As Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn spoke about the winner of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient appeared to have no clue his name was about to be called.
“Often referred to as ‘Mr. Muskogee,’ he is one of Muskogee’s top promoters to new residents considering moving to the area,” Coburn said.
The recipient, Gill Luton, was with Georgia-Pacific for 28 years as director of public relations. He recently became “semi-retired,” but continues to work as a consultant with the company.
“This was a very big surprise,” Luton said, after accepting his award and receiving many enthusiastic congratulations.
Luton and many area businesses were honored at the 15th annual Business and Industry Fall Banquet held at Indian Capital Technology Center on Thursday.
The Business of the Year award went to Georgia-Pacific.
Award presenter Jim Eaton said the company was chosen for its $20 million investment in three tissue converting lines and hiring of 26 full-time employees in 2012.
Additionally, the company’s contributions through community service hours, campaign donations and sponsorships helped earn Georgia-Pacific the award, Eaton said.
“The area’s third biggest employer, this company contributes significantly, with a capital S, to this community,” he said.
Advantage Controls was given the 2012 Community Service Award.
“Dan Morris and Dick Morris have instilled the concept of giving back to the community as a core value in their company,” said presenter Marie Seabolt. “Advantage Controls employees raise funds year-round for two main charities — the March of Dimes and United Way — consistently providing the highest per capita participation among all Muskogee employers.”
Earnie Gilder was named Economic Development Activist of the Year. Gilder has had a long career in real estate development in Muskogee.
He has always gone above and beyond providing leadership in many influential roles that have allowed him to impact economic development in the area, said presenter Scott Robinson.
“A true economic developer, Gilder is committed to making a positive difference in Muskogee,” he said.
Gilder currently serves on many boards, including Muskogee Habitat for Humanity, Eastern Workforce Investment Board, City/County Port Authority and Community Foundation.
The annual Business and Industry Awards are presented by Indian Capital Technology Center along with partners Muskogee Port Authority and the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 award recipients announced at the 15th annual Business and Industry Fall Banquet:
• Muskogee Century Club — Hogle Company and Muskogee Marble and Granite.
• Indian Capital Technology Center’s Partner in Progress — OG&E.
• Community Service — Advantage Controls.
• Innovative Technology — OG&E.
• Safety — Eastpointe Industries.
• Port of Muskogee’s Special Recognition — V&M TCA.
• Economic Development Activist — Earnie Gilder.
• Local Expansion — American Foundry Group.
• Business of the Year — Georgia-Pacific.
• Lifetime Achievement — Gill Luton.