Former Burleson Police Chief Tom Cowan was named 2013 Citizen of the Year on Thursday at the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards luncheon.
Cowan, who retired from the Burleson department at the end of January to take over as chief of police in Joshua, said the award caught him completely off guard.
“I am very privileged” to be named Citizen of the Year, Cowan said, adding that Burleson is “a wonderful community and I have loved being part of it.”
Cowan said last year when he announced he was taking the job in Joshua that he and his wife would continue to live in Burleson.
Crazy 8 Ministries, led by founder and CEO Laura Schwarz, was named 2013 Civic Organization of the Year and Sara Shea Pryor Dicke of Serendipity hair salon in Old Town Burleson won the Marzie Bartee Volunteer of the Year award.
Megan Holloway, outpatient dietitian with Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South became the newest member of the exclusive Athena Leadership Award winners club. Texas Health Huguley sponsored the Athena award.
The chamber’s Power of Heels group, which focuses on empowering women in business, named Devohn Pugh with Your New Neighborhood as the Power of Heels Woman of the Year.
The Ambassador Team of the Year award went to Team 1, which included Nikki Skalsky with Keller Williams Reality, Melissa McCoy with Burleson NOW Magazine, Debbie Arney with American National Bank of Texas and Lori Moore.
Debbie Arney also won the Ambassador of the Year award and Ruth Moor with Regency Office and Promotional Products won the A Cut Above award.
Allison Bradham, chamber board chair for 2012-2013, received the Chairman’s Award from 2013-14 Chair Lisa Keese.
Chamber President Sheri Secrist and Jeff Dudley with Charter Business presented the STAR Small Business of the Year Awards to winners in three categories. The STAR awards recognize outstanding local small businesses that excel in financial stability, community involvment, employee practices, customer relations and entrepreneurship. Winners are chosen by third-party judges.
The Rising Star Award for a new business — a new start-up company less than three years old that is not a franchise or a buy-out of an existing company — went to Dr. Ross Hamilton with iKids Pediatric Dentistry. Dorcas Willis’ Top Producers Real Estate won the Shooting Star award for a business with less than 10 employees. And the Shining Star Award, for a business with 11-50 employees, went to Bennett Building Systems.
Charter Business was sponsor for the Star Awards.
Craig Couch of Couch and Russell Financial Group, which was title sponsor for the awards luncheon, spoke of the “amazing growth spiral” now happening in Burleson, saying that it is “a great time to be in business in Burleson. ... It’s only getting better in the days ahead.”
Couch also offered his listeners tips on what he called “Three Traits of Great Companies,” saying that his list came from traits common to successful companies listed among the best of the best.
Great businesses, Couch said, first and foremost are companies that “know how to have fun.”
“Fun is really, really simple,” he said, urging business owners to find creative ways to “engage your employees.”
Great businesses are also businesses that have a mission, Couch said. “They understand that what they are doing makes a difference in people’s lives. They know that there is something bigger than themselves, something bigger than their purpose, in what they are doing,” he said.
And the final trait of a great business, Couch said, is that “everyone has a voice and they know their voice counts. Every person in that company knows that what they have to say is important, that it has merit.
“Guess what wasn’t on the list. That’s right, money. Money wasn’t on the list,” he continued. “That’s because you can’t pay someone enough to be unhappy. But if you get the other stuff right, the money will come.”
Couch warned that businesses can’t make huge, sweeping changes all at once. But, he said, they can start making the incremental changes that will lead to greatness.