BG Area Chamber celebrates 2016, honors WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual awards meeting to review the feats of 2016 and honor someone who has made an incredible impact on the community.

"We had 15 different expansion or attraction projects accumulating about a half of a billion dollars in capital investment, and over 700 new jobs," says Chamber President Ron Bunch. "We qualified again for the Chamber of the Year in the United States competition and we were runner-up. Our hope is that this coming year, we'll actually win it and bring it home."

Bunch looks back at the past year and says it was a success.

"2016 for us was a phenomenal year. It was very fast paced, and it's starting that way in 2017."

Along with selecting a new chairman of the board, the Chamber awarded Dr. Gary Ransdell the Herb Smith lifetime achievement award for his two decades as WKU president, an award not given out every year.

"Thank you all very much for this recognition," says Ransdell. "This is a very proud moment for me and for and for WKU."

"Dr. Ransdell was a perfect candidate for the award," says Ron Bunch, "because the transformation that he's led there has made such a lasting impact on our broader region and the commonwealth. It's great to get to honor those contributions he's made to so many different facets of what we are and what we do here."

"I'm not entirely sure what lifetime achievement award means," joked Dr. Gary Ransdell, "but there's a whole lot of living left to do."

"My whole passion in this job has been as much about this community as it has been about the university," he explains, "because the two are intrinsically linked. I have been very passionate and worked hard to help improve the quality of life in our community. "

Ransdell says even after his time as president has run up, he hopes to continue to serve the community, and the people that he's come in contact with over the years.

"Those relationships are very important to me, and those relationships won't end just because my formal duties at the university end on June 30."

Dr. Gary Ransdell will be replaced by Dr. Tim Caboni, who will take over July1.

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