Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Member Services

Citizens of the Year

Citizen of the Year Awards are given to honor an individual whose impact through the years will be recognized and regarded with pride throughout the area as a role model. These outstanding citizens are chosen for their definable, exceptional deeds, with which he or she has made their community a better place to live. Awards are given to deserving individuals based on local area nominations.

For more information, contact Ashley Ward at or 770-859-2346.

Congratulations to our 2017 Award Winners!


East Cobb Citizen of the Year

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson was named the East Cobb Citizen of the Year for his many years of service to his local community. Aside from his many political accomplishments first serving in the Georgia General Assembly, then the House of Representatives and now as a United States Senator, Isakson has a reputation of community service and supporting our local educational system. From National, State, to County, Johnny has always been involved in a leadership capacity, and for the right reasons.

Isakson helped start the East Cobb Lions Club and Cobb Chamber’s Leadership Cobb program, is a Sunday school teacher at Mt. Bethel Methodist Church, but one of his greatest accomplishments is his family – wife Diane, and children John, Kevin and Julie.


Acworth Citizen of the Year

Chief Wayne Dennard of the Acworth Police Department was named the Acworth Citizen of the year, nominated by Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood. In addition to running the police department, Dennard serves on the Board of Directors for the North Cobb Christian School. He has been instrumental in the department’s annual “Covering the Bases” event, which raises money for children with special needs to help them participate in sports, and has given more than $250,000 back to the special needs community in the last 10 years. Dennard has been Acworth’s police chief since 2012 and has been a resident of Cobb County for over 40 years. His dedication to serving his community has built many strong partnerships and a strong city team.


Kennesaw Citizens of the Year

This year, two Kennesaw Citizens of the Year were named – Tod Miller and Bill Watson of JRM Management, nominated by John Loud. The two are best known in Cobb for putting on the North Georgia State Fair, but both are active in many major events around the area.

The company also manages events including the Kennesaw/Big Shanty Festival, the Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival, the Marietta July 4th event, Taste of Smyrna, Cumming Country Fair and Festival, Taste of Acworth and the Smyrna Fall Jonquil Festival and Taste of Kennesaw, some even pro bono.


West Cobb Citizen of the Year

Terry DeWitt, executive vice president and chief financial officer of First Landmark Bank, was named the West Cobb Citizen of the Year. DeWitt has been involved in the Cobb community since relocating in 2007, most recently serving as Cobb Chamber Chairman in 2016. His servant leadership has led to many community successes with his work behind the scenes, without ever seeking credit.

DeWitt has a long list of leadership positions, including as chair of the Cobb Community Collaborative and a board member of Marietta Schools. He is a member of the Georgia Bankers Association and received a Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Club of Marietta. He is involved in Leadership Cobb and helped found the Cobb Edge economic development strategy.


Marietta Citizen of the Year

Dr. Grant Rivera, superintendent of Marietta City Schools, was named Marietta Citizen of the Year after just over a year in his position. Dr. Rivera joined MCS in late December 2016, after many years as a teacher, principal and central office employee in both Cobb and Fulton counties, and has made an immediate and significant impact on the schools and community. He has re-energized the system and Marietta community, taking the time to meet with his faculty, community members, parents and students to evaluate the current climate before making any changes. He learned much and has initiated additional support from a variety of sources.

Dr. Rivera introduced and executed the Our First Steps program which allowed 500 volunteers the opportunity to go and knock on doors of students the Saturday before school started. Additionally, he has begun an SAT/ACT prep course and facilitated the hiring of a first class college advisor. Dr. Rivera has recognized the importance of early learning and is looking to make that an option for families who may not have access to private preschool. He has embraced Marietta and was an integral part in receiving a $3.1M grant for Marietta’s College and Career Academy.

Smyrna Citizen of the Year

Rhonda Jacobson, co-owner of Cumberland Diamond Exchange, was named the Smyrna Citizen of the Year for her many years of community involvement and generosity. Cumberland Diamond Exchange’s involvement in the community and partnerships with non-profits are key differentiators. Their “Cufflinks + Charms 4 Charity” makes custom-designed jewelry for resale and recognition with proceeds benefiting the corresponding charity, most of which serve the Cobb community alone. While jewelry is her business, philanthropy is Rhonda’s passion.

Rhonda is a member of the WellStar Foundation Board of Trustees, Co-Chair for WellStar Foundation - Women in Philanthropy, liveSAFE Resources Board & Chair Elect/VP, SafePath Children's Advocacy Center - Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children, Gemological Institute of America Alumni Association, Member of Cobb Executive Women, and Cobb Chamber Chairman’s Club Member.

South Cobb Citizen of the Year

Darlene Duke of Sweetwater Mission was named the South Cobb Citizen of Year by the South Cobb Rotary Club, co-sponsored by the South Cobb Area Council. Duke has been committed to Sweetwater Mission since 1999, first as a volunteer, then joining the staff as Program Director in 2003 and as Executive Director in 2006. Under her leadership the organization has more than tripled its delivery of core services, added new innovative programs, and received top recognition awards for excellence from United Way of Metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Cobb County Schools. Duke is also president of the South Cobb Rotary.