The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce's most prestigious award was given to a retired communications company president Thursday.
Paul Simon, the chairman of Savannah River Banking Co. and retired president of Morris Communications Corp., received the Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence.
Simon received the award in front of 400 people at the chamber's annual meeting, held at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites.
"We are delighted that we can honor such a great community leader as Paul with such a prestigious recognition," said Phil Wahl, the chamber board chairman. "His business leadership, integrity and passion are well known throughout the community and we hope that this award will demonstrate our appreciation for his many contributions to Augusta."
The Moody award is given annually to an Augusta businessperson of exceptional vision, success and generosity to their community.
"Now that's what I call a gotcha. I thought I was coming here for someone else," Simon said upon receiving the award.
Simon is only the third person to receive the award, which has gone to R. Lee Smith Jr., the president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, and Thomas Robertson Jr., the president of Cranston Engineering Group.
Since his retirement from Morris Communications in 1996, Simon helped establish Fort Discovery as chairman of the National Science Center board and supervised the construction of First Tee of Augusta while serving as chairman of the board of FORE!
Currently, he is board chairman of the 2-year-old Augusta-based Savannah River Banking Co., president of Augusta Riverfront LLC and president of Azalea Development Corp.
"I hope I can continue to prove as deserving of this honor," Simon said.
The featured speaker for the 102nd annual meeting was the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart.