Mountie winners walk red carpet


By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com



Matt Linville (at podium) was guest speaker at the first Mounties awards luncheon. His award-winning colleagues from Northern Hospital look on. Northern Hospital was a premium sponsor of the event.


Bill Colvard | The News

The first Mounties awards luncheon brought out 100 people to First Baptist Church on Tuesday.


Bill Colvard | The News

Melissa Russell, Amanda Fretwell and Bethany Collins represented Dr. John Gravitte, DDS, PA, a premium sponsor of the event.


Bill Colvard | The News

Matt Linville, director of the Northern Hospital Foundation, gives the keynote address at the inaugural Mounties award luncheon.


Jeff Linville | The News

Chief Deputy Lauren Osburone, left, Sheriff Jimmy Combs, and Pam Morgan, Nationwide Insurance, talk law enforcement before Tuesday’s lunch.


Jeff Linville | The News

David Hunter, left, and Derrick Clifton, Cooke Rentals, chat with Michelle Jenkins, J’s HVAC, and Amber Fleming, State Employees Credit Union. J’s HVAC was a premium sponsor of the event.


Jeff Linville | The News

From Surry County Schools are, from left, Paige Badgett, North Surry; Molly Anderson, Rockford Elementary; Brandon Whitaker, Gentry Middle; and Anna Hayes, White Plains.


Jeff Linville | The News

Sonia Dickerson, left, Surry County Schools’ public information officer, dines with Tina Howlett, Copeland Elementary’s 2017 teacher of the year.


Jeff Linville | The News

Sheree Gough Beasley accepts Scenic Ford’s award for “Best Truck Dealership” and Best Car Dealership.” Scenic was a premium sponsor of the event.


Jeff Linville | The News

From Northern Hospital of Surry County and Northern Wellness and Fitness Center are Ashly Lancaster, Brian Beasley, Matt Linville and Andrea Hickling, with Julia Nelson, not pictured.


Bill Colvard | The News

Crystal Lopez and Pam Morgan from Nationwide Insurance lunch with Eric Smith, pastor of Mount Airy Wesleyan Church, Nate Wright, also representing Mount Airy Wesleyan, and James Reams, youth director at Highland Park Baptist Church.


Bill Colvard | The News

Local business owners walked a red carpet at the 10th-annual “Mounties” to receive their awards on Tuesday and be recognized for their achievement in being selected as the “Best of the Best.”

The awards luncheon, held in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church, was the first of its kind in the 10-year history of the awards sponsored by The Mount Airy News, with winners chosen by readers of The News and viewers of MountAiryNews.com. A full list of the 2018 winners is in a special print section of this edition of The News and online at MountAiryNews.com.

Tuesday’s lunch was sponsored by Northern Hospital of Surry County, John L. Gravitte D.D.S. PA, J’s HVAC, and Scenic Ford.

“It’s a great opportunity to honor some very special businesses,” said Sandra Hurley, Mount Airy News publisher, in her opening remarks. “There were thousands of votes,” she said of this year’s reader’s choice poll. But the contest has always been popular. “I remember back when we had paper ballots, it could take days to count.”

Eighty-eight winners and their guests of this year’s “Best of the Best” were present at the luncheon in addition to about a dozen News staffers.

As the first guest speaker for this first-time event, Matt Linville, foundation director for Northern Hospital of Surry County, began his speech by proclaiming, “I am the best speaker this event has ever had” to a round of laughter. He then proclaimed, “I am also the worst speaker this event has ever had” to an even bigger round of laughter.

Linville, noting the event’s venue being a church, spoke about the Golden Rule and its relevance to customer service. He began with an anecdote about a dry goods store which opened in Wyoming in 1932 with goals of offering the best customer service, treating employees fairly and employing the best business ethics possible.

The store was started by James Cash Penney, better known as J.C. Penney, but his first store did not bear his name. It was called “The Golden Rule Store.” Linville challenged his audience to imagine if their businesses were named after the Golden Rule and asked, “How differently would you handle your business?”

He then offered six suggestions:

• Customer service is everybody’s business. Everyone involved in a business, regardless of their job description, is also responsible for customer service. Linville then cited the old saw that “A city’s downtown is truly their front yard,” which he then turned around to “Employees are your front yard.”

• Every interaction matters.

• A complaint can be a positive, quoting Bill Gates who said, “Most unhappy customers are your best way of learning.” Linville then said, “You can’t please everybody,” which brought an “Amen” from the congregation. If they care enough to complain, he said, and you can resolve that complaint, they will come back.

• Know how to apologize. “Say ‘I’m sorry’ and mean it.” Linville admitted this is a tough one, but insisted it was mandatory. “Humility can end hostility quicker than a cash refund.”

• Customer experience can drive growth. Linville then cited some statistics: 86 percent of customers will pay a premium for customer service, 75 percent would be willing to pay a 13-percent premium for excellent customer service.

• Treat your employees well. “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

Linville went a little further on the subject of treating employees well, saying it was important to “share your numbers.” Employees need the pertinent information to do a good job.

Setting a good example is important. “You are the tone-setter for your business,” he said, noting that if a business owner gives poor customer service, employees will do the same, or else leave.

Linville concluded by saying, “If you were not good at the Golden Rule, you wouldn’t be here anyway,” to the room jam-packed with people who had all been voted by their customers as being the best at what they do.

Matt Linville (at podium) was guest speaker at the first Mounties awards luncheon. His award-winning colleagues from Northern Hospital look on. Northern Hospital was a premium sponsor of the event.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_7047-1.jpgMatt Linville (at podium) was guest speaker at the first Mounties awards luncheon. His award-winning colleagues from Northern Hospital look on. Northern Hospital was a premium sponsor of the event. Bill Colvard | The News

The first Mounties awards luncheon brought out 100 people to First Baptist Church on Tuesday.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_7034-1.jpgThe first Mounties awards luncheon brought out 100 people to First Baptist Church on Tuesday. Bill Colvard | The News

Melissa Russell, Amanda Fretwell and Bethany Collins represented Dr. John Gravitte, DDS, PA, a premium sponsor of the event.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_7024-1.jpgMelissa Russell, Amanda Fretwell and Bethany Collins represented Dr. John Gravitte, DDS, PA, a premium sponsor of the event. Bill Colvard | The News

Matt Linville, director of the Northern Hospital Foundation, gives the keynote address at the inaugural Mounties award luncheon.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7816_filtered-001-1.jpgMatt Linville, director of the Northern Hospital Foundation, gives the keynote address at the inaugural Mounties award luncheon. Jeff Linville | The News

Chief Deputy Lauren Osburone, left, Sheriff Jimmy Combs, and Pam Morgan, Nationwide Insurance, talk law enforcement before Tuesday’s lunch.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7804_filtered-1.jpgChief Deputy Lauren Osburone, left, Sheriff Jimmy Combs, and Pam Morgan, Nationwide Insurance, talk law enforcement before Tuesday’s lunch. Jeff Linville | The News

David Hunter, left, and Derrick Clifton, Cooke Rentals, chat with Michelle Jenkins, J’s HVAC, and Amber Fleming, State Employees Credit Union. J’s HVAC was a premium sponsor of the event.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7803_filtered-1.jpgDavid Hunter, left, and Derrick Clifton, Cooke Rentals, chat with Michelle Jenkins, J’s HVAC, and Amber Fleming, State Employees Credit Union. J’s HVAC was a premium sponsor of the event. Jeff Linville | The News

From Surry County Schools are, from left, Paige Badgett, North Surry; Molly Anderson, Rockford Elementary; Brandon Whitaker, Gentry Middle; and Anna Hayes, White Plains.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7812_filtered-1.jpgFrom Surry County Schools are, from left, Paige Badgett, North Surry; Molly Anderson, Rockford Elementary; Brandon Whitaker, Gentry Middle; and Anna Hayes, White Plains. Jeff Linville | The News

Sonia Dickerson, left, Surry County Schools’ public information officer, dines with Tina Howlett, Copeland Elementary’s 2017 teacher of the year.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7811_filtered-1.jpgSonia Dickerson, left, Surry County Schools’ public information officer, dines with Tina Howlett, Copeland Elementary’s 2017 teacher of the year. Jeff Linville | The News

Sheree Gough Beasley accepts Scenic Ford’s award for “Best Truck Dealership” and Best Car Dealership.” Scenic was a premium sponsor of the event.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_0JAL7862-1.jpgSheree Gough Beasley accepts Scenic Ford’s award for “Best Truck Dealership” and Best Car Dealership.” Scenic was a premium sponsor of the event. Jeff Linville | The News

From Northern Hospital of Surry County and Northern Wellness and Fitness Center are Ashly Lancaster, Brian Beasley, Matt Linville and Andrea Hickling, with Julia Nelson, not pictured.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_7022-1.jpgFrom Northern Hospital of Surry County and Northern Wellness and Fitness Center are Ashly Lancaster, Brian Beasley, Matt Linville and Andrea Hickling, with Julia Nelson, not pictured. Bill Colvard | The News

Crystal Lopez and Pam Morgan from Nationwide Insurance lunch with Eric Smith, pastor of Mount Airy Wesleyan Church, Nate Wright, also representing Mount Airy Wesleyan, and James Reams, youth director at Highland Park Baptist Church.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_7032-1.jpgCrystal Lopez and Pam Morgan from Nationwide Insurance lunch with Eric Smith, pastor of Mount Airy Wesleyan Church, Nate Wright, also representing Mount Airy Wesleyan, and James Reams, youth director at Highland Park Baptist Church. Bill Colvard | The News

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

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