KOSBE Announces Judges, Speaker and Entertainment for the 2011 Annual KOSBE Awards

November 10, 2011

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is pleased to announce the judges, guest speaker and entertainment that have been selected for the 2011 Annual KOSBE Awards. Inaugurated in 1994, the Annual KOSBE Awards are the longest running and most recognized small business-focused awards program in the Tri-Cities area.

Since the contest’s inception, over thirty small businesses have been recognized for their attention to customer relationship management, marketing creativity, community involvement, success overcoming adversity, history and future prospects.

The selected judges have been chosen for their knowledge and expertise of small business ownership and management and their understanding of current small business trends.

  • Ms. Angela Conner – Vice President/Community Development Manager, SunTrust Bank
  • Ms. Carolyn Pierson Cook – Owner, Absolute Communications
  • Mr. Steve DeLine – Superintendent CESP Maintenance Department, Eastman Chemical Company
  • Mr. Lawrence C. Maston (Lead Judge) – Individual Certified Public Accountant
  • Ms. Jacqueline Merritt – Economic Development Specialist, Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Ms. Julie Pierson – Account Executive, Absolute Communications, President-Elect, KNETIC Young Professionals
  • Ms. Rachel Ralston – Attorney, Hunter, Smith & Davis, President, KNETIC Young Professionals

A total of eight awards will be presented for Business Excellence (under 10 employees), Business Excellence (10 or more employees), New Business (in business 12—36 months), Young Entrepreneur (owner is under 40 years of age), Innovation , Woman-Owned, Veteran-Owned and an Impact Award to an individual small business supporter and advocate. There were no applicants for the Small Manufacturer (or fabricator) or Minority-Owned business awards this year.

Winners and runner-ups from each category will be announced live at a special recognition event on Thursday, December 8, 2011 from 6 – 9 p.m. located at BANQ, 255 Broad Street, 2nd floor in downtown Kingsport. BANQ is located in the historic First National Bank Building.

Preceding award presentations, Bill Gatton, owner and general manager of Bill Gatton Chevrolet-Cadillac and Bill Gatton Honda will share his story of how he transformed one car dealership into a multi-state multi-million dollar enterprise aligned with various philanthropic organizations that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.

This will be a moderated interview conducted by seasoned news anchor, Jim Bailey.

The Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, the Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University and the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, KY (recognized by Newsweek Magazine as one of the nation’s top five high schools in 2011) are just three of his recent philanthropic endeavors. Gatton believes that education is at the heart of everything that we do, and it powers personal and business development. Gatton attended the University of Kentucky and received his MBA in Finance and Banking from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world’s top business schools.

Tagged as “Wild Bill” as a result of his wacky television commercials in the 1970s, Gatton received the distinguished award for Business Achievement and Community Service from TIME Magazine in 2005, amid more than 65 dealers nominated for this esteemed award. Gatton, who is also a U.S. Army Veteran, promises to inspire and motivate others to achieve their highest potential and bring about a transformation to success within their business and their lives.

Live music will be provided by Behind the Note Jazz Band, a Tri-Cities-based progressive jazz band featuring Keyboardist Clyde Cook, Saxophonist Aaron Howard, Drummer Renaldo Goodwin, and Bassist Maurice Butler. The band will be performing smooth jazz instrumentals such as Stand By Me, Nothing Can Come Between Us, My Girl and other crowd favorites.

2011 Annual KOSBE Award sponsors include:

Title Sponsor: SunTrust Bank

Top-Tier Sponsors: Brock Services, Pathway Lending, Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout, KNETIC Young Professionals and American Airlines

Media Sponsors: Kingsport Times-News and Holston Valley Broadcasting

Award Sponsors: Eastman Chemical Company, WorkSpace Interiors, Triten Insurance, Thompson Metal Services, Food City and Dixie Pen Communications

Event Partners: Lake Pointe Advertising & Awards, Divine Catering & Café, Flowers By CopperCreek, Pristine Springs, Express Signs, Urban Synergy, Café eXcellence, Action Rentals & Sales and Holston Distributing

Entertainment Sponsor: East Tennessee Eye Care

Red Carpet Sponsor: VIPSeen Tri-Cities

The public is invited to attend.

General seating tickets are $35 per person, VIP/Reserved seating are $45 per person and both can be purchased online at KOSBE.org or call (423) 392.8825. Tickets must be purchased in advance to be eligible for prized drawings including a pair of round-trip American Airline tickets to anywhere in the US.

Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased to attend.

It is the intent of KOSBE to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships. In partnership with Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (TSBDC) at ETSU, KOSBE can more effectively serve the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses. For a complete listing of services, tools and resources, visit kosbe.org.

The cooperative agreement between KOSBE and East Tennessee State University is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Additional funding is provided by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the state of Tennessee.

To schedule your free confidential counseling appointment in a private setting by TSBDC-certified counselors in person, online by phone or e-mail call Marybeth McLain at (423) 392.8825 or e-mail, mmclain@kosbe.org.

For more information about the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and your Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), visit tsbdc.org and kosbe.org or call (423) 392.8825. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook, Kosbe – The Small Business Connection, Twitter, @KOSBEConnection, LinkedIn group, KOSBE — The Small Business Connection and our YouTube Channel, KOSBEConnection.