Winners walked the red carpet Wednesday night, wearing their best attire. A crowd of 500 took seats among others voted by Forsyth County residents as the best at what they do, in categories spanning the spectrum — from nonprofits to new car dealerships; from pizza delivery to pet trainers; from real estate agents to roofing contractors.
Speaking over the whispers of winners and the tap and clink of forks on plates, Forsyth County News Publisher Stephanie Woody welcomed the large group to the Best of Forsyth Banquet at the Forsyth Conference Center – Lanier Technical College, sponsored by Forsyth County News.
She welcomed and congratulated winners in more than 200 categories.
The event also honored Northside Hospital Forsyth Administrator Lynn Jackson as recipient of the annual John Hall Leadership Award.
“I’ve known Lynn for about 15 years,” Hall said. “I had the pleasure of working with her [as former publisher] of Forsyth County News for 10 years, and she is a great leader. She is front and center … and she’s also in the background — never seeking any attention for what she goes about doing and making happen in this community.”
Hall said it was “incredible to be involved with this award. I thank y’all for also being involved with Forsyth County News … so many communities now don’t have a newspaper, and it’s wonderful that Forsyth does.”
Jackson said she felt “undeserving” of the accolade.
“I do think we’ve had some great winners tonight,” Jackson said. “Of course, I’m partial to our healthcare winners. I’m very proud of them.”
Added Jackson: “I appreciate this award; it means so much. Thank you.”
The event’s Exclusive Publisher’s Title Sponsor Hopewell Roofing & Restoration — which won the category of best roofing contractor — also was appreciative.
Andy Morrison, who owns the business, said it was “an honor. It’s great. We’re glad to be here, and we’re glad to be part of a community that supports us so much.”
Morrison said one of the positives of winning Best of Forsyth is that it “lets people know the folks who have used our services will vouch for us and say that we are the best at what we do. They had a lot of (other businesses to choose from) and they chose us, and that means a lot.”
Principal Mitch Young of Forsyth Central High School — winner in the best high school category — had similar sentiments of gratitude to share.
“This is a school that has been the pride of Cumming for more than 60 years, and in a day and age where folks tend to focus on test scores and game results, an award like this tells you how people feel about the school, and for our teachers and students it’s a big point of pride,” Young said.
Fellow Best of Forsyth Winner Liberated 4X4 — winner of the best off road dealership category —said customer service is key.
Business owners Bree Daniel and Jill Carroll agreed on that point.
“The winners are the people’s choice,” Carroll said. “It all goes back to customer service. It’s all about the relationships you build.”
Earline Sturges, clinical coordinator with North Atlanta Vascular and Vein — winner of the vein specialists category —said the importance of good customer service cannot be overstated.
“Caring and understanding are very important,” Sturges said.
Following Wednesday’s banquet, Woody again congratulated winners in all categories.
“This year’s Best of Forsyth banquet was a huge success,” Woody said. “Everybody had a wonderful time, and it was our most well-attended event to date.”
Added Woody: “A huge congratulations again to all of the winners and a big thank you to all of our sponsors. We hope 2018 is a successful year for all of you. We also hope to see many of you again next year.”