Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Rusty Brockman was announced as the winner of the annual Besserung Award Friday evening at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s 99th Annual Banquet & Awards Program. The award is often referred to as the New Braunfels outstanding citizen’s award and is designed to honor an individual who is currently providing a significant contribution to the community through their civic activities.
More than 800 community and business leaders were in attendance at the banquet to hear the announcement. The name of the winner was kept as a secret until the moment of the presentation. This honor recognizes the community betterment activities of the recipient. Brockman has been with the Chamber for nearly 17 years after retiring from a 28 year career in public education, including 15 years with the Comal ISD as campus assistant principal, principal, and central office administrator.
During his time with the Chamber he has excelled in the field of economic development. Brockman was a catalyst for bringing Communities in Schools to the Chamber’s Business-Education Partnership Committee in the 1990s, getting the new Central Texas Technology Center opened in 2004 and advocating for the phase 2 expansion being added to the 2013 bond issue, and working to bring numerous companies, thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment to New Braunfels.
“He has announced his retirement from his current role effective in March, but this ever-ready bunny, Grosse Opa, football announcer, and invocator-extraordinaire is always up to the task, and never more so than in 2017,” said Brandon Dietert, New Braunfels Chamber Outgoing Chair of the Board.
In the last year, Brockman has led a workforce stakeholders group to create a more effective path for teachers, counselors, and students for career planning. The result, NB/STEAM, virtually connects industry experts with classrooms to expand a student’s exposure to careers and brings real-world relevance to learning. 150 teachers and counselors in both local school districts are involved in the program and the community will see this pay off for local businesses and students in the years ahead.
Civic organization work includes Board member and Past President of the Wurstfest Association and the 2017 Grosse Opa, New Braunfels Breakfast Lion’s Club President, Drive Chairman and Past President of United Way of Comal County, Advisory Board member of the Comal ISD Public School Foundation, and Past President of the Canyon High School Athletic Booster’s. Brockman was also named Citizen of the Year in 1993 by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, 1992 Chair of the Board Award and 2011 Honors Hall Award recipient of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, and received the Seven Seals Award from the Army National Guard in 2010.
In professional organizations, Brockman served as President of the Executive Board of the Texas Economic Development Council, was appointed in 2011 by Governor Perry to the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority and is currently serving as the Board Chairman, Chairman of the Austin/San Antonio Corridor Council Economic Development Committee, member of the Guadalupe Basin Coalition, Board member of the Central Texas Technology Center, Board member for the Alamo Area Academies Institute at Alamo Colleges, and Board Secretary of The Spark Small Business Center in New Braunfels, and Board member of the New Braunfels Food Bank. He is actively involved in continuing the development of higher education, workforce training, and business development opportunities in New Braunfels and Comal County.
The announcement of the Besserung Award winner capped off the evening, but prior to that the banquet program included a keynote address by seven-time Olympic medalist Shannon Miller, several award recognitions, and the ceremonial passing of the gavel from Outgoing Chair Brandon Dietert of New Braunfels Smokehouse, Inc. to the 2018 Chair of the Board Robin Jeffers of J & R Gymnastics.
The award recognitions included the Chamber’s Blue Coat Ambassador program recognizing their new Senior Blue Coats and Blue Coats of 2017 and announcing award winners Larry Alexander as the Blue Coat of the Year and Rita Powell as the Senior Blue Coat of the Year.
Chair of the Board Award winners and Honors Hall inductees were recognized next. The Chair of the Board Award honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the community in a specific field of civic endeavor. No more than six recipients may be named in a calendar year. The 2017 Chair of the Board Award winners were Henry Ford, Myra Lee Goff, Jeff Jewell, Jo Ann West, Becky Wiggins and Pat Wiggins
The Hall of Honor Award recognizes individuals who have participated in civic activities over many years and are at least 50 years of age. A maximum of three recipients may be named in a calendar year and their photograph will be included as a permanent exhibit in the Chamber’s Honors Hall. The 2017 Hall of Honor inductees were Joe Castilleja, Mark Hampton, and Bob Smith.