Gold level – Oncor Electric Delivery, Southwestern Assemblies of God University and TXU Energy. Silver level – Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie, Bell Insurance Agency, Citizens National Bank of Texas, Country Lane Retirement Community, Hometown Chiropractic and Scarborough Renaissance Festival. In-kind sponsors – Ellis County Living Magazine, KBEC 1390 AM and Waxahachie Daily Light.

Contact JoAnn at or 469-517-1452.