FPRA honors Destin mayor as Community Person of the Year; installs new Board

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA president, Andi Mahoney, APR, is pictured with Person of the Year Mayor Mel Ponder and immediate past president, Jessica Proffitt.

Each year during its annual board installation ceremony, the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association recognizes a professional who has made a significant contribution within the field of public relations and has enriched the well-being of the community. 

This year’s “Person of the Year” award was presented to Mel Ponder, the newly elected mayor of the city of Destin for 2014- 2018. Ponder was also a Destin councilman from 2002–2006. During this time as a community activist, he helped establish the Destin Week of Blessings for the fishing fleet, marketplace and families. This event has now spread to multiple cities around Florida, as well as to Australia and New Zealand.

Further, Ponder is the founder and president of Business Empowered (BE), a business and workplace ministry headquartered in Destin, the director of regional marketing programs for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, executive director of Coastal Vision 3000/THE Beach in Destin and a banking industry professional. He and his wife, Mona, are Florida natives and have three children ranging from ages 9 to 17. 

The Northwest Florida Coast Chapter also recognized its 2014 Member of the Year, Kelli Carter, marketing coordinator of Visit South Walton Tourist Development Council, and Jessica Proffitt presented the President’s Award to Brooke Scholl, marketing & public relations manager of Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort and Erin Igram, Walton County development director of The United Way.

In addition, the event included installation of the chapter’s new 2014-2015 board of directors. Officers are Andi Mahoney, APR, president; Katie Johnson, president-elect and membership chair; Jessica Proffitt Bracken, immediate past president and secretary; Katie Crowell, treasurer; Kay Phelan, membership advisor/historian; Megan Harrison and Erin Ingram, program co-chairs; Jami Ray and Lori Leath Smith, communications co-chairs; Whitney Ladwig, time and attendance; Andi Mahoney, APR, accreditation chair; Kelli Carter, image chair; Brooke Scholl and Sarah Brazwell, Holiday Toast on the Coast co-chairs; and Tracy Louthain, APR, CPRC, and Stacey Brady, members at large.