Business leader, Georgia Southern superfan and philanthropist, Doug Lambert has been named the Rotary Citizen of the Year. The award is given annually by the combined clubs, The Rotary Club of Statesboro and the Downtown Rotary Club.

The award was presented by long time friend of Doug’s, Statesboro Attorney Kenny Stone, who also received the Citizen of the Year award in 1995.

Kenny and Doug both began their careers in Statesboro working with the late Lehman Franklin. Both would tell you that this beginning set the stage for not only their impressive careers but their deep commitment to and understanding of the importance of investing time and talents into our community in extraordinary ways.

If you look back over the growth and success of our community these two men’s handprints are at every turn.

Even though Lambert is not a native of Statesboro, he will tell you that he got here as quick as he could. Georgia Southern was the reason he came and he has never forgotten the importance of this journey, nor the impact Georgia Southern made on his life.

Rather than try an recap Dough’s long, distinguished list of accomplishments, I will allow Kenny Stone do that for you, through his wonderfully written introduction of Doug as the Citizen of the Year.

Doug Lambert accepting the award

Kenny Stone’s Introduction of Doug Lambert

It’s an honor to have been asked to introduce the 2022 Rotary Citizen of the Year because Doug Lambert is a person I hold in high regard. I want to begin by asking you to think about the qualities of a good citizen. One philosopher has identified those qualities as follows:

A Good Citizen is Patriotic;
A Productive Member of Society;
Active in their Community;
A Participant in the political life of their nation, state and community; and Who serves as a Mentor to others.

Doug has all of those qualities and more. A native of Atlanta, he came to Statesboro in the late 1960s to attend Georgia Southern College. When he graduated from GSC in 1971 with a BBA Degree in Marketing, he accepted a position with a local business and chose to make Statesboro his home. That decision has had a profound impact on this community for more than 50 years, and Bulloch County is a better place to live and work because of his decades of service as an involved citizen.

His positive effect on this community is a testament to the intangible benefits of an institution such as Georgia Southern University in attracting exceptional young people from around the country to our area, many of whom choose to remain here following graduation, and who contribute their leadership and talents to improving our community.

The Irish author and philosopher Charles Handy once said: “Citizenship is the chance to make a difference to the place where you belong.” That statement is fitting of our honoree because he chose to make a real difference in the place where he belongs.

Doug has been a leader in the hospitality industry for more than 50 years. As President of Southeastern Hospitality Services, Inc., he has developed and managed dozens of hotels with brands that are familiar to all of us: Marriott, Hilton, Hampton Inn, Staybridge Suites, Wyndham, Holiday Inn, and WoodSprings Suites – just to name a few. He is a former member of the Staybridge Suites National Advisory Board; a former Director of the American Hotel & Lodging Association; a past Chairman of the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association; and a past Chairman of the Hospitality & Travel Foundation of Georgia.

He served as a Director of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; and was a founding member and Charter President of the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He also is a member of the Georgia Tourism Round Table and Chairman of the
Academic Advisory Council of the Georgia Southern University Hotel & Restaurant Management Program.

Professionally he has been honored with the 1994 Lawson Odde award presented by the American Hotel & Lodging Association for substantial contributions to the lodging industry. In addition, he was named as the 1990 Hospitality Leader of the Year by the Statesboro Convention & Visitor’s Bureau; the 1990 Travel Industry Member of the Year by the Magnolia Midlands Travel Association; and the 1986 Georgia Hotelier of the Year.
His civic involvement in this community offers the perfect example of a good citizen.

He is a:
• Past Chairman of the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce;
• Member of the Development Authority of Bulloch County;
• Member of the Bulloch County Airport Authority;
• Member of the Advisory Council of the College of Business Administration at Georgia
Southern University;
• Past President of the Ogeechee Technical College Foundation;
• an Alumni of Leadership Bulloch;
• Past President of Forest Heights Country Club;
• Member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro;
• Former Assistant Governor of District 6920 of Rotary International;
• Member and Past Chairman of the Coastal Workforce Services Board in Savannah; and
• Member of the local Advisory Board of Morris Bank.

In 1997, he was named as the Georgia Southern University, College of Business Administration, Alumnus of the Year; and in 2015 he was recognized as Business Leader of the Year by the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce.

Various words have been used to describe Doug: civic leader, entrepreneur, developer, manager, visionary, planner, volunteer, organizer, community advocate, and mentor. All are appropriate and convey a sense of his commitment to serving this community. His involvement as an outstanding citizen spans a period of 50 years, and his many contributions will have a lasting impact on this community for generations to come.

On a personal level, he is a devoted father and grandfather. He and his wife, Karen, have been richly blessed with five children and six grandchildren, most of whom are here today in honor of our recipient.

Please join me in recognizing Doug Lambert as the 2022 Rotary Citizen of the Year.

Grice Connect extends our congratulations to Doug Lambert on this well deserved honor.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...