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Wayne Neal business award presented to Cottey College

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It is appropriate for one of the Pacesetter Awards recently presented at the Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce awards luncheon to be named in honor of the late Wayne Neal. He served as city manager and had a major impact on the community.

Although any of the businesses nominated for this award were deserving of the special recognition, chamber of commerce members selected Cottey College as the 2009 recipient. Dr. Ron Schowengerdt presented the award to Cathryn Pridal, vice president of academic affairs, who represented Cottey College at the event.

Cottey College has been a proud member of the Nevada community for 125 years. Virginia Alice Cottey started the school in 1884 to offer young women of the day an education equal to that available to young men. Over 8,000 students have since attended Cottey College.

Although many things have changed during this time, the commitment to women's education has not. Today, Cottey College is an important economic partner with Nevada, and is looking to grow. The college recently announced its' first major fundraising campaign to build, enhance and hire staff.

In addition, Cottey College will offer a few upper division courses during the 2010 fall semester, with the goal of expanding into selected baccalaureate programs pending approval by its' accrediting agency. It has been a wonderful past for Cottey College and Nevada, but an even brighter future lies ahead.

Floors and More was selected as one of the finalists. In March, 1996, George Hold became a part of refurbishing Nevada's Historic East End when he opened his first store. He moved to his current location at 1705 N. Osage in 2002 when he had outgrown his original location. He joined the Nevada Lions Club and takes his membership very seriously. George became a member of the chamber of commerce shortly after opening his business and became a board member in 2002. He has served the Vernon County and surrounding area for over a decade.

George offers friendly service and goes to great lengths to satisfy his customers. Floors and More is always there to offer a helping hand, no matter what the circumstance.

Another finalist for the Wayne Neal Business Award was the Renwick Insurance Agency. The business was started in 1926 by F. W. Renwick Sr., and weathered the stock market crash in 1929 and today is still providing needed insurance for Nevadans. This cornerstone of the insurance industry is currently operated by its' third generation of Renwicks. F. W. Renwick Jr., joined the family business in 1950 and in 1969 Butch Renwick joined the firm. This is a business that has believed in Nevada for nearly 100 years. They support the Vernon County 4-H program and offer their visible windows on the square for community activities.

The third finalist for the award is locally owned and operated Rinehart Jewelry, which has been in Nevada for three generations. Founded by Jim and Helen Rinehart and continued by their daughter Kathy and her husband Sonny Butler, and now their daughter Jennifer Zermeno has joined the family business. Through the years they have been active members of the First Christian Church and focus on benefiting Nevada by serving in several local service organizations including serving on boards and committees of the chamber of commerce, Rotary, the NRTC Advisory Committee, Ladies Golf Association, NHS Booster Club, Nevada Little League Baseball, Nevada Griffons, and NHS class reunions of 1939, '75, '77 and '99!

Although a small employer, Rinehart Jewelry has employed and helped train several key employees, including approximately 30 high school and DECA students through the years. They have helped support many local school events and charities. Rinehart Jewelry is a member of the American Gem Society, which requires a reputation of proven ethics and of customer protection.

The last of the finalist is the W. F. Norman Corporation. As one of Missouri's oldest continuously operating manufacturing companies, the W. F. Norman Corporation began operation in Nevada 111 years ago in 1898. The company is still able to offer tin ceiling tiles from the original molds.

The company is named after its' founder, W. F. Norman, and was owned and run by him with his sons. Franklin Norman sold the company in 1978 to a new family; the Quitno's who continue to keep the business operating as a family business to this day.

This manufacturing plant has been a stable source of employment in Nevada through many times of economic downturns. While most of W. F. Norman's shipments are made to the lower 48 states, there are even shipments to foreign countries.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large