Royston honored as Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member

Hank Hayes • Nov 22, 2019 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Chamber honored longtime business and community leader Don Royston with its prestigious Lifetime Member Award during its State of Your Kingsport Chamber Holiday Breakfast held Friday at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.

A retired certified public accountant with Brown Edwards & Co., Royston is best known for his role as Santa Claus aboard the Santa Train.

The Kingsport Chamber also celebrated its accomplishments during 2019. Outgoing Kingsport Chair Lori Arnold, director of finance with GSM, showcased some of the organization’s many accomplishments in 2019, and incoming Chair Eric Deaton, chief operating officer with Ballad Health, previewed the organization’s plans and events for the coming year.

“Through all of its award-winning programs, the Kingsport Chamber continues to make a tremendous impact on our businesses economy and our city’s great quality of life,” Arnold said. “The list of accomplishments achieved year after year by the tireless work of the Kingsport Chamber team is quite impressive. It’s been a genuine joy and great ride to serve as chair of the Kingsport Chamber. I am most appreciative to all of our Kingsport Chamber members who continue to support this great organization and invest in our community.”

For the past year, Arnold noted more than 70 businesses joined the Kingsport Chamber and more than 25 companies celebrated ribbon cuttings or groundbreakings in the city; Fun Fest continued to be recognized as one of the best festivals in the nation; Visit Kingsport’s tourism efforts made a $105 million impact on the Kingsport economy; Keep Kingsport Beautiful garnered another national award of excellence for its environmental sustainability initiatives; the Tennessee/Virginia Scholars program celebrated its 25th year; the Workforce Development program created the Educators in the Workforce initiative; STREAMWORKS hosted the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) World Championships and the state’s largest Lego competition; Government Relations reviewed more than 1,000 pieces of legislation impacting business; Leadership Kingsport graduated its largest class ever with 42 new community trustees; the Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) provided counseling and training to more than 178 individual clients, helped create 73 new jobs and assisted in record capital formation of more than $4 million; Move to Kingsport welcomed hundreds of new family households to town, with each person making a $25,000 impact on the economy; and Healthy Kingsport became the first and only city in Tennessee to be designated a Gold Healthier TN Community and helped Kingsport become the first city in the nation to achieve more than three million miles of documented physical activity for a year, among many other events and highlights.

For the coming year, Deaton said, the Kingsport Chamber will continue to improve upon its legacy of excellence. Some plans and initiatives for next year include helping to promote the important census effort; championing small business success through KOSBE; continuing to work with Project Hope with Kingsport elementary schools; marking 40 years of Keep Kingsport Beautiful; celebrating the 40th Fun Fest; protecting business interests by lobbying local, state and federal leaders; welcoming more families who will be calling Kingsport home; hosting several more sports tournaments, meetings and conventions; continuing to develop leaders — both the business professional and high school students — who give life to community dreams; promoting STEM education through events and extracurricular activities for students in K-12; promoting healthy lifestyles and workplaces; marketing downtown Kingsport; and hosting numerous events, among other goals and events planned.

The event was sponsored by ABC Tri-Cities; Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union; Appalachian Power; ARO; BAE Systems; Ballad Health; Bank of Tennessee; BB&T; Bristol Motor Speedway; Brown Edwards & Company; Carter-Trent Funeral Homes; Cary Street Partners; Chef’s Pizzeria; Cigna; Citizens Bank; Cooper Standard; Creekside Behavioral Health; Domtar; East Coast Wings Grill; Eastman; Eastman Credit Union; Elite Manufacturing & Professional Services; First Horizon Bank; Food City; GRC Construction/CainRashWest Architects; GRIFOLS; GSM; Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Homes; Honda Kingsport; Hunter Smith Davis; J.A. Street & Associates; Kingsport Times News; Mattern & Craig; Meade Tractor; News Channel 11; Northeast State; Powell Valley National Bank; Prendergast Construction; Regions Bank; Rodefer Moss & Company; Sharp Business Systems of Tennessee; S&ME; Tele-Optics; The Birthplace of Country Music; The Blake at Kingsport; The Regional Eye Center; Toyota of Kingsport/Lexus of Kingsport; Tri-Cities Center for Cosmetic Dentistry; VIPSeen Magazine; Watauga Orthopaedics; Weichert Realtors-Saxon Clark; WorkSpace Interiors; and Worley.

The Kingsport Chamber will celebrate Kingsport at its 73rd Annual Dinner. “Kingsport’s Social Event of the Year” is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at 6 p.m. at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.

Tickets will go on sale in January.