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Chamber's annual meeting Thursday
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The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce has less than a 100 tickets remaining for its 2012 Annual Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center, 543 Elliott Trail, Mansfield.

Tickets are $55 per person and include dinner and two drinks; they can be purchased by visiting the chamber, 2101 Clark Street in Covington, or calling (770) 786-7510. Social time starts at 6:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Georgia Perimeter College President Anthony Tricoli will be the guest speaker and was chosen because GPC frequently partners with the chamber on economic development.

"When we bring in prospects and clients to Covington we often ask Dr. Tricoli or another member of his staff to speak on behalf of the college's programs and how they help with workforce development and educational issues," Chamber President Hunter Hall said. "The other reason is the whole existence of GPC and how it came to be, which dovetails with where we are in the chamber's life cycle of growth. We're asking him to speak on not being scared to change the dream and how dreams become reality."

The chamber will also give out its annual awards, including two new additions.

The Deal of the Year award was created to reflect the chamber's emphasis on economic development and highlight successful industrial recruitment and expansions this year. The Newton County Industrial Development Authority will select a specific economic development project from 2011.

The Emerging Business Award was created to highlight a new business that thrived in 2011 and will be chosen by the chamber's board of directors.

"This could be a new business startup, a business under reorganization or new management or a merger or acquisition - a new beginning for that company" Hall said. "It will also emphasize best practices and entrepreneurial and community spirit."

The annual Dick James Small Business of the Year and Spirit of Excellence awards will be presented along with the R.O. Arnold Award, which recognizes a local resident for their lifetime community involvement and service and is considered one of the most prestigious local awards.