SMP Pine Belt names honorees in awards program

PINE BELT (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Sales & Marketing Professionals Pine Belt. 

Pine Belt, (SMP) have announced the class of professionals and businesses honored in the 2017 Awards Program.  The awards recognize, promote and honor excellence, professionalism and outstanding achievement in sales and marketing and showcase the highest level of talent in the area.  Miss Mississippi 2017 was emcee for the event.

Awards were presented at a dinner gala, on March 21, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.  Following an autograph session for Miss Mississippi, a social and silent auction was held. The Awards Dinner and Pinnacle Award announcement began at 6:30 pm.

Awards were presented in the following categories: Individual Finalists - Holly Hammond Grim?, Petro Nissan; Brittney Dykes, Animal Medical Center; Kristy Keveryn, Regions Bank?; Elliot Zalaznik, Lake Terrace Convention Center? and Hattiesburg Zoo; Beverly Clark, United Blood Services - Mississippi/Alabama?; Karen Zumbro, Healthy Cells Magazine; Kathy Emmons, Forrest General Hospital Spirit of Women?; Martha Dearman, Forrest General Healthcare Foundation?; Jennifer Clark, Emerge Events?; Reggie Collier, First Bank?; Stephanie Patterson, Jones Companies; Rhonda Cunningham, Holiday Inn and Suites; Finee Ruffin, Jones County Junior College; Melanie Archer, TownePlace Suites by Marriot, Lauren Phelps – William Carey University

Business Finalists -Jones County Junior College?; Petro Nissan?; Bice Works; Camellia Home Healthcare & Hospice?; Robert and Craig Tatum, Hotel Indigo and CR Property Group?; Hattiesburg American?; WMXI?; SuperTalk Mississippi?.

Individual Semifinalist  - Brooke Jones, Red Door Marketing Agency?; Frankie Glennis, WDAM TV; ?Tanya Price, Provision Living of Hattiesburg; Business Semifinalist – WDAM TV; Hattiesburg Arts Council?; Kaisha Brown, USM The Agency; Karie Mooney, USM The Agency.

Past presidents of SMP/Pine Belt were recognized at the annual event this year. The past Presidents Roundtable was sponsored by The Claiborne. "It was truly great to see all the past presidents come together and reminisce," says Theresa Erickson of Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation.  Erickson served as SMP president in 1998. Pat Riley, Director of Insurance Operations/Care Management Organization at Forrest General added, "It was fun to visit with old friends and be a part of this exciting event."

Through its Rising Stars: Students at Work Program, SMP awarded two C-Spire grants to college students preparing to join the profession: $250 was given to William Carey University School of Business and $500 was earned by The Agency at Southern Miss.  Receiving the coveted SMP $1000 Rising Star Student Scholarship was Lauren Phelps of William Carey University.

Two new awards were inaugurated at this year's gala:  The Bud Kirkpatrick Professional Award recognizes the marketing achievement of an individual who is successful in marketing and sales. It is named in honor of the former Southern Miss Public Relations Director and SMP Life Member Bud Kirkpatrick.  This year's winner was Kathy Emmons Walker of Forrest General's Spirit of Women, Manager of the Expressions Gift Shop.

The Charlie Holt Business Award recognizes the success of an organization or business in the field of marketing or sales.  This award is named in honor of national radio icon, Charlie Holt, who served as International President and was a co-founder of Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), the parent organization of SMP.  The inaugural presentation of this award recognized an adjudication committee tie.  The first honor was given to Camellia Healthcare and Hospice and accepted by CEO Abb Payne. The second award was presented to CR Properties and was accepted by Co-Founder Rob Tatum.

This year's overall winner for exceptional marketing and sales and recipient of the 2017 Pinnacle Award was Petro Nissan.  The Pinnacle Award, a single award, is selected from honorees made in the professional or business categories and is kept secret until the evening of the event.

Speaking on behalf of the winning group and accepting the overall winner's Pinnacle trophy, was CEO Tony Petro. "We were Pinnacle finalists a couple of years ago. That makes this year's recognition all the sweeter!  It is very humbling to be able to accept this on behalf of the hard working team at Petro Nissan."

SMP meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.  Anyone interested in attending or joining can contact SMP via