Three Pine Belt business people inducted into MS Innovators Hall of Fame

Three Pine Belt business people inducted into MS Innovators Hall of Fame

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Three Pine Belt business people have been inducted into The Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame.

This year, Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. in Laurel, will be honored as the recipient of the 2016 Legend Award.

This prestigious award 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, according to a news release issued by Innovate Mississippi.

In addition, these outstanding and successful entrepreneurs will be inducted into the 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.

"The momentum behind innovation and entrepreneurship in Mississippi is at an all-time high," said Sandra Buckley, director of marketing for Innovate Mississippi. "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."

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