Chamber AYP celebrates annual award winners

The Chamber’s Aiken Young Professionals (AYP) recognized two of their peers at the group’s end of the year celebration December 9.

Rebecca Vigné, Aiken Steeplechase Association, was named Most Valuable Young Professional, and Justin Wheelon, President and founder of Southern City, received Aiken’s Rising Star award.

Aiken Chamber President J. David Jameson presented the awards.

Vigné has been a member of AYP since 2010. She served as the 2016 chair of AYP and as vice chair in 2015.

One person who nominated Vigné wrote, “Rebecca has played an important role within this organization over the years. She truly cares about the quality of the organization and ensures that members and guests are enjoying all that AYP has to offer.”

Another nominator acknowledged Vigné for her success in developing and continuing the AYP monthly newsletter. “Rebecca’s genuine passion for AYP made her an easy choice for Most Valuable Professional. As chair, she encouraged members be more involved in community decisions leading to the 2016 Speak Up and Be Heard AYP campaign.”

Wheelon is new to AYP but as an Aiken native quickly has made an impact on the Greater Aiken community. Wheelon saw an opportunity to bring film to his hometown. He founded Southern City, an Aiken film company in 2013. The inaugural Southern City Film Festival was in November and saw huge success. Prior to the festival, Wheelon and Southern City hosted Southern Nights summer movie series for Aiken residents. Wheelon is currently partnering with the University of South Carolina – Aiken and the Aiken County Public School District to educate students about film production and film career opportunities.

“Justin is passionate about his film career and for his Aiken community," said his nominator. "He has put our beautiful city on the map through his Southern City Film Festival and Institute. Aikenites are excited about what he has in store next.”

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

Aiken’s Rising Star Recipients
2009 - Jason Rabun
2010 - Selwyn DeLoach
2011 - Richard Holley
2012 - Mallory Holley
2013 - Catie Rabun
2014 - Avery Spears-Mahoney
2015 - Eric Brinkley
2016 - Justin Wheelon


AYP MVP Recipients

2009 - Josh Stewart
2010 - Nealie Godbee
2011 - Sarah Kinney
2012 - Derrick McLane
2013 - Avery Spears-Mahoney
2014 - Melissa Viola 
2015 - Kendall Carter
2016 - Rebecca Vigné



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