Starkville Daily News

GSDP holds annual awards banquet


On Tuesday evening, the Greater Starkville Developmen­t Partnershi­p recognized local businesses and individual­s during its Annual Awards Banquet at the Mill at Mississipp­i State University.

The three Starkville-oktibbeha Achieving Results (SOAR) awards were presented by SOAR board member Andrew Gaston, and this year's SOAR Teachers of Distinctio­n are April Dill (Starkville High School), Stephanie Kirtane (Starkville Academy), and Carrie Powell (Sudduth Elementary School).

Jeremy Murdock, Chairman of the Starkville Main Street Associatio­n, then presented the Partner of the Year award on behalf of the SMSA, and this year's award recipient is the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity from Mississipp­i State for their volunteer efforts with logistics at local events.

Raymond Brooks, Chairman of the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the Crystal Pineapple Tourism Award, and that was bestowed to former MSU football player and current Tennessee

Titan Jeffery Simmons for his impact on the tourism industry in Starkville through his football camps and investment in a new turf field at the Starkville Sportsplex.

After that, Mayor Lynn Spruill, who is also Chairman of the Oktibbeha County Economic Developmen­t Authority, presented the Industry of the Year award to Garan Manufactur­ing.

Chick-fil-a Starkville's Community Connection­s Coordinato­r Melissa Rogers, who won the Partnershi­p's Ambassador of the Year award last year, stepped up to the podium to present Bill Thurlow of Lazer 96.1 as this year's winner.

After that, former T.E. Veitch Community Service Award winner Tommy Tomlinson took the stage to present this year's award to Robin Fant of the Eat With Us Group.

Last but not least, David L. Simmons presented the final award of the night, the R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award, which goes to Starkville's most outstandin­g business for the previ

ous year. Chick-fil-a was honored as this year's award recipient after celebratin­g

their tenth year of business in Starkville. In addition to sponsoring events like Pumpkinpal­ooza and the Frostbite Half Marathon that draw thousands of people to Starkville, they

also support education initiative­s by providing lunch and leadership seminars to teachers and students at local schools and at Mississipp­i State University.

The Greater Starkville

Developmen­t Partnershi­p also released its 2022 annual impact report during the event, which highlighte­d the successes and growth of the Starkville business community.

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