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Entrepreneur of the Year finalists represent best of business

This marks the first year of the Mississippi Business Journal’s participation in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award program, which recognizes successful entrepreneurs throughout the United States. The founder of the program, Ernst & Young, CPAs, is one of the largest accounting firms in the world and one of my former employers. We are honored to be the media sponsor for the Mississippi portion of the program.

The program honors ingenuity, hard work and perseverance. A panel of independent judges makes the selections. Regional winners from Mississippi and Louisiana will be honored at a banquet June 15 in New Orleans. These companies will then be eligible for the 2000 National Entrepreneur of the Year awards program to be held Nov. 11, 2000 in Palm Springs, Calif.

To be considered, the company must have been in operation for at least two years. If the company is publicly-held, the founder must be an active member of top management. Both owners and managers who are primarily responsible for the growth of a company are eligible. The competition is tough. Mississippi has so many business success stories to tell that selecting the winners is, of necessity, an onerous task. I’m glad that we are a media sponsor and not a judge.

This year, Mississippi will be represented by eight successful entrepreneurs, representing six different companies. Mississippi’s finalists are:

• James D. Alexander, A & B Electric, Meridian

• William Alias III and John H. Lewis, Security Check, Oxford

• William T. “Bill” Hogg, Valley Innovative Services, Jackson

• Billy and Linda Howard, Howard Industries, Laurel

• William M. “Billy” Mounger II, Tritel Inc., Jackson

• Gail Pittman, Gail Pittman Inc., Ridgeland

Anyone at all attuned to the world of Mississippi business would have to agree that this is a very impressive line-up. They come from all around the state, all different kinds of businesses and each with a unique story to tell.

All of us should be appreciative for the successes of these folks. They have created jobs, supported their community and told the world that Mississippi is a good place to start and grow businesses.

Since this was our first year to be the media sponsor for the program, we didn’t know how well our readers would respond. We had no reason to worry. Our readers stepped up to the plate and submitted numerous nominations for the judges consideration. We are ever thankful for our loyal readers who always generously support our projects.

All of us at the Mississippi Business Journal salute the winners, and we look forward to attending the awards banquet with them in New Orleans. We appreciate the opportunity to be associated with the program. Ernst & Young is a first-class organization and they make a major contribution to American business through the Entrepreneur of the Year Program.

Contact MBJ publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA, at cpajones@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1010.


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