SEC Commissioner visits Pelham

Published 3:46 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey addresses members of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce Feb. 4. (Reporter photo / Neal Wagner)

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey addresses members of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce Feb. 4. (Reporter photo / Neal Wagner)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Scholars, champions and leaders are the words SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey discussed as he addressed the members of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Feb. 4.

When Sankey took the podium at the chamber’s 35th annual meeting, he told the members the importance of words, noting the first time he saw his own words displayed on ESPN.

“If you can say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way you create value for people that goes beyond that moment, beyond that connection and can, when done properly, convey lessons for life,” Sankey said.

He then transitioned into the happenings of the Southeastern Conference besides the games, matches and tournaments.

The SEC is determined to graduate every student-athlete, according to Sankey, and he said the graduation rate is rising. Even when students have the opportunity to become professional athletes, Sankey said many also work to complete their degree, such as Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers.

“The word scholars is meant to say there is more happening here than just student athletes, and athletes, and teammates and players,” Sankey said. “They are learning.”

While the goal is also to win every championship, Sankey said they also aim to create leaders to change the world.

“If we educate well and compete successfully, we have a platform that outsizes who we are individually,” Sankey said. “We have an opportunity to have influence beyond our cities like Auburn and Tuscaloosa. Through the state, across the region and literally around the world.”

The 35th annual meeting also gives chamber leaders the opportunity to present the annual report, discussing the accomplishments made in 2015 and the chamber’s goals for 2016.

The 2015 Chamber Chair Lisa McMahon passed her gavel on to the 2016 Chamber Chair Paul Rodgers, who works with NobleBank & Trust. Rodgers has previously served as the chamber’s chair.

The 2015 board of directors was recognized, the chamber announced the new officers for 2016 and Kendall Williams was named the Ambassador of the Year for 2015.

For more information on the Greater Shelby County Chamber, visit