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It’s one of the ultimate business achievements in South Mississippi to be introduced and standing among the year’s Top Community Leaders and Top 10 Under 40.
The 2019 winners announced Tuesday at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino represented the three Coast counties. The awards breakfast was presented by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Hancock, Ocean Springs and Jackson County chambers of commerce.
Formerly the Roland Weeks Hall of Fame, named for the long-time publisher of the Sun Herald., the awards have been presented every year since 2002. The awards are named One Coast to illustrate that what benefits one, ultimately benefits all in South Mississippi.
It’s an incredible honor and it’s very humbling,” said Paul Maxwell with Hancock Whitney Bank, who was one of the 10 Top Community leaders. He said it’s also very inspiring to see the ballroom full of people who had come to support the One Coast program, which promotes a strong reason, “but at the same time preserving the community identities that are so important to the region.”
Shelia Kowalewski with Ingalls Shipbuilding will follow the honor of being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by delivering her third child next week. “I’m really excited just to have my work recognized,” she said. “I spend a lot of time at work and doing things away from my children,” she said. “Being recognized makes it worth it.”
This year’s winners are:
Top Community Leaders
Brenda Simkins, Brenda Simkins State Farm Agency
John “Shorty” Sneed, independent insurance consultant
Paul Maxwell, Hancock Whitney Bank
Lt. Col. Andy Ratcliffe, 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group, US Army National Guard
Georgia Storey, Singing River Health System
Bernadette “Bernie” Cullen, retired
Kearn Cherry, PRN Home Care
Gordon Redd Jr., Redd Pest Solutions
Brent Fairley, Hancock Whitney Bank
Jakavious Pickett, Praise Temple of Biloxi
Top 10 Under 40
Clayton Legear, Merchant & Marine Bank
David Weldon, William Carey University
Jessica McNeel, Bryan, Nelson, Schroeder, Castigiola & Banahan
Dr. Cedric Bradley, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Shundral Cole, United States Attorney’s office
Dr. F. Russell Young, The First, a National Banking Association
LaKeshia Robertson, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Geoffrey Knesal, Roy Anderson Corp.
Sheila Kowalewski, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Kevin Estrade, Keesler Federal Credit Union