(Dominion Post (Morgantown, WV) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 25--The keynote speaker at the annual Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce dinner wore a helmet to the proceedings Friday night.
Not that Ken Schmidt was worried about, say, any tomatoes or other projectiles that could be tossed by any hecklers in the house, mind you.
It was all in the marketing.
Schmidt, who travels the country as a speaker and consultant, was a former communications director of Harley-Davidson, an American motorcycle maker that enjoys iconic-brand recognition in the country, even though the company didn't always have the best reputation in years past.
"People used to be a little scared of the brand," he said, as he milled around before the start of the dinner on the frosty evening at One Waterfront Place.
"A lot of people didn't want to be associated with it," he said, "but it all comes down to how you tell your story."
That's where the helmet came in. Schmidt would need it, he said, since he was readying to ride one to the One Waterfront dais for his remarks.
Yes, ride one. He was going to throttle up for his entrance.
"Always wear a helmet," he said, "even when you're riding inside."
As he said, it's all in the corporate narrative and the marketing that goes with it.
Frank Vitale, a local banker and chairman of the Chamber's board of directors, said it doesn't take much to get Morgantown's motor runnin'.
From mom and pop businesses to major corporations -- plus the community outreach organizations that advocate for human services and quality-of-life issues -- Morgantown does a good job of telling its story to the region and the world, he said.
"This is a pretty vibrant place," he said. "We 're all in this together. And we work together, everyone benefits."
Here's who took top honors in the chamber's "Best of Business" aw a rd s :
Small Business of the Year: BlaineTurner Advertising. Medium-sized Business of the Year: Mona Supply Co. Large Business of the Year: WVU. Nonprofit Business of the Year: Bartlett House I n c. Hilda Radman Rosenbaum, a longtime Morgantown businesswoman and benefactor who died in July, received the chamber's highest honor, the Earl L. Core Award, for founding Rosenbaum Family House. The facility at Ruby Memorial Hospital provides residential housing for families whose loved ones are undergoing extensive medical treatment at the hospital.
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