Kingsport Chamber Wins Five Awards at PRSA Awards Banquet

April 19, 2012

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Your Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce brought home four Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Awards and one Rod Irvin Excellence in Public Relations Award at the 2012 Tri-Cities PRSA Awards of Excellence Banquet held Tuesday night at Eastman Lodge near Bays Mountain Park, Kingsport.

Celebrating the chapter’s tenth anniversary year, the chapter recognized the four founding fathers with a surprise birthday celebration and Happy Birthday sing a-long. The founders include, Representative Jon Lundberg, president and CEO, The Corporate Image; Bob Feagins, executive director of communications and development, Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce; Mary Ellen Miller, president and CEO, MarketingMel and Dr. John King, public relations professor at East Tennessee State University.

The banquet recognized excellence in public relations work in our region. The chapter divides the entries into two categories, Honoring the Product and Honoring the Program; paralleling PRSA’s Silver and Bronze Anvil competitions.

A panel of judges made up of PRSA members from the California Inland Empire PRSA Chapter evaluated the entries. There are three awards, Award of Excellence, Award of Quality and the Award of Merit.

Your Kingsport Chamber received the five following awards: Award of Excellence in the Non-profit website category for; Award of Excellence in the Public Service category for the 69th Annual Santa Train; Award of Excellence in the Special Events and Observances (Seven Days or Less) for the Kingsport Chamber 64th Annual Dinner and an Award of Quality in the Special Events and Observances (Seven Days or Less) for the 17th Annual KOSBE Awards.

The 2012 recipient of the Rod Irvin Excellence in Public Relations Award was awarded to Bob Feagins, the fifth and final award of the night.

This award is designed to honor an individual who exemplifies integrity, creativity, leadership, community involvement and whose work has upheld the finest standards of the PRSA. Feagins was nominated by Gary Tucker, senior vice president of government and business relations, Eastman Credit Union and Betty Payne, director of corporate communications, Eastman Chemical Company.

“I had the privilege of working with Rod Irvin, the public relations professional for whom this award is named. I have neither doubt nor hesitation in putting Bob Feagins in that same category,” said Payne. “Bob knows the importance of striking a good solid balance in public relations. Each day, he works to promote business and commerce throughout the Kingsport area. Whether he’s working with a small family-operated start-up business or a Fortune 500 global corporation, Bob applies the same principles and attention to detail that shows either company that he is their champion.”

One of Feagins’ most notable accomplishments is the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner. What was once a dinner meeting with a couple of speeches and the obligatory ‘passing of the gavel,’ under his direction has become what many call the ‘Tri-Cities’ social event of the year.

Kingsport Chamber President and CEO, Miles Burdine said, “It is a pleasure to work with Bob Feagins. Bob continues to grow in his responsibilities and value to our community. He is an outstanding individual contributor. Bob is caring and supportive and has the skills to coach, develop and manage the work of others, overseeing staff members who are responsible for Member Relations, Keep Kingsport Beautiful and Move to Kingsport.”

Feagins is a servant-leader. He takes great pride in his work as a community volunteer. He has a ‘big heart’ and a huge capacity for serving in the community through church, universities and technology centers, the arts, young professional organizations and through a host of non-profit organizations.

“I personally admire the outstanding career and personal accomplishments of Bob Feagins.” said Olan Jones, president and CEO of Eastman Credit Union and recent Kingsport Chamber Board of Directors Chair. “He is effective and efficient at managing the business community’s resources entrusted to the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.”

“Bob is a relationship-builder. He is a likeable person. Feagins is someone who is genuine in his dealings with others. He is humble and exhibits unquestionable integrity. He enhances the reputation of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce,” continued Jones.

A native of Kingsport, Feagins graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and holds a B.A. in communications from Emory & Henry College, Emory, Va., and a master’s in communications from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

Prior to his work with the Kingsport Chamber, he served as client services director for The Corporate Image.

Feagins is the recipient of the 2012 Milligan College Leaders in Christian Service Honor Award; winner of numerous Public Relations Society of America Awards of Excellence and Quality; winner of Tri-Cities Addy Awards; winner of American Chamber of Commerce Executives Awards of Communications Excellence for Total Communications Program and other communications initiatives; recipient of The Business Journal’s Tri-Cities TN/VA “Forty Under 40” Rising Young Business Stars Award; recipient of a Charter Media Broadcast Award for “Kingsport ChamberZone”; a Leadership Kingsport graduate; graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management (IOM); and selected to attend the inaugural session of the Generation Tennessee Young Business Leaders Conference.

Feagins also teaches an annual class on communications, public relations and development to Chamber of Commerce Executives from across the State of Tennessee at Middle Tennessee State University. Speaks to classes at Emory & Henry College, ETSU, Carson-Newman College and Northeast State on communications as well as a number of civic clubs and organizations in the Tri-Cities TN/VA region.

Feagins and his wife, Laura are both active members of Mafair United Methodist Church and reside in Kingsport.

In total, there were 54 entries submitted to the chapter for 2012 with 47 winners and one recipient of the Rod Irvin Excellence in Public Relations Award.

In the next few days, you can find the complete listing of award winners along with photos on our Facebook page, PRSA of Tri-Cities TN/VA.

All program and product award categories are open to members and non-members who reside in the greater Tri-Cities area. This year, all work entered must have been released, published or performed, at least, in substantial part between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2011.

The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit business organization comprised of nearly 1,000 members. The Kingsport Chamber’s mission is to utilize resources and focus efforts on enhancing a strong and viable business environment for the Kingsport area.

For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, go to or call (423) 392.8800. We’re social too; follow us on our Facebook page, Your Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, and on our Twitter account, @kptchamber.

For more information about the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and your Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), visit and or call (423) 392.8825. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook, Kosbe – The Small Business Connection, Twitter, @KOSBEConnection, LinkedIn group, KOSBE — The Small Business Connection and our YouTube Channel, KOSBEConnection.