It was a tight race for most of last week, but in the end Roswell voters chose longtime local businessman and current Roswell Business Alliance Executive Director Steve Stroud as Roswell Patch's "2012 Person of the Year."
Stroud - who has been married to his high school sweetheart for 22 years and has three daughters: Cate, Camille and Caroline - owns Stroud's Printing in Roswell. But in early 2012, he also took up the mantle of heading the Roswell Business Alliance (RBA), the city's joint venture with the Roswell Convention & Vistors Bureau.
Over the course of 2012, under Stroud's leadership, the RBA has helped market an expanded Opportunity Zone and take it from 12 certified companies to 31 certified companies within the zone. The alliance currently has over 450 partners, including over 20 corporate sponsors. And has also launched several programs to assist local businesses including the Roswell Business Academy, Building Opportunity Roswell Brokers Luncheon and Network, Roswell Showcase for Realtors and the continuation of the Find It All Roswell program and Roswell Connect networking events.
We caught up with Stroud to ask him a bit about what life's been like over the past year and what he's looking forward to in 2013:
Q: 2012 was quite the year for you; tell us a little bit about what it's been like to get the Roswell Business Alliance (RBA) off and running, from your perspective?
A: The RBA's formation was a team effort with support from various entities including the city, Convention & Visitors Bureau and numerous invested citizens of Roswell. We initially began with the role of business promotion and that has continued to evolve into fulfilling the economic development needs of the city. It has been a year full of collaboration, dedication and building strong relationships.
Q: Why do you think the RBA has resonated with so many in the business community?
A: In the past year, RBA has made a strong effort to reach out and connect with business owners in the area. We position ourselves as the go-to organization for these businesses - allowing them the opportunities to network, connect and become a vital part of the community. We have established an open line of communication between the business owners, developers, citizens, corporations, non-profits and various entities. RBA and the city continue to foster these relationships to enhance the quality of our community.
Q: How has your experience as a Roswell businessman and owning your own company enabled you in your current position with the RBA?
A: Because I have been in there - in the small business shoes for the past 30 years - I have experienced the ins and outs of getting a business in Roswell going and meeting the challenges to keep it successful through hardships and victories - all these allow me to better relate and understand our business community.
Q: How does it feel to be named Roswell Patch's 2012 Person of the Year?
A: It's an honor. Because Roswell is and always has been my home, I am continually impressed by what everyone does every day to make Roswell a wonderful place to live and work - and thankful for all the families and neighbors who are proud to claim Roswell as their home.
Q: What does 2013 hold for you?
A: First off, hopefully a happy and healthy year for my family and friends. In terms of RBA, I hope our team continues to adapt and change to the growing business community - continuing to enhance our economic stimulus, including an overall increase in job creation and business retention, throughout Roswell. 2013 will be a pivotal and positive year for Roswell!