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Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) was the presenting sponsor of the 58th annual Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on Thursday, August 20 at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of BSCTC, spoke of the colleges commitment to higher education in the region. He specific mentioned the start of the colleges Fiber Optics program which launched last month.

Our first class was filled with both Kentuckians and other students across the nation, said Dr. Stephenson, who serves as a board member for the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The Fiber Optics program is a partnership with the University of Pikeville and the East Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. Thanks to our partners, we are making a difference and preparing this region for the coming of high-speed fiber connectivity that will revolutionize the way we do business and the manner in which we will capture the future for our progress and growth.

Dr. Stephenson stressed the importance of unity to business leaders in attendance.

We believe that its really not important who gets the credit, the important thing is that we forge ahead in a spirit of unity for a common goal and then celebrate the accomplishments together.

Dr. Stephenson finished his remarks by adding: The best way to predict our future is to create it. As president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, I commit to you our best in creating the future.

Two employees of BSCTC Paula Thompson and Stephanie Abshire were recognized for their participation in the first-ever Patton Leadership Institute.

Rusty Justice, who serves on BSCTCs board of directors, was recognized with the chambers Business Persons of the Year award. Justice is a managing member of Jigsaw Enterprises, LLC and Bit Source, LLC., a company that has received national attention in its efforts to train coal miners to code.

Other winners were: East Kentucky Broadcasting Outstanding Contribution by a Business; Bella Pooch Small Business of the Year; Food City Business of the Year; Lynn Parrish Business Persons of the Year; Jenny Wiley Theatre Service Organization of the Year; Cody Johnson Citizen of the Year; Waylon Nelson Ambassador of the Year; and Joe Adams, Volunteer of the Year.

Tom Leach, the voice of the Kentucky Wildcats, was the keynote speaker.