KOSBE Announces Judges, Speaker and Entertainment for the 2012 Annual KOSBE Awards

November 15, 2012

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 2012 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 forty 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 of Community Development, SunTrust Bank
  • Ms. Carolyn Pierson Cook – Owner, Absolute Communications
  • Mr. John Barber – President, Downtown Kingsport Association
  • 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 and President, KNETIC Young Professionals
  • Mr. Ken Frohlich – Owner, Pristine Springs Water Company, Kingsport Economic Development Board Member, Serial Entrepreneur

A total of fifteen 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, Minority Enterprise, Small Manufacturer/Fabricator, Home-Based, Multiple Store/Franchise, Rural Enterprise, Rising Star, Exceptional Performer, Marketing Excellence and an Impact Award to an individual small business supporter and advocate.

Winners and runner-ups from each category will be announced live at a special recognition event on Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 6 – 9 p.m. located at The New Club at Ridgefields, 2320 Pendragon Road in Kingsport,TN. The Club at Ridgefields is a part of the Ridgefields Country Club.

Preceding award presentations, Michael Quillen, founder and past CEO and chairman of Alpha Natural Resources will share his journey where he began as a foreman in the coal industry in 1974 and ended up launching the fifth-largest coal producer in the world.

Quillen obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1970 from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1971from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as well. During his time at Alpha Natural Resources, Quillen saw to the acquisition of Massey Energy, making ANR the third largest coal company in America with approximately 14,000 employees and a market cap exceeding eight billion dollars.

The future of America’s energy production is a hot topic in today’s society and the coal industry is unobtrusively still a major player. Quillen’s inside outlook is backed by 40 years of experience in the coal industry and he will be sharing his thoughts on the subject at this year’s annual KOSBE Awards.

During the event, this will be a moderated interview conducted by seasoned news anchor, Jim Bailey and Holston Valley Broadcasting.

Live music will be provided by select members of The Unlimited Band, a Tri-Cities-based progressive jazz band. Featured members will include Keyboardist Rob Love, Saxophonist Danny Williams, Drummer Jamieson Hamilton, Bassist Ethan Henley and Vocalist Jasmine Love. The band will be performing smooth jazz instrumentals from popular artists such as Stevie wonder, Marvin Gaye, Motown, Mary J Blige, Sade and other crowd favorites.

2012 Annual KOSBE Award sponsors include:

Title Sponsor: SunTrust Bank

Platinum Sponsors: Cumberland Marketing and Dykes Trucking

Gold Sponsors: KNETIC, Sweet CeCe's, Phil's Dream Pit, The Village at Allandale and F & L Limo & Livery

Silver Sponsors: Eastman Chemical Company, Triten Insurance & Financial Services, Hunter, Smith & Davis, Food City / K-VA-T Food Stores, Wilson, Worley, Moore, Gamble and Stout PC, Pathway Lending, Thompson Metal Services and HairBenders Salon

Bronze Sponsors: AdviCoach and Charlie Dotson with TCI Group

Media Sponsors: Holston Valley Broadcasting Group, Kingsport Times News, Times Digital Group, VIPSEEN Magazine and Picsee Studios

Event Partners: Flowers by CopperCreek, Action Rentals and Sales, Express Signs, Ridgefields Country Club, Divine Café & Catering, Lakepointe Awards and Advertising, Sam’s Package Store, Holston Distributing Company and Pristine Springs

Entertainment Sponsor: East Tennessee Eye Care

The public is invited to attend.

General seating tickets are $45 per person, VIP/Reserved seating are $55 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.

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. KOSBE is a program of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and an affiliate of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at East Tennessee State University.

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.