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For two big days every January, it’s all about EXPO

Every year, the holiday season ends abruptly for the Mississippi Business Journal staff. As soon as we return from New Year’s, we move into EXPO mode — EXPO being shorthand for the Mississippi Business and Technology EXPO. This year the show will be held January 17th and 18th at the Mississippi Trademart in Jackson.

Just two days and it’s over. Sneeze and you’ll miss it.
Notwithstanding the shortness of the show, the preparation takes months of planning and coordinating. And, the results for our sponsors and exhibitors are clear justification for the effort. Many sponsors and exhibitors have been with us for a decade or more.

Trustmark National Bank has been an EXPO supporter every year since the show began 24 years ago.

As we say every year, this year’s show is shaping up to be the biggest ever. The reason we say that is because it’s true. EXPO has almost trebled in size over the last five or six years and, truly, this year will, no doubt, set another record for number of booths and attendees.

Exciting success stories

In addition to more than 200 business service and product exhibits displaying the latest and greatest, EXPO is the venue we use to celebrate some really exciting success stories. Our Top 40 Under 40 program recognizes 40 of the up-and-coming youngsters in our state. This event is always a sell-out and a joy to produce.

This year’s group is truly impressive and serves as an inspiration for all that hear their stories. Our sponsor this year for the Top 40 awards luncheon is Adams and Reese, LLP.

EXPO kicks off with the Best Places to Work in Mississippi breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 17th.
We’ll recognize a handful of small, medium and large businesses that go far beyond merely producing products and services and provide great places to work for their employees. Trustmark National Bank and the Mississippi Development Authority are our sponsors for this year’s celebration.

To put together the information for judging the best places to work, we partnered with Southern Research Group (SRG) and the Mississippi Society for Human Resource Management (SHR). We really appreciate their contribution to EXPO.
On Thursday, January 18th we’ll celebrate the unveiling of the Mississippi Business Woman of the Year.

Each year, in August, we honor Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women at a two day event that includes a festive dinner, seminars and an awards luncheon at Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond. From this group of 50, our judges select 12 contenders for the title of “Mississippi’s Business Woman of the Year.”

All 50 women are honored at the January 18th luncheon and a good time is in store for all. Sponsors for our 10th anniversary luncheon are Regions Bank, the Mississippi Economic Council, St. Dominic Hospital, BellSouth and Cingular Wireless.

Party time

From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 17th, it’s party time as the largest Business After Hours party of the year swings into gear. Exhibits remain open while attendees network in the exhibit hall. They’ll enjoy music by Hunter & The Gators, eat food offered by some of the Tri-County area’s top restaurants, visit the cash bars and relax after a long kickoff day. Sponsors for this year are M & F Bank, MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce, WLBT TV-3 and SuperTalk MS. Come join the fun. Admission to the party is $5 at the door.

Thankful for the support

This year we again welcome Comcast Business Class (formerly Time Warner Cable) as our presenting sponsor for EXPO.
This show is expensive to produce and we could not do the job without the financial support of all of our sponsors and exhibitors.

Any attempt to thank those who volunteer to help with EXPO would be incomplete without mentioning the efforts of the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce whose volunteers do everything from greet attendees to help get folks to their seats at the event luncheons. Volunteers from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Jackson Business Network provide valuable services as well. These groups have been vital to our success for the past six EXPOs.

Shortly after EXPO, I’m having knee replacement surgery on both knees. I hope everyone will come by and say goodbye to my loyal knees that have supported me so well for 58 years. Next year, I intend to be leaping about like a gazelle. Well, I can dream can’t I?

Thought for the Moment

If you want to know how rich you really are, find out what would be left of you tomorrow if you should lose every dollar you own tonight.

— Clergyman William J. H. Boetcker

Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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