The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) hosted its 41st annual black-tie Banquet at the Atlanta Country Club on August 8th. The elite event was well attended with approximately 200 leaders of the jewelry industry and their guests enjoying an evening of networking and recognition.
The evening began with the 24 Karat Club President’s Reception attended by Club officers and directors, new members and the evening’s honorees. All members and guests then enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a pre-dinner cocktail party, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony and dancing into the night to the sounds of Band X.
Mary Hayes of Hayes Jewelers in Mobile, Alabama was honored with the 24K Club’s prestigious Jeweler of the Year Award for 2015. Mary has been in the jewelry industry for 50 years. She founded Hayes Jewelers in 1982 and built a free standing building in 1998.
She received a degree from the Gemological Institute of America in 1978 and became a Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional in 2001. Mary has a deep passion for the jewelry industry. She is a tireless advocate for bringing the younger generation into the industry. She has served on the Bishop State College School for Jewelry and Watch Repair Board of Directors for well over 30 years. She has employed over a dozen graduates and helped countless others find jobs in the industry. Her youth outreach also includes speaking to elementary school children about diamonds and gemstones. Mary also dedicates her time and boundless energy to several other civic and professional organizations including the Alabama Jewelers Association.
Five new members were inducted into the Club during the event. The group of new members included: Joe Carullo, vice president of marketing and sales for KC Designs; Deirdre Hanrahan, owner, WYS Jewelry; Shelly Schulz, marketing lead – luxury industry, Synchrony Financial; Matthew Tratner, director of membership & sales, Jewelers of America and publisher, National Jeweler; and Gary Wesdorp, president and CFO Jewel-Craft, Inc.
The 2015-2016 24 Karat Club S.E.U.S. slate of officers and board members were announced by outgoing Club President Robert Loving, Time Delay Corporation. Officers:
- President – Bill Newnam, Southern Jewelry News
- Vice President – Keely Grice, Grice Showcase & Display
- Treasurer – Randy Lindsey, Jack R. Lindsey & Co. Inc.
- Secretary – Sheri Ihde, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.
- Executive Secretary – Judy Upton, Judy Carter & Associates
The Board of Directors for 2015-2016 include: new Board members – Rick Arnemann, Harmon Group; Melissa Becker, Berkley Asset Protection and; David Siminski, United Precious Metals Refining. Returning Board members include: Steve Berkowitz, Sterling Reputation; Howard Kelrick, Finger Mate, Inc.; Carolyn Woltz Lennon, Southern Jewelry Travelers Association and; Immediate Past President Robert Loving, Time Delay Corporation.
The Club’s scholarship recipients were also announced during the event. Recipients included:
- Robert Foreman Memorial Scholarship – Mary Jane Smith, Gary K Jewelers, Madison, AL
- Sterling Reputation Scholarships – Taylor Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL and Ashley Johnson, Hudson-Poole Jewelers, Tuscaloosa, AL
- Diamond Council of America Scholarships – Stephen Rogers, Gold n Carats, Irving, TX and Jessica Aaron, K.E. Butler and Co., Vidalia, GA.
Sponsors for the event included: GIA, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Diamond Council of America, Abbott & Shapiro, Inc., Sterling Reputation, Fallaize Insurance Agency, SJTA/Atlanta Jewelry Show, Platinum Guild International, InStore/SmartWork Media, Judy Carter & Associates, Synchrony Financial, Berkley Asset Protection, Time Delay Corporation, Southern Jewelry News, Harmon Group, Benchmark, Jewelers of America and KC Designs.
The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States is a prestigious organization of industry professionals representing leading members from the jewelry supplier sector. Members are considered and recognized because of their industry accomplishments, personal and civic contributions and their commitment to the betterment of the jewelry industry. The organization’s mission is to offer scholarships to deserving individuals and to recognize a “Retail Jeweler of the Year” at the annual black-tie event.
New members inducted into the 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States on August 8, 2015: (l-r) Matthew Tratner, Jewelers of America and National Jeweler; Deirdre Hanrahan, WYS Jewelry; Gary Wesdorp, Jewel-Craft, Inc.; Shelly Schulz, Synchrony Financial and; Joe Carullo, KC Designs.
24 Karat Club Southeastern United States 2015 Jeweler of the Year Mary K. Hayes (center), Hayes Jewelers, Mobile, Alabama, with Club officers Judy Upton and Randy Lindsey.
Outgoing 24 Karat Club SEUS President Robert Loving (l) passes the gavel to incoming President Bill Newnam.
24 Karat Club Officers 2015-2016. (l-r) Vice President, Keely Grice, Grice Showcase & Display; Immediate Past President, Robert Loving, Time Delay; Executive Secretary, Judy Upton, Judy Carter & Associates; Secretary, Sheri Ihde, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.; President, Bill Newnam, Southern Jewelry News; and Treasurer, Randy Lindsey, Jack R. Lindsey & Co., Inc.