Hancock Co., Miss. June 3, 2019 – The Chamber has been honoring exemplary citizens and businesses for over 40 years. From a field of nominees, the Top Outstanding Citizens are selected to be recognized at the Annual Gala. One will be elected by the members of the Chamber as Citizen of the Year.
Chamber members also nominate Businesses of the Year from Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Waveland and Kiln/Hancock County. They will then elect one Business of the Year from each area.
The Industrial Award of Excellence is selected by the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission. The Community Award of Excellence is selected by the Hancock Chamber.
Ballots have been distributed by email to Chamber members. Profiles on each nominee are below.
NOMINEES FOR BUSINESSES OF THE YEAR
BAY ST. LOUIS
Advantage Title LLC, a leader in the title and settlement services industry, has been operating in the old Post Office building on Main Street but many people aren’t aware of its presence in the heart of Old Town. Attorney Perre Cabell founded Advantage Title LLC in May 2015 and today the company operates in 48 states, offering more than 75 years of experience in title insurance and title underwriting accumulated by its partners and lead management staff. Advantage Title LLC’s values are centered on ethics, energy and excellence. Though it is national in scope, the company is locally staffed and community minded, supporting many local events and organizations.
Bay Pool Company | Owners: Adam and Whitney Landrum
Bay Pool Company has donated to numerous charities and causes throughout the community, along with being a donation spot for families in need. They support various organizations and athletics at local schools and also to leagues throughout the community. Bay Pool Company is a full service retail store serving local pool owners, and the professional staff can help customers put together the fiberglass pool of their dreams.
Creole Creamery/PJ’s Coffee | Owner: Jim McPhaille
PJ’s and Creole Creamery are side-by-side new additions to the Main Street mix of businesses in Old Town Bay St. Louis. The pair of investments by owner Jim McPhaille resulted in the hiring of more than 100 employees and is considered a boon to downtown by adding more options for visitors and locals. The clean, efficient modern facilities in the heart of downtown are easily accessible and pet-friendly as well as being ADA compliant.
Fassbender Insurance Agency is a new business that works with families and businesses, providing home, auto, business, health and flood insurance coverage. The agency is dedicated to providing fast, friendly service and also supporting community activities in the area. Fassbender has quickly become known for going the extra mile to provide top notch customer service and lend a hand to helping make the community better.
Rachel makes it a point to be involved in the community, whether it’s through hurricane relief, school fundraisers or various other ways to help good causes. Rachel has been described as “big hearted” because she is always ready to step up and offer her time, energy and resources for others. Customers of Renewing Touch Therapies benefit from her determination to make spa services in a welcoming setting readily available to all.
At The French Potager, Martha Whitney Butler is well known for creating original floral arrangements using only the freshest of flowers for everything from a prom wrist corsage to large arrangements for any occasion. Customers have come to expect art and originality in all of Martha’s arrangements. That creative talent is also on display in the Raw Oyster Marching Club, which she helped organize. This group of women quickly became a crowd favorite, and continues to show off their creativity in dance and dress at community parades and events throughout the year.
The Casano Law Firm was established in 2006 in Diamondhead to provide real estate closing services to Gulf Coast residents and businesses. The firm, headed by Michael Casano, also offers commercial litigation, personal injury, workers’ comp and wills and estates services. They have recently completed two building projects, which have greatly improved Diamondhead’s commercial district and are bringing more business offerings to residents and visitors. Casano Law Firm is dedicated to providing quality service to its many customers.
Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty’s Diamondhead and Bay St. Louis offices are a key part of CBARs Coastwide real estate company, which is known as the largest on the Mississippi Coast, with more than 150 agents between the Louisiana and Alabama state lines. Supporting the local community is something the offices and employees take seriously, offering a helping hand to a variety of charitable organizations that include the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Relay for Life and CASA. In addition to the company’s financial contributions, CBAR employees can be counted on to volunteer their time and talents to make events and fundraising successful.
Giving Tree Senior Care Options | Owner: Angelique Knoblock
Giving Tree Senior Care Options recently celebrated its fifth anniversary in Diamondhead and is looking at the potential of opening new businesses in Hancock County in the next two years. The experienced staff provides medical case management, health coaching, patient advocating and life care planning services. Giving Tree’s strong community involvement includes advocating for the underprivileged and giving back to non-profits such as Feeding the Gulf Coast and CASA.
Kelly has brought top quality women’s clothes, jewelry and gifts to Diamondhead with her charming boutique. The welcoming atmosphere and attentive customer service make each shopping experience at Gabo’s memorable. Even the gift wrapping for all occasions comes with the shop’s special touch. Gabo’s growing reputation is gaining new customers for the Diamondhead boutique.
Tiki Delivery is a grass roots company that started in Diamondhead and is now known throughout the Coast as it continues to grow and compete with the national chains. Anthony Depreo, CEO of Tiki Delivery, is actively involved in Hancock County and the Diamondhead community. He volunteers time and money to make the community a better place to live, work, play and worship. Tiki Delivery’s goal is to keep local dollars in Hancock County.
Gulf Coast Campers | Owner: Kristine Lyons
Since Kristine Lyons opened her unique camper rental and store, she has been striving for perfection to meet or exceed customer expectations. She and her team work hard to give their best to each customer, from camper rental and onsite setup and take down to the sale of supplies at the new store. She is providing the community and the Gulf Coast a one-of-a-kind service along with superior customer service to campers looking for a hassle-free experience.
Goodwill Industries of South Mississippi | President & CEO: Richmond Vincent
Goodwill of South Mississippi’s mission is to help people find gainful employment and eliminate poverty. With more than 300 employees of their own across the coast, the nonprofit Goodwill organization is working hard to see their mission come into fruition. In 2018, Goodwill served 15,248 South Mississippi community members and diverted 1,853,828 pounds of textiles from our landfills. In 2018, Goodwill began their Round Up program, which allows customers to round up to the nearest dollar and more than $59,000 has been donated to local nonprofits.
Pearl River Community College Hancock Center | President: Dr. Adam Breerwood
Since 2005, the Pearl River Community College Hancock Center has been providing students with an opportunity to receive a quality education by preparing them to complete a degree or certificate program for a successful career. The Hancock Center also provides workforce training programs required by local businesses, industries, educational and public service agencies. This year, the Hancock Center will break ground on the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce near Stennis International Airport to meet industry demands while increasing workforce development in Hancock County.
Farm Bureau Insurance | Agency Manager: Marcus Ladner
The Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance office in Kiln has been serving Hancock County members since the 1960s offering life, auto, flood and homeowners insurance as well as general liability and farm policies to its members. As always, Farm Bureau’s local agents remain invested in the community. Members of the board of directors are advocates for the various agricultural commodities its co-op members represent and they also are actively involved in supporting Hancock County schools. Mississippi Farm Bureau is a major supporter of high school athletics and offers several scholarships to young people interested in furthering their education in agriculture.
Necaise & Company | Owner: Ty Necaise
Ty Necaise established Necaise & Company as a full service accounting and consulting firm in 2006 and now has locations in Kiln and Gulfport. The company has extensive experience in accounting, tax and advisory services including non-profit and governmental accounting and auditing. From the beginning, Ty has worked with 501(c)3 organizations by giving financial advice and helping them stay on budget by offering discounted services and spending extra time establishing standard practices. Ty has also worked with county government organizations including the Hancock Library System to help them operate more efficiently. Ty and his staff continue to meet the highest professional standards and surpass customers’ highest expectations.
The Broke Spoke | Owners: Stevie & Mabel Haas
After three decades in business, patrons can still find Stevie and Mabel Haas behind the Broke Spoke bar on weeknights, serving up ice cold beverages and cooking pizza in the back. The 60-year-old building became a national landmark in 1997 when the Kiln’s own legendary quarterback Brett Favre led the Packers to Super Bowl XXXI. The local establishment drew hundreds of Wisconsin fans to watch the New England Patriots’ defeat. Stevie and Mabel have put their whole lives into their small town business and it has paid dividends to the Kiln community’s economy as well as for countless charities and community causes.
Chris Cochran, owner of S&L Office Supplies, is a strong believer in doing his part to improve quality of life in Hancock County. Chris has served two years as a Rotary board member and is currently on the board of the Hancock Chamber. A graduate of Leadership Hancock, he leads his employees by modeling an exemplary work ethic. Through his business, Chris donates printing to various organizations and supports CASA with “Carts4Kids,” which funds school supplies for underprivileged children. He participates in many Rotary and Chamber functions, including a new affinity program that supports the work of the small business community.
As Pastor of the Diamondhead Community Church, Rev. Jason Edwards impacts the lives of many residents on a daily basis. He is a husband and father as well as a church leader who provides spiritual guidance to those in need. He helps with the sick, youth, the grieving and poor. He is always ready to serve, sometimes without even being asked, and provides counseling for whatever the need may be. He leads numerous youth programs supporting and encouraging our youth. A true community leader, he builds harmony and fellowship with his daily actions.
David Hilbert has served on the Hancock County Tourism Bureau board for six terms. In 2017 and 2018, he helped lead the efforts to continue funding and complete the transition of the Bureau in to the new Costal Mississippi three county tourism bureau. He is a member of the board for Rotary and is a member of the Waveland Civic Association, serving as their Grand Marshal in 2018. A graduate of Leadership Hancock, he has volunteered with various civic associations and festivals to promote tourism. For the past 12 years, he has served as marketing manager at the Silver Slipper Casino and Hotel.
Alan E. Hodges
Alan Hodges is the Chief Executive Officer at Ochsner Medical Center-Hancock. He has more than 32 years of healthcare experience, most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for Ochsner Health System-Northshore Region. He serves on the Hancock Chamber board and is a member of Rotary Club, Gulf Coast Business Council, Partners for Stennis & Michoud, the Mississippi Hospital Association Medicaid Advisory Committee and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a graduate of Leadership Hancock, and his experience and leadership were vital to the successful transition of Hancock Medical to an Ochsner Health System facility.
Ann, a professional photographer, is co-owner with Sandy Maggio of Smith & Lens, a creative hub in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Ann and Sandy have been instrumental in creating new events for the Bay. Dolly Should and Frida Fest draw spectators and participants from the entire region, who come to the celebrations and leave with a real appreciation of the community. She has been on the board of the Old Town Merchants Association and the Bay Ratz Marching Battery, and is active with The Arts, Hancock County. By creating and contributing to events and the arts, Ann is creating an even more inviting city.
A graduate of Leadership Hancock, Nikki Moon is a recognized visionary leader at the local and regional level. After Katrina, she rebuilt Bay Town Inn, which has been a catalyst for driving visitors to the Old Town area. As goodwill ambassador for the Coast, she has hosted corporate executives and travel writers from across the globe, resulting in new investments and priceless publicity fueling area businesses. An advocate for small businesses and downtown development, she is the current President of the Hancock Chamber and has served on the boards of the Old Town Merchants Association, the Krewe of the Mystic Seahorse, the Library Foundation, Hancock County Tourism and is the incoming Chair of the Coastal Mississippi Board of Commissioners.
Raised in the Kiln community, Tami Munsch returned to Hancock County after practicing law in Jackson for eight years. Tami is actively involved in the community as President of the Rotary Club. She is a member and Past President of the Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association and serves on the boards of the Mississippi Talent Education, HYPE, Ruth’s Roots, and is President Elect of the Hancock County Library Foundation. She has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Hancock and Harrison County. A graduate of Leadership Hancock, she was named a Leader in the Law and Top 50 under 40 by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Sarge Washington was carrying on a family tradition when he built a bus stop in Waveland on family property at the corner of Herlihy and Hart. His mission: to provide a safe place for school children. The new facility was dedicated in memory of his father, Charlie, who helped build the original bus stop in the 1980s, and in honor of his mother, Earllean, who asked that it be rebuilt. The community project was funded by Sarge and his wife, Rebecca. Waveland Mayor Mike Smith calls Sarge “a great young man who has been following in his dad’s footsteps of caring for his community.”
Karen West’s boundless enthusiasm for costumes is matched by a willingness to volunteer her time and talent to help just about any community organization in town. She started out volunteering with Friends of the Animal Shelter, St. Rose de Lima and the Historical Society and has since joined in to help The Arts, Hancock County, CASA’s gala and the Raw Oyster Marching Club. She got the Witches Walk Halloween fundraiser off to a roaring start and recently was among the volunteers who spear-headed the Cinco De Mayo meal for Kings Kitchen. Karen is a true ambassador for Hancock County helping those in need.