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Road Runner Business Class steps up, unveils advanced services

Title, major sponsors see important EXPO opportunities

The 2005 Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO marks the first year for Road Runner Business Class to step up as title sponsor, and for the Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA) to increase its support as a major sponsor.

“I know that I say this every year, but this will be the best EXPO we have ever had,” said Mississippi Business Journal special projects director Robbie Bell. “The partnership with Road Runner Business Class as title sponsor really brings a new dimension to our promotion capabilities. The major sponsorship of the Mississippi Technology Alliance brings many other great assets to the table.”

Doug Hodnett, director of business services for Time-Warner’s Jackson-Monroe division, said the company chose to increase its sponsorship “because we view the EXPO as the premier technology event of the year, with the broadest appeal on the business-to-business level.”

“It made sense for us to take advantage of this being the largest attended event of its type in Mississippi,” he said. “The EXPO provides a more targeted venue to reach the real decision-makers than other business events. People that typically attend the EXPO are not just tire-kickers. They tend to be more interested in coming to the show to find out what impact vendors can have on their businesses.”

At the EXPO, Road Runner Business Class will launch two advanced service levels, said Hodnett.

“The Road Runner Business Class service has matured, and our two advanced service levels are very much on the leading edge of technology in our industry,” he pointed out. “For example, we provide gigabits, not megabits, of dedicated fiber optic cable to the business premises. We are introducing a technology that will now allow our physical plant to provide an alternative to the local loop for the last mile. Anybody that tracks telecommunications knows that is the Holy Grail of this industry: to provide an alternate solution to the phone company.”

The popularity of Cyber Café, where attendees can retrieve e-mail or surf the Internet, prompted Time-Warner to provide Internet service throughout the Trade Mart this year, allowing vendors for the first time “to see how robust our service is and how well it works,” said Hodnett.

Last year, MTA sponsored the EXPO’s Technology Clusters, and Bell renamed the EXPO to reflect the growth in technology companies and their economic impact. This year, MTA increased its role to major sponsor of the event because “the Mississippi Business Journal has always been an outstanding partner in promoting the value of technology, what it means to businesses, what it means to families, and how it has a positive impact on our state’s economy,” said MTA president and CEO Andy Taggart. “We are proud and honored to once again help sponsor one of Mississippi’s most prominent events.”

MTA, Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Trustmark Bank, and SuperTalk MS are sponsoring the EXPO’s Salute to Business & Industry Kick-Off Breakfast.

“One of MDA’s areas of concentration for 2005 is in helping existing Mississippi businesses become more competitive,” said MDA spokesperson Scott Hamilton. “This EXPO is a great way for MDA to reach out to business people in Mississippi and make them aware of programs like workforce training assistance, government contract procurement and energy saving audits, just to name a few.

“We all know that people throughout the country often underestimate Mississippians, but sometimes Mississippians underestimate one another. We think sponsoring the Salute to Business & Industry is a great way to celebrate business achievement and remind ourselves of the great accomplishments occurring in Mississippi.”

Adams and Reese, LLP, and BancorpSouth are sponsoring the Top 40 Under 40 Luncheon.

“Adams and Reese is pleased to be among the sponsors supporting the Mississippi Business Journal’s success and continued efforts to promote business and technology through the Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO,” said managing partner Charles P. Adams Jr. “We congratulate the EXPO on its 22nd year. We view the EXPO as an opportunity to exchange ideas, build relationships, and show our support by just saying ‘thanks’ to our many friends in business. As we enter our third year of sponsorship, we are proud once again to be a part of what has become one of the preeminent business expos in the South.”

The Top 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon provides the opportunity for the full-service law firm of more than 260 attorneys to recognize 40 outstanding young people who represent the future of Mississippi, said Adams.

“I have long been impressed with the caliber of the honorees and their accomplishments in business and within the community,” he said. “It is important that young talent be recognized, cultivated and encouraged, and also used as an example for others to emulate. I look forward to meeting each honoree and being a part of the recognition these exceptional recipients deserve.”

MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce, WLBT and AmSouth Bank are sponsoring Business After Hours, and BellSouth, Holman Automotive, St. Dominic Hospital, Union Planters Bank and the Mississippi Economic Council are sponsoring the Mississippi Business Woman of the Year Luncheon.

“BellSouth has been an exhibitor at the Business & Technology EXPO for the last four years,” said BellSouth Mississippi spokesperson Mike Walker. “The company has also sponsored the 50 Leading Business Women event for the last three years. We enjoy being associated with this event because of the positive feedback we receive from the women honored by the program, and it ties in very well with BellSouth’s diversity efforts.”

MTA, Nissan and Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada, PLLC, are sponsoring the Technology Clusters. Associated Builders and Contractors is hosting the Construction Zones and the MDA Division of Tourism and Pearl River Resort are hosting the Meetings, Conventions and Tourism Mall. Jackie’s International, Community Coffee and the Jackson Coca-Cola Bottling Company are sharing Exhibitor Lounge sponsorships, while Hollywood Casino is hosting the Activity Aisle, BankPlus is providing the Seminar Tent, TempStaff is handling registration, and SuperTalk MS and WLBT are sponsoring live remote TV and radio broadcasts.

Sponsorships have grown by one-third this year, reflecting increased support from loyal EXPO sponsors and the addition of several new sponsors, said Bell.

“Our corporate partners make it possible for us to give the honorees in each program the quality events they deserve,” said Bell. “This applies also to EXPO. Because of the level of sponsorships to which we’ve grown, and the continued sell-out of exhibit booths, we can ‘dress up’ the Trade Mart and give attendees a very pleasant visual experience.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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