American flags and colorful balloon bouquets will brighten the halls of Mississippi Business EXPO 2003. More than 4,000 decision-makers are expected at the state’s largest business-to-business marketing event, scheduled Jan. 22-23 at the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson.
“We are celebrating our 20th year, and Mississippi Business EXPO has grown substantially since it began in 1983,” said Mississippi Business Journal publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA. “We are appreciative of all the support we have received from the business community to make EXPO Mississippi’s premier marketing opportunity.”
More than 200 exhibitors are slated to showcase their products and services, which represent telecommunications, software, finance, insurance, environmental science, health services, tourism and hospitality services, industry associations, educational institutions, retail businesses, office furnishings and other sectors. Eighty-five percent of exhibitors return every year.
“Mississippi Business EXPO is a good bargain,” said Robbie L. Bell, director of special projects for MBJ. “Most of the show’s attendees come from companies with a yearly sales volume of over $1 million. Sixty percent said they want to keep up with new technology, trends and services. Forty percent come because they are invited by an exhibitor and want to find out more about the company. The average attendee spends an average of two hours and 30 minutes at EXPO.”
Attending Mississippi Business EXPO has become such a tradition among business leaders that stormy weather and fluctuating temperatures didn’t dampen enthusiasm last year. EXPO 2002 was the “best EXPO yet” with “more activity and better traffic,” said Kate Eddy, partner of The DelKen Group, a human resource outsource firm based in Ridgeland.
“The Mississippi Business EXPO is a real opportunity not only for your business to promote its services but for business professionals to network and learn about other products and services available in the marketplace,” said Ken Barlow, president of The DelKen Group.
Four special events — Salute to Business and Industry Kick-off Breakfast, Top 40 Under 40 Luncheon, Business After Hours and Mississippi Business Woman of the Year Luncheon — are expected to draw an additional 2,500 attendees. All keynote speakers and entertainers are Mississippians, either native or by choice, said Bell.
“We have so much talent here— so many accomplished speakers that have a strong message for the audience — that there was no need to go outside the state,” said Bell. “It seemed natural to have our programming done by successful Mississippians for the Mississippi business community.”
The Kick-off Salute breakfast
More than 400 business leaders are expected to participate in the Salute to Business and Industry Kick-off Breakfast, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 22 and featuring keynote speaker Haley Barbour.
Sponsored by CopyTek-tronics and Trustmark, the breakfast event will honor Mississippi businesses in three categories — corporate citizenship, emerging companies and innovation. The selection criteria are quality of life, leadership, community investment, labor management relations and recognition in the community.
“We hear the term ‘good corporate citizen’ all the time, but what does that mean? It means being active in the community. It means treating employees with dignity and respect. It means being a role model for other businesses. These are the companies Salute to Business and Industry seeks to honor — those that have made a difference in people’s lives,” said Jones.
“One aspect that makes the awards program unique is that it honors businesses and industries for much more than just a healthy bottom line,” said Bell. “These companies have contributed to the economy and quality of life, transcended obstacles to achieve success in their fields and boosted the business community. These are the sometimes overlooked companies that have truly made a difference in Mississippi.”
Two new categories have been added to this year’s lineup: Emerging Companies and Innovations. The Most Promising Emerging Company Award will honor a company that has been in business for five years or less and has achieved outstanding accomplishments based on demonstrated growth in both revenue and employees, community involvement and success in meeting the objectives set forth in its business plan. The Innovation Award will recognize a company that has contributed an outstanding new product or service during the previous year. The award will measure uniqueness, value added to the economy and the overall significance of the innovation.
“Those are the types of businesses we like to be associated with,” said Mike Coker, president of CopyTek-tronics in Jackson. “They have met strenuous criteria concerning total payroll, impact and involvement in the community (and) care not only about the marketplace, but about the state of Mississippi as well.”
Based in Jackson, Trustmark has supported Mississippi Business EXPO since its inception. “This event gives our business relationship bankers time to showcase our range of financial services in a cordial and accommodating atmosphere,” said Trustmark spokesman Gray Wiggers.
The Kinsmen of First Baptist Church (FBC) in Jackson will provide entertainment.
“This is such an incredible group of businessmen — architects, lawyers, bankers and CPAs — and that goes right along with our focus on business success and community involvement for EXPO 2003,” said Bell. “It’s especially appropriate for (Tommy McMillin) an executive from Trustmark, one of our sponsors, to be included.”
Musicians David Holmes, Tommy Raines and George Reid, under the direction of Eva A. Hart, pianist and musical assistant at FBC, will back the 16 men, who are all active members of the 325-voice FBC Sanctuary Choir. The Kinsmen are:
• Brian Adkins, financial analyst for Delphi Corp.;
• Karl Byrd, CFP, of Security Ballew Inc.;
• Jim Halford, attorney for Brunini law firm;
• Mike Keeling, director of accounting for Reformed Theological Seminary;
• Pete Massey, attorney for Shapiro & Massey, LLP;
• John McCormick, retired BellSouth executive;
• Tommy McMillin, vice president of personal banking for Trustmark;
• Jobie Melton, CPA, of Horne CPA Group;
• Robert Polk, architect;
• S.T. Ray, sales representative for Roche Pharmaceutical;
• Fred Rushton, clinical professor of vascular surgery for the
University of Mississippi Medical Center;
• Randy Russell, executive director/regulatory for BellSouth;
• Mark Sansing, manager of product services for Ergon;
• Ken Sims, vice president of sales and broadcast video for Mission Services Supply;
• Paul Staires, computer consultant for Enhanced Systems & Consulting; and,
• Terry Whittington, business manager for Waller & Waller.
Barbour, in the political spotlight,
giving Salute keynote address
A decade ago this month, featured keynote speaker Haley Barbour was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. In November 1994, Republicans won the greatest midterm majority sweep of the 20th century. On January 20, 1995, two years to the day before the next presidential inauguration, Barbour, won by unanimous vote re-election for the second term as chairman.
A seventh-generation Mississippian and graduate of Ole Miss law school, Barbour was a practicing attorney and partner in the law firm of Barbour and Rogers, with offices in Mississippi and Washington, D.C. when he took a hiatus from his law practice in 1985 to serve Ronald Reagan as director of the White Ho
use Office of Po
litical Affairs. Barbour also served as a senior adviser to the George Bush for President campaign in 1988.
Last November, Republicans retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and regained control of the U.S. Senate. B
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