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Newton Chamber honors Schulz with top award
Former county commissioner, businesswoman receives 2023 R.O. Arnold Award
Nancy Schulz
A surprised Nancy Schulz speaks to the crowd after receiving the 2023 R.O. Arnold Award from Chamber Board member Barbara Morgan Thursday, March 9, during the Newton Chamber's annual meeting at Emory Oxford College. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Businesswoman, civic leader and former county commissioner Nancy Schulz received the Newton Chamber of Commerce's 2022 R.O. Arnold Award Thursday, March 9.

Schulz, who has stayed active in the community since leaving the Board of Commissioners in 2020, said she was surprised by the honor given to her during the Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner at Emory Oxford College. 

"I want to thank the community for being my home and giving me the opportunity to participate," she said.

Schulz worked as a public health nurse for 22 years and helped husband, Dick Schulz, operate The Oaks Golf Course in Porterdale before it closed in November 2021. 

She said they wanted to give back to the community during their 32 years of operation of The Oaks — which regularly hosted charity golf tournaments.

"We wanted to make this place, not only a place for our children to call home but for children everywhere that were from this community to feel like this is home," she said.

The R.O. Arnold Award is considered one of the county’s most prestigious awards. It is given to someone annually within the business community “who has continued to give back to our community,” according to the Newton Chamber of Commerce.

The award is named after Robert O. Arnold, who chamber president Debbie Harper described as a local business leader “who gave unselfishly of his time and resources to Newton County” throughout his life. 

Schulz has stayed active in the community after leaving the Board of Commissioners after three terms in 2020.

She serves as president of the nonprofit Sustainable Newton; as secretary/treasurer of Newton County Tomorrow; and as a member of the Small Business Committee of the Chamber. 

She also helped found the Newton County Boys & Girls Club; served on the board of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce; chaired the Covington Family YMCA and won YMCA Volunteer of the Year in 1999. 

Schulz served on the Solid Waste Management Authority which helped the county stop the loss of $2 million a year on the landfill's operation, she said in a 2020 interview.

Her efforts on the county commission helped lead to parts of west Newton County being placed in the Almon/Crowell Road overlay district.

The district was born out of the desire to increase the quality of housing in west Newton. It requires developers of new residential construction within it to follow design guidelines that are more stringent than other parts of the county, she said.

She also was part of the group that helped change the county’s form of government in 2018 to make an appointed county manager the chief administrative officer of the county government rather than an elected chairman.

The chamber also gave its 2022 Dick James Small Business of the Year award to Boost Trampoline Park, represented by Brian and Melissa Kitchens and Josh and Amber Foster.

Other awards went to:

• 2022 Spirit of Excellence: Ted Cummings, Onyx Media Services;

• 2022 Deal of the Year: Rivian

The 2023 Chamber Board of Directors will be led by Chairperson Jay Bailey of SteelCo; and Incoming Chair Lanier Sims of DualDeko Marketing.

Continuing board members include Cummings and Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System; Reed Beard of Newton Federal Bank; Joe DeCocco of Verescence North America; and Barbara Morgan of Morgan Plaza, who nominated Schulz for the Arnold Award.

New board members include Greg Herring of BigHouse Payment Solutions; Jessica Lowery of Vampire Stalkers & On Location Gifts; and Roxie Simon of General Mills.