When the doors open for the Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO 2013, an industrious cadre of volunteers will ensure things run smoothly. Volunteers from the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership donate many hours of their time to make the yearly event a success.
Some of them will serve as registration assistants. Others help perform setups for the different events, meet and greet, take up tickets, answer questions, give directions and pass out goodie bags.
“Each of the four ladies from the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau has been employed with the CVB more than five years,” says Christine Blackmon-McInnis, CVB services director. “They will serve as the registration staff for the EXPO and assist with clerical responsibilities.”
The four registration volunteers from the Jackson CVB are Gloria Smith, Lee-Veris Garland, Beatrice Lambert and Vida Mills. The CVB will also donate bags and tourism information to be distributed.
Jenny Woodruff, communications director with the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, says the chamber volunteers have been helping with the EXPO for at least 25 years – or as long as anyone remembers. “They arrive at the EXPO at 7 a.m. and stay until 7:30 p.m.,” she said. “They serve in a number of ways; wherever they are needed. They are true volunteers.”
Quida Watson and Pat Ladnier have volunteered for the past 20-plus years, and Darryl Palmer, the voice of the Mississippi Braves, has been the EXPO announcer for several years, doing an excellent job, Woodruff added.
“They are extremely valuable to the event because they go in and know what to do and don’t have to be trained,” she said. “They are Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership Ambassadors. They represent the chamber at the EXPO and other events such as ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and grand openings throughout the year.”
Lynda Raines has coordinated the Ambassadors’ efforts for a number of years.
“We don’t think the MBJ could have the EXPO without the Ambassadors,” she said. “They work hard and do a lot. We start early and some of the volunteers are there until the last person leaves.”
Raines worked with the chamber full time for 22 years and now works part time leading the Ambassadors. “We exist to be an arm of the chamber out in the community,” she said. “We represent the Chamber at different events. In addition to the EXPO, we work the Governor’s Job Fair and the Susan G. Komen Race. All of the volunteers are very involved in the chamber and the community, and they represent their companies for the chamber.”
Some volunteer for a whole year while others for just a few months. Some have been doing it for a long time.
“They’re a wonderful group. They work closely and become good friends and help each other get jobs when needed,” Raines said.