The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 22, 2014

Chamber names Ambler its Business Leader of the Year

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Selected by the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce as the 2014 Business Leader of the Year, local entrepreneur Gary Ambler said he believes he is in great company.

“It’s a great honor,” the Ronceverte native told a crowd estimated at 270 at the organization’s annual dinner meeting at The Greenbrier Tuesday.

After leaving a career centered on teaching and coaching, Ambler joined his father in 1974 as a partner in Marvin Ambler Building Contractors. From there, he moved on to become one of the five original developers of Lewisburg’s Brier Inn Complex, later becoming the inn’s sole owner. He extended his holdings in the hospitality industry with the addition of the Hampton Inn in 1999 and Fairfield Inn and Suites in 2011.

Ambler is still active in youth sports, community projects and his church, Ronceverte Presbyterian. He and his wife, Rosalie, have two children and six grandchildren.

His daughter, Alyson Dotson, introduced Ambler at the chamber meeting, describing her father as “a loving dad who nurtured our interests,” as well as “a sports enthusiast (with) a desire to teach.”

Having been in business for so many years, Ambler said, “You meet a lot of people. You learn a lot. All of this has made me a much better person.”

He cited lessons learned from his late father, who told him as a contractor to always leave clients with more than they expected, and from the late George Aide, a widely-respected local businessman, who said, “If you will take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.”

Expressing thanks to his family and to God, Ambler said, “I’m proud to be an American. I’m honored to be a West Virginian, and I love the Greenbrier Valley.”

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Chamber of Commerce President Selina Cahill told the audience at the dinner meeting that the organization’s membership now stands at more than 350 businesses.

She also detailed a number of accomplishments recorded by the chamber and its affiliates over the past year, including a “Dancing with the Stars” fundraiser staged by Generation Greenbrier Valley, a series of Entrepreneurs Cafe events, a career day for high school students and a very timely February power lunch that focused on handling an emergency.

Additionally, more than 90 businesses participated in the organization’s Mega-Business event at the state fairgrounds last fall, Cahill said, noting that representatives from other nearby chambers of commerce visited the event to glean ideas for similar endeavors in their counties.

In addition to Cahill, the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce’s current board of directors includes Greg Allman, Cate Bennett, Donna Burns, Alyson Dotson, Mike Kidd, John Woodrum, Sandi Hofmann, Nan Morgan, Jerry O’Sullivan, Christy Clemons-Rodgers, Cathey Sawyer, Randi Smith, Scott Yates, Michael Adelman, John Barnes, Rob Calhoun, Sandy Epling, Steve Hunter, Cindi Napier and Sharon Rowe.

Sponsors of this year’s dinner meeting were First National Bank, Bank of Monroe, City National Bank, Summit Community Bank, Ream Associated Companies, Plum Creek, ABB, Greenbrier Physicians, The Greenbrier, BB&T, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, First Energy, Frontier Communications and WVVA.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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