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 Katie Guice at kguice@cobbchamber.org or 770-859-2334.

Congratulations to our 2019 Award Winners!

 

Acworth Citizen of the Year

Shane Queen, Head Football Coach at North Cobb High School, has been named the 2019 Acworth Citizen of the Year for his leadership at his school and within the community. As Head Coach for 14 years, Queen has led his team to regional wins and was named the Cobb County Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2013.

Queen is not only a coach, but also serves as a positive role model in the lives of the students in the Acworth Community. He goes the extra mile with his players, investing in both their academic and athletic lives. He often addresses his "5 P's" that he wants each student to think about as they navigate through their years at North Cobb High School: Purpose, Passion, Perseverance, Pride, and People.

Queen has tirelessly worked with community members and partners to improve school facilities so that all North Cobb students, who many times come from families who simply can't afford facility upgrade support, can be trained with the best equipment possible.

Queen recently took students on a trip to serve with the Power of Peace Program in Selma, Alabama. They helped feed more than 200 people who are food-insecure during the visit. Coach Queen is always focused on how he can grow young men into future husbands, fathers, and contributing members of the Acworth community.


East Cobb Citizen of the Year

The Cobb Chamber’s East Cobb Area Council has selected two community members as its 2019 Citizens of the Year.

Tom Bills, Senior Project Manager overseeing Construction, SPLOST and GIS for Cobb County Parks, has been named a 2019 East Cobb Citizen of the Year for his tireless advocacy within the Cobb community. Tom’s volunteer and leadership activities range from being the original Treasurer and Past President (2003-2004) of Friends for the East Cobb Park, to working and volunteering with Walton High School, Georgetown University, Keep Cobb Beautiful, Cobb Veterans Foundation and many other worthy causes in the Cobb community. While often leading massive fundraising efforts, he’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty. Tom volunteers with Keep Cobb Beautiful, and has served Walton High School in a variety of ways, always the first to arrive and the last to leave volunteer events. He is truly a tireless servant leader that never seeks the spotlight for himself.

Long before Tom joined Cobb County Parks as an employee, he worked long hours alongside many other dedicated East Cobb volunteers to create East Cobb Park, an incredible asset within his community. He has long been known as someone who wants to create the best possible places for families to enjoy in East Cobb.

Mack Cobb, Pope High School Football Coach for the Middle School Feeder Program since 1987, has been named a 2019 East Cobb Citizen of the Year for his leadership at his school and in the community. Over the last 40 years, Coach Mack has coached more than 1,500 East Cobb students, and has inspired many former players to continue their football careers after high school.

Mack has volunteered to coach in East Cobb for over 40 years, focusing his attention on the feeder programs for students in 5th, 6th and 7th grades at the YMCA, Lassiter High School and Pope High School. For many of his young players, this was often their first team experiences, and Coach Mack always strived to teach much more than the game of football. He made sure all his players understood that family and schoolwork were more important than football, and that believing in something bigger than yourself came first. His players quickly learned the rules and expectations, understanding that they were loved and supported by their coach. Coach Mack is known for the way he continues to follow the lives of his former players, and all know that Coach is still their biggest cheerleader.

 

Kennesaw Citizens of the Year

Bill Westenberger, Police Chief with the City of Kennesaw, has been named the 2019 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year for his commitment to being involved with and available for the community. He has a true passion for his community, which is shown through his constant support, actions and participation.

In his community, Chief Westenberger is actively involved in two programs with missions to affect proactive and positive change in Kennesaw: “Chief’s Youth Advisory Board,” where Kennesaw 8th through 12th grade students get a chance to voice their concerns about current issues in their lives; and “Accelerated Community Engagement,” which was designed to help middle school students with their unique issues in both Acworth and Kennesaw.

Chief Westenberger also chairs a group called “First Watch,” a faith-based forum for adults in the community that promotes the growth of goodness and leadership in children and adults. He's also involved with "Through Our Hearts,” a group of community leaders in Kennesaw that meets the first Tuesday morning of each month to focus on helping people in need.

Chief Westenberger can often be found on off-duty days putting on a volunteer T-shirt and sharing his passion for giving back.

 

Marietta Citizen of the Year

Jeri Barr, former CEO of The Center for Family Resources, has been named the 2019 Marietta Citizen of the Year for her tireless advocacy within the Cobb community. With over four decades of experience in the nonprofit sector, Barr has an almost uncanny ability to recognize the root of a problem and identify the right people and strategies that will bring about lasting change. She has been an invaluable mentor to dozens of people, both professionally and personally, and has dedicated her life to helping people achieve their highest potential, regardless of their income, race, or skill level. Barr serves as a mentor to rising leaders in the nonprofit sector, an inspiration to board members and business leaders, and is a catalyst for change to individuals who are unemployed or under-employed in her community.

Barr has been the CEO of the Center for Family Resources since 1984. Under her guidance, the organization has grown from a small financial assistance agency to a multi-function human service organization, serving the needs of whole families in order to help them attain self-sufficiency and responsibility for their family. In early 2019, Barr retired as the CEO of Center for Family Resources.

Barr has been active in many civic and volunteer activities, including East Cobb Newcomer Club, Cobb Christmas, Cobb County Rape Crisis Center, and the Cobb County Community Council. She has also taken active leadership roles with the Special Olympics for Cobb, Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, the Council of Volunteer Administrators, the United Way Advisory Committee, and more.

She has also played a leadership role in founding several other organizations, including the Cobb Human Services Coalition, The Extension, the Cobb Community Collaborative, Cobb Works, Cobb Cares, Cobb Microenterprise Center, and Homeward, Inc. It is still a personal passion for her to connect with the community and to have an avenue for people to receive services.


Smyrna Citizen of the Year

South Cobb Citizen of the Year

 

West Cobb Citizen of the Year

Don Keller, Owner and CEO of Blue Sky Exhibits in Marietta, has been named the 2019 West Cobb Citizen of the Year for his tireless advocacy for the Cobb community.

A champion for corporate giving and the importance of social responsibility practices, Don often encourages his peers to focus on giving back in their own communities. Among his favorite community events is Winter Wonderland in the Marietta Square. He has been involved for many years, and even offers free photos to clients of the Center for Family Resources (CFR). Recently, Keller discovered that the Santa that has worked with CFR for 17 years wouldn’t be able to participate this year, due to a serious illness in the man’s family. Keller worked with vendors and colleagues to create t-shirts and other items that will be sold to help offset the family’s expenses.

Don is Board Chair for the Center for Family Resources, and works with several community organizations, like MUST Ministries, West Ridge Church, and Calvary Children’s Home, among others.

Under his leadership, Keller and his partner have grown Blue Sky Exhibits into a 29 full-time employee, 92 clients operation with a reputation for strong working relationships with customers and resource partners. Keller makes it a point to put his employees first and ensure that they have what they need to be successful, knowing that an investment in people is the best way to guarantee success in business and life.