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Innovators Hall of Fame to add Sanderson, Howards, Mara and Sethi

Billy & Linda Howard

Billy & Linda Howard

Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. in Laurel, will be honored the Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame as the recipient of the 2016 Legend Award, which is presented to distinguished, exemplary and visionary leaders and innovators who have had a legendary impact on the state of Mississippi. Previous Legend Award recipients include Jim Barksdale, Dr. Robert Khayat, Ambassador John Palmer and Bill Yates.

Also in this year’s class Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame: Linda and Billy Howard, founders of Howard Industries in Laurel; Thalia Mara (posthumously), founder of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson; and Dr. S.L. Sethi, founder of Jackie’s International in Canton.

Thalia Mara

Thalia Mara

The Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame was established by Innovate Mississippi in 2008 to recognize outstanding individuals and companies who have helped put Mississippi on the map as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The momentum behind innovation and entrepreneurship in Mississippi is at an all-time high,” Sandra Buckley, director of marketing for Innovate Mississippi, said on the innovate webpage. “Through the Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame, we are able to formally acknowledge and celebrate those innovators who have taken risks to build a business from the ground up – and who are ultimately creating jobs and wealth for our state.”


Joe Sanderson

Five emerging high-growth innovators are also recognized as Innovators to Watch. These include Fuse.Cloud in Jackson, Jeff Good in Jackson, Hawkeye Industries in Tupelo, Next Gear Solutions in Oxford and TelehealthONE in Canton.

To celebrate these honorees, Innovate Mississippi is hosting the Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame Awards Gala on Sept. 15 at the Country Club of Jackson. The event is presented by Mortgage Trade, Inc. of Oxford, and Children’s of Mississippi will serve as the Diamond Sponsor. The Gala is open to the public, black-tie optional, and begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner program at 7 p.m. Tickets and Table Sponsorships are available at www.innovate.ms, or call Janet Parker at 601-960-3611 for more information.

Dr. SL Sethi

Dr. SL Sethi

Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi


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