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Clarke County Chamber honors citizen, business of year

By By Steve Swogetinsky/Special to The Star
Jan. 30, 2001
QUITMAN The Clarke County Chamber of Commerce honored two of the community's best during its annual meeting here Monday night at First Baptist Church.
Chamber members elected Robert Donald as Citizen of the Year, and named Dart Container, Inc. as Business/Industry of the Year.
Joe Lowry, Dart's plant manager since it opened more than three years ago, was equally pleased.
It might seem unusual for a street cleaner and an insurance salesman to be the same person.
But Donald carries both titles here in the downtown area. Each weekday before the sun comes up, Donald patrols Main Street from one end to the other, picking trash and sweeping or washing down the sidewalks.
It's kind of a thankless task because most folks only see Donald when he's at his State Farm office later in the day. They see that the downtown area is clean but don't realize how it got that way.
Dart, a manufacturer of polystyrene foam cups, took over the old Brooks Manufacturing building. Lowry started with a handful of employees and the workforce has since grown to 165 people.
The Quitman plant makes and ships products to other points in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Dart, a privately owned company, has been established for nearly 40 years and has plants located around the United States and in other countries. Last
year, the Quitman plant received its top Quality award for the company, and it appears it will receive the same honor this year.
Faye LaBoone became Chamber president for the year. She follows Buster Thomas, who served as president last year.
The meeting was a little shorter than was expected. The guest speaker, Frank Melton, CEO of WLBT-TV in Jackson, called at 5 p.m. to say he was unable to attend.