Ascension chamber hosts awards banquet

Advocate staff photo by Darlene Denstorff -- Ascension Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sherrie Despino, left, and Chamber Executive Committee Chairman Paul Claxton, right, gather Feb. 6 with the winners of awards announced at the group's annual banquet, second from left, Dr. John Fraiche, St. Elizabeth Physicians, large business of the year; Carol Pierce, ambassador of the year; Marc Pater and Ricky Bourgeois, Premier Lanes, new business of the year; Polly Whitfield, individual of the year; and Mike and Tim Waguespack, Waguespack and Associates Insurance, small business of the year.
Advocate staff photo by Darlene Denstorff -- Ascension Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sherrie Despino, left, and Chamber Executive Committee Chairman Paul Claxton, right, gather Feb. 6 with the winners of awards announced at the group's annual banquet, second from left, Dr. John Fraiche, St. Elizabeth Physicians, large business of the year; Carol Pierce, ambassador of the year; Marc Pater and Ricky Bourgeois, Premier Lanes, new business of the year; Polly Whitfield, individual of the year; and Mike and Tim Waguespack, Waguespack and Associates Insurance, small business of the year.

A business that has been in the community fewer than three months and another that has provided services for more than 20 years were among the winners Feb. 6 at the annual Ascension Chamber of Commerce’s awards banquet.

Recently opened Premier Lanes Entertainment Center won the chamber’s first New Business of the Year award.

Premier Lanes representatives Marc Pater and Ricky Bourgeois said the new bowling alley and entertainment complex opened in December to large crowds; and they are working on plans to open a movie theater next door in 2014.

The Creole-Ascension Online Newspaper and Cardinal Hospice also were nominated for the award.

The Small Business of the Year award went to Waguespack and Associates Insurance, which is owned by brothers Tim and Mike Waguespack.

Mike Waguespack praised the chamber for its assistance with promoting area businesses.

Kamal’s Kafe and Total Care and Injury and Pain Center were nominated for the small business honor.

Waguespack and Associates employee Polly Whitfield was named Individual of the Year. Charlotte Guedry, The Creole; Jenny Heroman, Eatel Corp.; and Jobie Templet, Air Products, were the other nominees.

The Large Business of the Year nominees were BASF, Cox Communications, St. Elizabeth Physicians and United Community Bank. Dr. John Fraiche accepted the award on behalf of St. Elizabeth Physicians.

The 2012 ambassadors in attendance were Scott Banker, Edwin Hightower, Frances Lewis, Cody Martin, Carol Pierce, Cheryl Rice and Whitfield. Pierce was named Ambassador of the Year.

Paul Claxton, chairman of the chamber’s executive committee, presented the awards during the banquet, which was held at Clarion Inn in Gonzales.