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An open invitation to EXPO

The invitation is delivered on newsprint in today’s edition of the Mississippi Business Journal, not fancy stationery that will arrive in your mailbox. But the message is just as genuine, just as sincere.

Please join us.

With Comcast in the role of title sponsor, the Mississippi Business Journal and a number of our partners will host the 26th-annual Mississippi Business and Technology EXPO Wednesday and Thursday at the Mississippi Trademart.

It appears to be the best lineup ever.

A two-day schedule is crammed full of awards, seminars, activities, food and networking opportunities following the same format that has earned such acclaim in previous years. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend and we hope you’ll not only be among them, but that you’ll bring your co-workers and friends as well.

Announcement of the state’s “Best Places to Work” will occur at the kickoff breakfast sponsored by the Mississippi Development Authority and Teklinks at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, claiming significant distinction in a “best of the best” evaluation process, followed by the official ribbon cutting and opening of the EXPO exhibit hall.

Popular news veteran Howard Ballou will again serve as EXPO’s celebrity emcee.

More than 150 companies, industries, suppliers and vendors will take part this year, exposing us all to the latest of technological advances and services in a myriad of areas. Many will offer door prizes throughout the event.

Top-of-the-line seminars, provided by Gay Saxton of the Eagle Ridge Conference Center of Hinds Community College and Anthony Keith Lowe of Mississippi State University’s Outreach Program will discuss timely topics like Coaching 101 and Continuing Your Education Through Distance Learning in back-to-back one-hour morning sessions that begin at 10.

The noon spotlight focuses on another highlight, the 16th-annual luncheon recognizing Mississippi’s newest Top 40 Under 40 class of community and state leaders, men and women under age 40 who have accomplished much. It’s a unique and impressive list, to be certain, with BancorpSouth and Cellular South in sponsoring roles.

Experience EXPO – make certain you visit the Tech Cluster sponsored by the Mississippi Technology Alliance and SafetyNets — and sit in on afternoon seminars. Jason Pope, Jim Harper, Bill Lancaster and James Bennett join Saxton and Lowe to lead discussions on Safety and Health at the Office, Does OSHA apply to me?, Teambuilding 101 and Show Me the Money! and all likely to draw much attention.

The pace shifts at 5 p.m. when Business Communications Inc. and the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership join forces with music by The Chill and food from two dozen of the state’s top eateries to close out a busy agenda with a Business After Hours session designed for conversation, fellowship and fun.

Thursday’s schedule is no less full, no less exciting.

The EXPO opens at 10 a.m. and Saxon guides a seminar on Diversity 101 at 10 that will be followed by another of the event’s most popular and cherished events.

Mississippi’s Business Woman of the Year will be named at an 11:30 a.m. luncheon sponsored by BankPlus, the Mississippi Economic Council and St. Dominic Health Services and bringing to conclusion a six-month period of recognition for excellence. Fifty of the state’s top women business executives were singled out last August for their contributions. All will be honored again Thursday. Ten will be named finalists for the event’s highest honor and one will be named Business Woman of the Year. It promises to be an occasion of much distinction.

Seminars continue throughout the day.

Terry Baum and Shawn Borkus will present a session on Workforce Training 101 at 11. Lowe leads consecutive programs on Microsoft 2007 vs. 2003? and Training for Promotion or Career Change beginning at noon and Harper, Lancaster and Bennett close out the sessions at 2 p.m. with tips for Writing a Business Plan.

The EXPO closes Thursday at 3 p.m.

Our hope is that you agree. It is quite a lineup, one brought to you by some of the state’s top business organizations. All we need to make it the best ever and a true who’s who of the Mississippi business community is you, your associates, your co-workers and your friends.

Best of all, general admission is free by registering or bringing a business card.

And the invitation is open. We look forward to seeing you there.

Contact MBJ editor/publisher Ed Darling at ed.darling@msbusiness.com.

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