One Coast Awards were handed out Wednesday morning to top Community Leaders and Top 10 Under 40.
The event at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino was presented by the chambers of the three Coast counties.
The awards began in 2002 as the Roland Weeks Hall of Fame, named for former Sun Herald publisher Roland Weeks, who said the organizers wondered how long they would be able to sustain it and find deserving recipients.
That hasn’t been the case and Weeks said, “I am delighted this program continued. There are so many people who deserve the credit and who are lost in the shuffle.”
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The award continues to salute the accomplishments of the 10 to community leaders selected from across South Mississippi and in both public and private enterprises and the Top 10 under age 40.
“These awards are truly regional,” said Rachael Seymour, director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. A representative from each county served as judge.
This year’s winners are:
Raymunda Barnes, Pearl River Community College
Tania Bayne, Shanti Yoga & Counseling
Eric Brown, Trustmark National Bank
Christen Duhe, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Cindy Duvall, Mississippi Power
Jim McIngvale, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Rob Santos, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Cynitha Dobbs-Sutton, Ocean Springs Chamber, Main Street, Tourism Bureau
Claudette Walker, Stennis Space Center
Nikki Moon, Bay Town Inn
Top 10 under 40
Brad Cates, Mississippi Power
Ryan Goldin, Florence Gardens
Kenneth Jones II, Coldwell Banker Alfonso Real Estate
Blaine LaFontaine, Thomas Pump & Machinery
Jenny Levens, Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce
Haley Martin, The Payne Group
Jakavious Pickett, Praise Temple of Biloxi
Robert Ridgeway, Yates Construction
Chris Vignes, City of Gulfport
Katie Widdows, Hancock Bank
Top 10 Under 40
Most notable opportunities for South Mississippi through the One Coast Initiative:
Brad Cates — Economic development and social awareness
Ryan Goldin — Support local family attractions and the seafood industry
Kenneth Jones II — Focus on natural assets and attract new businesses through broadband internet
Blaine LaFontaine — A solid infrastructure and quality of life
Jenny Levens — Work together to build and improve communities and businesses, expand tourism regionally and adequately fund and improve schools and colleges
Haley Martin — Opportunities are in the tourism and seafood industries and marketing the I-10 corridor for business development
Jakavious Pickett — Develop a cultural bridge that brings families and people together from different states, cultures and ethnic backgrounds to create changing economic footprint
Robert Ridgeway — Work together to maximize use of Restore Act funds, build infrastructure enhancements to attract new residents and businesses, continue to focus on tourism collaboration
Chris Vignes — Preserve history and heritage of the area while planning for the future through family-based tourism and coastal living
Katie Widdows — Connect people, businesses and organizations across South Mississippi to develop and expand industries and jobs