Appreciation was indeed the theme of Monday night’s Business Appreciation Dinner, hosted by the Decatur Economic Development Corp. (EDC) at the Decatur Civic Center.
But it wasn’t buildings, corporate entities or faceless establishments that were honored. It was people.
The people behind some of the community’s most successful businesses received pats on the back for their work, persistence and investment – often over the course of decades – to build businesses and by doing so, building a community.
In addition to hearing from Texas Workforce Commissioner Hope Andrade, the EDC took time to pass out recognition to businesses and other organizations that continue to contribute to the economic life and vitality of the community.
Master of ceremonies Roy Eaton presented brief sketches of those honored:
Mark Moran’s family owns eight properties on the Wise County Courthouse square and is currently building another just off the square.
“Mark’s passion has been the square,” Eaton said. Their tenants include Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, a law office and mortgage company, and the current project at 203 West Walnut is being built as executive suites, the future home of the Miller & Haney law firm and Prime West Mortgage.
Eaton said the Moran family bought their first property in Decatur in 2005 and have since made more than a dozen investments in the city – working hard to restore older buildings and bring new business into Decatur while respecting the history of Decatur and the downtown square.
Honored for bringing quality service to the community was Jeff Sicking of Prime West Mortgage. The Lubbock-based lender recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, specializing in home mortgages. Last year the Decatur branch originated 150 new home loans.
Sicking, a native of neighboring Cooke County, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance from Texas Tech University. He is a member of the board of directors of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce and the Wise Regional Health Foundation. He is also a member of the Greater Wise/Denton County Realtors Affiliate Business Council and the finance committee of the First Baptist Church of Decatur.
Wade Watson and partner Doug Jackson of Texas Custom Trailers were honored as an outstanding new business. They opened Texas Custom Trailers a year-and-a-half ago after Wade served as general manager of Agvantage for nearly 12 years.
Texas Custom Trailers has nine employees and last year the young company sold 450 new trailers, many of them specially equipped for the oil and gas industry.
Wade is a member of the Decatur school board and immediate past president of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Council and the Livestock 4-H committee of Texas AgriLife Extension Service-Wise County, and is a member of the building and grounds committee of the First Baptist Church of Decatur.
Eaton presented what he termed the “Patience of Job” award to brothers Mike and Kelly Clark of H2X Hydroexcavating, who two years ago moved their firm’s national headquarters from Colorado to Decatur with a $200,000 grant from the EDC.
“Despite the best efforts of many, their building project has fallen through more cracks than you can imagine,” Eaton said. “The foundation has finally been poured for the new building at East Main and Stratton streets and installation of the steel structure will begin soon.”
The company has 70 employees and 30 trucks, working in locations all over the Southwest and into other regions of the country. About 70 percent of their work is in the oil and gas industry, but there are applications in construction and various other industries – and growth should accelerate once the new Decatur facility opens later this year.
An award for the Outstanding Public Sector/Non-Profit organization in the community went to the Wise Regional Health Foundation – formed in 2002 to support the growth, development and community awareness of Wise Regional Health System and its services.
WRHS, with hospitals in Decatur and Bridgeport, and the newly opened Parkway Medical Center in Fort Worth, is the community’s biggest employer and fastest-growing business. Since its founding, the Foundation has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Health System through the generosity of citizens of Decatur and Wise County.
North Texas Bank President Andrew Rottner accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation.
An award for Outstanding Community Contribution went to the First United Methodist Church of Decatur, founded 152 years ago by a small group of people who gathered in the home of Stephen and Mary Gose to organize the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Decatur.
“They met at the Gose home because Mrs. Gose had what was believed to be the only pump organ in the town,” Eaton said. The church grew in membership and service to the community, and in 1914 the present sanctuary building was completed – at a cost of about $25,000.
“Just a few weeks ago several hundred current and former members of the church gathered here at the Civic Center to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the sanctuary building,” Eaton noted. “It was a fitting celebration for a church that has meant so much to Decatur and Wise County for more than a century.”
The Rev. Brian Bosworth, senior pastor, accepted the award on the church’s behalf.
LEGEND, SPECIAL HONORS
Decatur Mayor Martin Woodruff, a longtime EDC director, presented the Legend Award to Decatur Dental, founded by Dr. John Winder, honoring the business for its longstanding service to the Decatur community.
Winder, a graduate of Decatur High School, came home in 1970 fresh out of Baylor Dental School and founded the practice, which now has four dentists including his daughter, Dr. Paige Winder.
“They’re still in operation and still providing outstanding services to the community,” Woodruff said. “We’re so glad that John and Marian are continuing to operate.”
Dental hygenist Jamie Cowdrey, a longtime employee, accepted the award on behalf of the Winders, who were unable to attend.
The final award of the evening was presented by Woodruff to Roy Eaton, who is stepping down from the EDC board after serving for a second time since 2006.
Eaton, publisher of the Wise County Messenger, served on the board from its founding in 1993 until 2001, helping spearhead the drive to build the Decatur Civic Center. He returned as a community representative in 2006 – meaning Eaton has served as a director 15 of the 20 years the EDC has existed.
“The city of Decatur, the greater community and the EDC owe a lot to Roy for his vision, his commitment to make this city a better place – a place to grow up in, raise your children in, to grow old in, to have a job and to work in,” Woodruff said.
“We are so fortunate he and Jeannine decided to come back to Decatur, buy the Wise County Messenger and become part of this community in 1973. He’s been an active member of this community for so long, and I just can’t say enough about the service he has provided.”