JACKSON — With so many entrants in the 2003 Salute to Business and Industry Awards, it’s easy to understand why choosing the winners was such a difficult decision for this year’s three judges.
Dr. Nola Gibson, director of enrichment and special projects at Millsaps College; Dr. Gerald Lee, professor of economics and director of the MBA program at Mississippi College; and Dr. Charles Dennis, economist and professor emeritus for the University of Southern Mississippi School of Business, were this year’s judges. The Salute is a special project of the Mississippi Business Journal.
“It was impressive to see what some companies are doing in the areas we were asked to look at,” Gibson said, who has judged for the past two years. “We looked at each entry in each category, then after we had individually ranked them we discussed our findings. There was one tie, but we agreed on that and on all winners except one, and that was easily resolved.”
Gibson said when choosing the winners from each category — small, medium and large commercial, industrial, small and large food and lodging, health, retail, small, medium and large nonprofit, most promising emerging company and most innovative company — it was important to look at a companies’ total contribution.
“I think we were all impressed at how inventive, successful and socially responsible many of these Mississippi companies are, especially in light of the economy in general today,” he said.
And the retailer division award goes to…
Jack Reed Jr. said he was delighted that his business, Reed’s, was awarded this year’s Salute to Business and Industry award in the retail category. Reed’s is a 97-year-old independent retailer with two stores in Tupelo and one each in Columbus and Starkville.
“I would hope that, at best, it would bring recognition for our staff — that they would feel good about it and proud to have their good work verified publicly like that,” Reed said. “I’d also like for our customers to feel good about it.”
Reed believes what put his store above other entrants in the retail category was a number of different things, including the fact that they’ve been able to survive and prevail in a competitive independent store marketplace.
“I remember as a child there were hundreds and hundreds of independently owned stores, most of which were family owned,” Reed said. “Every small town had at least one and in some cases two or three. But now, it’s not like that anymore. I’m happy to say, however, that our business has remained strong in northeast Mississippi through all these years.”
An industrial strength winner
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems was named the winner in the industrial division. Bill Glenn, company manager of publications and community relations, said Northrop Grumman was very pleased to have been selected as the best in that category. He thanked George Freeland, director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, for spearheading the nomination that resulted in the selection of Northrop Grumman for this recognition.
“Our relationship with the State of Mississippi has a long and mutually beneficial history,” Glenn said. “As the largest industrial employer in the state, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems takes great pride in the contributions we are making to the economic powerhouse that South Mississippi is becoming. Our leadership roles in major U.S. Navy programs such as DD(X) and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater program will keep us at the forefront of our nation’s defense, homeland security efforts and Mississippi’s economy for years to come.”
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems believes strongly in the concept of being a responsible corporate citizen as well as a good neighbor, said Glenn.
“We are proud to be a part of the Gulf Coast community and that shines through in our employees, many of whom are actively involved in civic and volunteer groups and activities aimed at helping our local families and businesses achieve their best,” he said. “Our respect and appreciation for our employees is well known and the ripple effect of that mutual esteem makes our local communities dynamic and brilliant assets to Mississippi and to the United States.”
Mende Malouf Alford with the Old Capitol Inn said it was much to her surprise that the hotel, the vision of Jackson attorney Mike Malouf, was nominated for the Salute in the small food and lodging category. Built in 1952 for the YWCA, Malouf saw the charm and beauty in the place and bought it in 1995. After undergoing extensive renovations the facility opened in 1996 as a bed and breakfast.
“Of course we are very honored to have been selected in this category,” Alford said. “We feel that the dedication of our entire staff helped us to achieve this award.”
A promising company
Heritage Hospice, nominated by the Alliance in Corinth, was awarded in the most promising emerging company division. Heritage Hospice, which opened its doors with seven employees in 1999, had a total revenue its first year of $155,608. As of Oct. 1, 2002, the company boasted 39 workers and estimated total revenue for 2002 is $2.17 million.
Ricky E. Burgess, R.Ph., founder of Heritage Hospice, said he knew he had great employees, the makings of a great company. Still, he admits, he was stunned when Heritage Hospice was named the winner at this year’s Salute.
“The Lord has greatly blessed me and once again all the credit goes to Him,” Burgess said.
The small commercial division winner is…
The CPI Group Inc., a provider of both short- and long-term contract workforce to companies all over the Golden Triangle region of North Mississippi, was named the winner of the 2003 Salute to Business and Industry in the small commercial division.
Director of operations Karen S. Stanley said she was thrilled when she found out her company had been chosen as the winner.
“We are very happy with the growth our company has achieved in the past few years, the achievements and recognition we have received throughout the state, and proud we are also able to give back to the communities we are involved in,” Stanley said. “All the CPI staff is excited to see where our company is headed in the future.
CPI Group president and CEO Mark Smith said the company won the award as a result of the staff’s commitment to excellence.
“My staff is heavily involved with professional and charitable organizations on local, regional and national levels,” Smith said. “This in itself is something that I as a CEO am very proud of. My people are the ones who won this award because they are what make our business what it is. I am thrilled CPI has experienced the success it has.”
A healthy business
St. Dominic Health Services was named the winner in the health division. Subsidiaries of St. Dominic Health Services include St. Dominic Jackson Memorial Hospital, which covers 42 acres, housing 571 beds and employing more than 2,500 healthcare workers, New Directions for Over 55, HealthLine, the Care-A-Van and the St. Dominic Community Health Clinic.
Sister Mary Dorothea, president of St. Dominic Health Services, said she was extremely proud to see the company awarded top honors in the health division of this year’s Salute to Business and Industry Awards.
“St. Dominic’s submitted an entry in an effort to honor the fine people who comprised our excellent healthcare team-our employees, physicians, volunteers, auxiliary and the countless others who assist us in caring for those who entrust us with their care,” Sister Dorothea said. “We approach our work truly as a ministry and we realize we are blessed to have so many people supporting the Dominican Sisters in our missi
Drum roll please for the
small nonprofit division winner…
Terry Latham, director of Hope Haven, the winner in the small nonprofit division, liked the focus of the awards.