When they do a gala, the LGBT business owners of the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce don’t mess around. Case in point: AGLCC’s posh annual Community Awards Dinner on Friday.

The nominees named, the Lifetime Achievement Award announced, and tickets all sold, all that was left was for the group to gather at the W Midtown for a posh dinner affair to see who won the 2012 honors for the organization’s top gay Atlanta businesspeople. Lesbian radio personality Melissa Carter played emcee, and it turned out to be a big night for Q&A Events, the behind-the-scenes coordinators of Atlanta Pride among several other high-profile local festivals, conventions and fundraisers.

Business Woman of the Year went to Sheila Merritt, Q&A’s business development vice president (photo, left), and it wasn’t long before Q&A President Suzanne Bough (third from left) was accepting AGLCC Member of the Year for the company, which also includes General Manager Colleen Wogan (second from left).

“This organization is so near and dear to my heart,” Merritt said of AGLCC. “This really means so much to me.” Baugh echoed that sentiment on behalf of the whole company: “We are so passionate about his community; we are so passionate about this organization.”

Adam Rimes (second from right) of the outsourcing consulting firm Administrivia was named Business Man of the Year and shared the honor with his clientele. “My heroes are my clients,” he said. “I get to experience the magic of their lives.”

Atlanta Pride Board Chair Glen Paul Freedman (right) won the Guardian Angel award, SunTrust (third from right) was named Corporate Ally, and the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Richard Rhodes (center).

Rhodes was the first openly gay man to run for office in Georgia back in 1988 and the first gay delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Georgia that same year. He also became the first openly gay chair of the DeKalb Democratic Party in 1993.

And at 75, Rhodes is still working to make a difference. He is active in Atlanta’s chapter of SAGE for LGBT elders, the gay social group Prime Timers and Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

“I want to work on a virtual village for the LGBT seniors in DeKalb County,” Rhodes said, adding that he also has in his sights a non-discrimination clause in the charter for the new city Brookhaven, which officially becomes a DeKalb city in December.

Photos by Sher Pruitt