Business

Coast business leaders honored with One Coast Awards

Julie Gresham of the Gulf Coast chamber, Lee Bond of the Jackson County chamber and Cathy Wilson of the Hancock Chamber presented the One Coast awards Wednesday at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
Julie Gresham of the Gulf Coast chamber, Lee Bond of the Jackson County chamber and Cathy Wilson of the Hancock Chamber presented the One Coast awards Wednesday at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

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.”

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:

Community leaders

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

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