Man Who Conquered Everest Speaks at Dinner

Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough Leadership and human performance specialist Alan Mallory speaks during the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Thursday. He urged members to face challenges head-on in order to achieve success.

Overcoming challenges is an important part of life and business, and on Thursday members of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce heard from a man who conquered one of the biggest challenges on the planet.

Alan Mallory, an international speaker, author and human development trainer, recounted his trek up Mount Everest while serving as keynote speaker for the chamber’s annual dinner. The engineer and leadership coach shared details of his journey, completed in 2008 with his brother, sister and father after his mother suffered a fall and was forced to return home for treatment.

The dangerous, arduous two-month trip was made using many of the same strategies people draw on to achieve success in other aspects of life and business — time and schedule management, risk mitigation, collaboration and teamwork, cost management, monitoring performance data, conflict resolution, quality management and clear communication. Mallory described the terrifying ascent over ice flows and rock faces, noting that focus, commitment, trust, hope and growth all were required for the group to finish the trip and make it to the summit.

Mallory painted vivid pictures of the narrow trails shared with yaks and other climbers, the seemingly bottomless crevasses the group had to cross, the thin air that left them grasping for breath and the frightening moments they experienced whenever anything went wrong. But he also relayed the elation he and his companions felt upon reaching the top of the world and said such a sense of fulfillment is attainable by anyone.

Quoting Sir Edmund Hillary, who led the first expedition known to have reached the top of Everest, Mallory said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Mallory urged the audience members to set their own goals and objectives and then strive to achieve them.

“Everyone has their own Everest,” he said. “It’s easier to turn back than to face the challenges ahead.”

His inspirational message followed the presentation of awards to several area businesses:

∫ Kalkreuth Roofing was named the Safety Professional of the Year, presented by Belmont County Safety Council and Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation;

∫ The Community Improvement Award went to Kelly’s Suite II, presented by St. Clair Commons;

∫ Residence Inn of St. Clairsville was recognized as the Distinguished Employer of the Year, presented by Belco Works; and

∫ The Ohio Valley Mall was honored with the Business of the Year award, presented by Belmont Savings Bank.

Wheeling Hospital served as the presenting sponsor of the event, held at and catered by Undo’s of St. Clairsville.

Platinum sponsors included Belco Works, Belmont Savings Bank and St. Clair Commons. Diamond sponsors were XTO Energy and Belmont County Safety Council. The Residence Inn was the gold sponsor, while The Times Leader and Home Savings bank served as reception sponsors. Table sponsors included Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Riesbeck’s, Belmont Aggregates, Sleep Inn & Suites Belmont, iHeartMedia and Perry & Associates. Ohio Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, and Steptoe & Johnson were patron sponsors of the event.

Gregg Warren, spokesman for Wheeling Hospital, said the annual banquet provides a perfect opportunity for local businesses to come together and recognize their accomplishments for the year.

“Wheeling Hospital is pleased to be able to be a sponsor and promote the chamber and the good work it does on behalf of its members and the community,” Warren said. “The hospital, whenever possible, tries to support the community, and this is a worthwhile event.”

Barb Ballint, executive director of the Belmont County Tourism Council, agreed that the yearly gathering is important to the local business community.

“Tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand,” she said. “This is a great annual event to promote networking and improve the business community.”