Alan Connolly named 2014 Citizen of the Year

By Jessica Johnson

January 30, 2014

Alan Connolly was named the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Citizen of the Year Thursday night.

His award came during the chamber’s 53rd annual meeting at Cross Creek Country Club.

Connolly is the executive vice president for SouthData, responsible for sales, customer service, and manufacturing operations for the billing division.

President at WorkForce Carolina Teresa Lewis introduced Connolly, sharing his many achievements and contributions throughout the years, including serving on the Reeves Community Center Board, as chairman of the United Fund Board, and chairman of the Surry Arts Council board.

Lewis shared that in addition to community service activities, Connolly serves as an usher at Central United Methodist Church and is chairman of the church council.

She added that multiple nominations were received for Connolly, nominations that included words and phrases to describe him such as “constant, steady…integrity, wisdom, trustworthy, respected, even-tempered,” and “manages to remain calm in controversial settings.”

“He is an incredible citizen,” Lewis told the crowd gathered at Cross Creek Country Club.

Connolly has served as president of the Surry Arts Council Board of Directors for three years, vice president for two years, and chairman of the building and grounds committee. He now serves on the executive committee for Surry Arts Council, as well as the personnel committee.

Surry Arts Council Executive Director Tanya Jones said that during the years Connolly has served, the arts council raised the funds for and built the Andy Griffith Museum.

“He has been a constant and steady support for me and the arts council…he supports, attends, raises funds, and promotes the arts in our community. He does not just talk the talk, he truly walks the walk, in all that he is involved in and attempts,” Jones said. “I respect him enthusiastically and without reservation for this high honor.”

President and CEO of SouthData John Springthorpe III said that “words somehow seem inadequate to represent the high regard in which I hold this individual. A trusted colleague, who has helped to create a better Mount Airy, family, church, community, and business — this person is a model for others to follow.”

Attorney Edwin M. Woltz said that Connolly “has improved the quality of life in Mount Airy,” and described him as a “willing participant in worthwhile activities and a community volunteer who is always thorough and always leaves things in better shape than he found them.”

Superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools Dr. Gregory Little praised Connolly, sharing that he “had made it known from the first meeting that he supported our efforts to provide an incredible education for students.”

“It is easy to see the passion he has for education and his community as a whole.”

Connolly was instrumental in helping create a “model of business-school collaboration” by establishing the FIRST Lego League, which Dr. Little said has “quickly become one of the signature events in which our schools participate, and his efforts have helped to support and nurture the creative spirit of our students.” In its second year, 140 middle school students from Surry County Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, and Elkin City Schools participated in the Lego League competition.

“He has given his time, energy, and talents selflessly to ensure a better future for Mount Airy.”

For additional information about the 53rd annual meeting of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, read Saturday’s edition of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 or on Twitter @MountAiryJess.