AYP announces annual award winners
The Chamber’s Aiken Young Professionals (AYP) recognized two of their peers at the group’s annual holiday gathering on December 13.
Avery Spears-Mahoney, director, Aiken Downtown Development Association, was named Most Valuable Young Professional, and Catie Rabun, project manager, Hammonds Ferry, received Aiken’s Rising Star award.
The 2013 chair of AYP, Melissa (Murdaugh) Viola , Law Offices of Tom Young, Jr., PC., presented the Most Valuable Young Professional award, and Aiken Chamber President J. David Jameson presented the Rising Star award.
Spears-Mahoney has been a member of AYP since 2011. In 2013, she chaired the community services committee and also served on the inaugural Oktoberfest committee with AYP, USCAiken and the Aiken Downtown Development Association. She will continue in the role of community services committee chair for 2014.
“Avery has gone above and beyond to not only become personally involved in the community but she has opened new doors of opportunity for AYP as a whole,” said the young professional who nominated her. “She puts service to the community ahead of her own agenda, and she understands the value of teamwork. AYP cannot thank her enough for increasing our group’s involvement and presence in the Aiken Community.”
Another young professional who nominated Avery said, “It has been absolutely amazing to watch the level of organization and heart Avery has placed behind each project she has organized. AYP’s most recent effort to redecorate the teen girls’ living area at Helping Hands has remained in my heart. I am not sure Avery understands the impact the project had upon those young ladies, but it has been long lasting.”
Catie Rabun joined AYP in 2009 and served as the steering committee secretary for two years and on the community service committee for one.
One of the young professionals who nominated Rabun for Aiken’s Rising Star Award said, “Catie is well deserving of the Rising Star award. She is intelligent and is continuing to expand her influence In the Aiken Community. Her new business venture sets her apart, and I am excited to see how the Mill on Park influences downtown Aiken.”
Rabun and her business partner are developing the Mill on Park under their business name CARADASA, LLC. The duo has purchased two downtown Aiken properties and partnered with USC Aiken to establish the Mill on Park, a new office community focused on promoting the vitality of small business in Aiken.
Rabun has been a member of the board of directors of the Greater Aiken Integrated Trails (GAIT) Foundation since its formation two years ago and has served as chair of the Marketing Committee. She will join the GAIT Executive Committee in January as the foundation’s secretary.
Rabun was appointed to the Aiken Chamber’s prestigious Blue Ribbon Panel for 2013. The panel produced 29 recommendations to improve and enhance Aiken’s future.
She will serve on the Aiken Chamber’s board of directors for a three-year term beginning in January. In addition, she is active in the Aiken Rotary Club where she is editor of The Gear, the club’s weekly newsletter.
After presenting the Rising Star award, Jameson recognized Viola for her service as the 2013 chair of the Aiken Young Professionals. “Melissa has done an outstanding job, and we appreciate the passion and dedication she has given to this organization over the past year. Thank you Melissa!” Jameson said, as he welcomed the 2014 chair of AYP, Derrick McLane, URS Corporation.
The Most Valuable Young Professional Award honors an individual for their involvement in the community, as well as their involvement with the Aiken Young Professionals.
The Aiken’s Rising Star Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated those qualities necessary to lead Aiken into the future. This individual is recognized for overall character, leadership, and excellence in his or her chosen field, as well as for overall accomplishment in relationship building, professional development, philanthropic activity, and contribution to the community.
For more information on Aiken Young Professionals, or to join the group, please visit www.aikenyoungprofessionals.com.