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Expo set for Aug. 15-16

Pine Belt readies for 12th edition of trade show

HATTIESBURG — The folks at the Area Development Partnership (ADP), the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center and scores of businesses across the Pine Belt region are in high gear as they prepare for the ADT Security Services Inc. Great Pine Belt Business and Industry Exposition, to be held Aug. 15-16, 2002, at Lake Terrace. In its 12th year, the program is the largest business-to-business and business-to-consumer trade show in the area.

“We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s expo,” said Beth Hayden, general manager of ADT Security Services Inc. “To be associated with such a successful event that is a long-standing tradition in the Greater Hattiesburg business community is truly a benefit to our business. We are looking forward to the exposure and networking opportunities this event will provide.”

More than 80 exhibitors are expected to be on hand at this year’s show to display their products and services. In addition to ADT, other sponsors include the Hattiesburg American (platinum sponsor); BellSouth, BellSouth Yellow Pages, Forrest General Hospital and Enviro (gold sponsors); and South Mississippi Rural Health and Cingular

Wireless (bronze sponsors).

BellSouth will be highlighting its high-speed DSL Internet service, its text-messaging pager and other products and services. In the past, BellSouth and BellSouth Yellow Pages had separate booths, but they have combined their efforts for the 2002 event. And BellSouth Yellow Pages will not only be offering its region-wide phone directories, it will also push its relatively new offering of online directory assistance and the advertising opportunities that presents.

“We just feel like the Pine Belt expo affords us the most efficient way to get our products and services in front of people face-to-face, to build and brand our name to both residential customers and businesses” said Tim Ryan, BellSouth regional manager. “Because the show is both business-to-consumer and business-to-business, it is doubly attractive to us. We’re excited and looking forward to the event.”

Exhibitors expected to be on hand represent the spectrum of the area’s business community. Telecommunications, health care, education, computer technology, real estate, retailers and more will have presence at the trade show.

For Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources, the show is all about

exposure. Joann Marsh, public information coordinator, said the company uses the event to let area residents know it offers locations in nine counties, employs more than 450 workers and serves approximately 9,000 individuals annually. Pine Belt Mental Healthcare offers services for adults and children as well as the chemical dependent and developmentally disabled.

“The show offers an excellent opportunity for us to let people know about the level of service we offer in behavioral health care and raise the level of awareness of mental healthcare in general,” Marsh said. “We don’t expect someone to walk up to us on the trade show floor and ask for a depression screening, but we do want them to know we’re here and what we offer so if they or a loved one needs help, they know where to come.”

The event kicks off Aug. 15 with the popular Taste of the Pine Belt. The after-hours networking event features food from local restaurants. An exhibitors-only preview starts at 5 p.m., before the doors open to ADP members and invited guests at 5:30 p.m. The evening’s festivities will end at 7:30 p.m.

The exposition opens to the public Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. In addition to exhibits and demonstrations, the show will also offer door prizes and other giveaways. Tickets at the door are $3 for adults and $1 for children 10 and under. Anyone submitting a business card at the door will be given free admittance.

“We have some exciting things planned for this year’s show,” said Melissa Scott, owner of Success Marketing and 2002 volunteer chairperson of the trade show. “For the first time, we have a presenting sponsor — ADT — which will, along with other vendors, have something huge at the front door when you walk in. Last year, Chef Paul put on cooking demonstrations that were very popular with exhibitors and attendees. We’ve expanded that this year, and several chefs will be offering demonstrations and samples to taste throughout the day.

“I’ve been involved with the Pine Belt expo for many years and in a number of different capacities. As a business owner, it gives me a chance to network and see a wide variety of products and services under one roof. It is the premier business-to-business trade show in this area, and I’m proud to associated with it.”

The Great Pine Belt Business and Industry Exposition is produced by the ADP. For more information on this year’s event, call Beverly Dunnam, the ADP’s programs and special events manager, at (601) 296-7500, or reach her via e-mail at b.dunnam@the ADP.com.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

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