Area business leaders gathered over breakfast Thursday for the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce's Second Annual Business Achievement Awards ceremony at Cape Fear Community College. Louise McColl is Chamber of Commerce chair and a recipient of the established business award for her public relations firm in town. She admits deep-rooted companies like hers are feeling the economic pinch stating, “I think all of us are going into some tough times.” John S. Clark Construction received the emerging business award. Reps say while private construction projects have slowed, public contracts for school and community center construction have picked up. The regional impact award went to UNC-Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College, who both say despite budget cuts they're still able to provide quality services for students. Pulling together was the theme of this year's ceremony. Chamber member Jerry Brett works for East Carolina Bank. He said it's important for businesses to support each other. “We expect 2009 to be a very challenging year, but we are optimistic, hoping somewhere in 2009 around the latter part we start pulling out of this.” Mar-kraft Cabinets received the First Citizens customer service award. The late Wendell Daniels, a community activist, was given the Progress Energy Community Champion Award. He died recently of a massive heart attack. His wife Wilma Daniels accepted the award on his behalf.
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