Sign company owner honored as entrepreneur of the year

South State Bank Augusta President Jay Forrester presents Keen Signs owner Lane Keen with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Entepreneur of the Year award Thursday. DAMON CLINE/STAFF

You may not know Lane Keen, but you’ve seen his company’s handiwork all over town.

 

The owner of Keen Signs & Graphics, whose company makes everything from “for sale” signs for local real estate agents to the blue-and-gray jaguar wraps on Augusta University buses, was named the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year.

The former employee-turned-employer thanked the chamber’s membership for their support during the award presentation at the chamber’s quarterly Member Economic Luncheon on Thursday at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center Thursday.

“I’d like to thank many of you because you’re customers of ours,’ said Keen who founded the company after being laid off as general manager of uniform supplier G&K Services more than seven years ago. “We really appreciate that and you’ve contributed to our growth.”

The company’s business has doubled in the past three years, said Jay Forrester, Augusta president of South State Bank, who presented the award as part of the chamber’s quarterly Member Economic Luncheon.

“He did what every good entrepreneur does: he found a potential niche in the market, he studied the numbers, he did the research and studied what it would take, and he went out there and did it,” Forrester said.

The company, located on Reynolds Street in downtown Augusta, produces sign products, displays, graphic design consultation and vehicle wraps. His wife, Pam, is the company vice president and his daughter Dana is head of sales.

The award recognizes community involvement as well as business creativity and success; Keen has served on the chamber’s Red Carpet Showcase Committee for more than 20 years and his company does pro bono work for many local organizations and non profits, Forrester said.

”This year’s recipient distinguishes himself by focusing on a committment to customer service,” he said.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

RECENT AWARD WINNERS

Year/Recipient/Company

2016/The Ellefson Family/Ellefson Transportation Group

2015/Barry Bryant/Barney’s Pharmacy

2014/Charles Johnson/EDTS

2013/Randall W. Hatcher/MAU Workforce Solutions

2012/Kevin Wade/Intellisystems

2011/Steven Kendrick/Kendrick Paint & Body

2010/Angela Swarts/Spherion

2009/Audrey Snuggs and Sloane Wiggins/Cudos

2008/Rick Allen/R.W. Allen LLC

2007/Larry Jones/Universal Plumbing

Source: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

 

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