If you know these community movers and shakers, offer congrats! If you don't, here's a quick intro!
The ten individuals to be honored during the Hancock Chamber’s 2016 Annual Salute to Business & Industry Awards Gala were selected from a field of 30 nominees. During the Chamber’s Annual Gala (Thursday, August 25th at Hollywood Casino), one will be named
Citizen of the Year. To find out more and reserve your seat or table for the Gala, go to www.hancockchamber.org.
ALLISON ANDERSON – UNABRIDGED ARCHITECTURE
Professionally, Allison was the first LEED Accredited Professional in Mississippi and has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and energy-efficiency in the architectural practice she co-owns with her husband John. She is credited with bringing the concept of disaster resiliency to the Gulf Coast in the post Katrina era, and is the architect behind many of the new structures found throughout Hancock County: Longfellow Civic Center, the Waveland Civic Center, schools, emergency shelters and her own office in Bay St. Louis. Anderson, who moved to Hancock County more than 20 years ago, has demonstrated thoughtful leadership to promote sustainable infrastructure investments that help create authentic experiences of our unique coastal environment. She has been a leader in the development of numerous critical community development plans over the past two decades including the Smart Growth Plan, Greenways, Blueways and Gateways Plans, and the Scenic By-ways corridor management plans. Today, she continues to chair the Chamber’s Greenways and By-ways Committee promoting community development and advocating for recycling, a plastic free environment and improved water quality.
LISA COWAND – COMMUNITY LEADER
30 years of service should not go unnoticed. Lisa Cowand was the first female elected to office in Hancock County, holding offices at the city and county levels. She has led several initiatives over the years, demonstrating a passion for social infrastructure improvements. She was a leader in the establishment of Brenda’s House, an emergency shelter for children. And, is an advocate for the Food Pantry, serving on its board. She also advocates for the protection of animals through the new Shelter. As the driving force behind the continued production of the Children’s Mardi Gras parade, she has served as Captain for nearly 30 years, bringing great job to children and young families. Over the years, Lisa has exhibited tremendous leadership on the Board of Supervisors, rising to the position of President of the Board before she left office last year. She was also an advocate for community development projects including the Greenways, Byways and Blueways initiatives and provided leadership to the county in the aftermath of Katrina, leading recovery efforts for the past decade.
MARK DUFFY – COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Whenever there is a need to welcome visitors, Mark Duffy is on the spot. A retired law enforcement officer, he put his safety and organizational skills to work for the tourism industry more than two decades ago. His goal was to make Hancock County a welcoming place for visitors to enjoy a favorite past-time: listening to good music and viewing the classic cars. He put his passion for classic cars to work long ago, coordinating cruise-ins throughout Hancock County. When the Bay Bridge was about to open, he volunteered his time to coordinate a spectacular cruise across the new bridge, establishing a mini-Cruisin’ the Coast for spectators attending the grand opening. When the City of Diamondhead was looking for a way to become involved in the ever popular annual Cruisin’ the Coast, Duffy stepped up and became the driving force behind the creation of the Blessing of the Classics. For the past several years, he has given of his time to make it a premier event for the city. Each October, over 500 vehicles participate in this prominent showcase of Diamondhead to thousands of visitors and local residents. (Pictured with his wife Susan.)
– COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Barbara Huet is simply an inspiration to others. For the past three years, she has been a mover and shaker behind the Hancock County Senior Citizen's Prom, making it a special occasion for some of the most important people in our community. She is a master gardener and has brought her passion of gardening to other senior citizens, residents at Dunbar Village and the children in our schools. She has been a major proponent of the new Bay St. Louis Community Garden across from the Senior Citizens Center and don’t be surprised to see her with paint brush in hand contributing to the new mural. She also serves as a volunteer on the Bereavement Ministry with Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church, often helping to prepare meals for those who have lost loved ones. And, it’s no secret, she makes the best pralines in the world. A generous spirit, she does whatever she can to brighten the lives of others. (Pictured with her husband Bob.)
REGAN KANE, GRI, Broker – JOHN MCDONALD REALTY
Regan has been a realtor since 1998, specializing in residential and commercial real estate. A long-time member of the Hancock Chamber Board of Directors, he became involved in the community at a young age serving as president of the Bay St. Louis Rotary and Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau. Recently, he has led the effort for the development of the successful Hancock MS MY Home Relocation Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to showcase the resources of Hancock County to attract primary and secondary home buyers to rebuild the population and customer base for area businesses. A local developer credits Kane with instilling confidence in the marketplace as a viable place for investors. Because of Kane’s problem solving approach to development and through his selfless promotion of other businesses, Kane is responsible for engaging others to invest and redevelop the Bay area to create jobs and build the tax base in a challenging economic environment.
MYRON LABAT – RETIRED EDUCATOR / ADMINISTRATOR
Myron has always been in the business of making a difference in the lives of children and that did not stop with his retirement. A former coach, teacher, principal and school administrator of the Bay-Waveland School District, he is passionate about his volunteer work with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the Hancock Medical Center Foundation. As president of the Foundation board for the past three years, he is an ambassador for the hospital, raising money for state of the art medical equipment to serve the health care needs of the community. An active member of the St. Rose de Lima Church, he spends most of his free time helping children, and promoting health and exercise through the Bay Rollers Cycling Club. As president of the Club, he has made trips all over the region, often raising money for charity. In the past two years alone, the group has bought 77 bikes for children. His volunteer work is his way of giving back. (Pictured with Angelyn Treutel Zeringue.)
CYNTHIA MAHNER – THE ARTS, HANCOCK COUNTY
In late 2012, The Arts, Hancock County was at a crossroads to find new leaders and establish the organization as a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit. The organization needed someone who understood the needs of the arts community and the challenges brought on by Katrina. They needed someone with a dynamic personality who could work with people from all ways and walks of life. They needed someone who had a true love of art and a vision to bring people with varied interests together to achieve common goals. That person was Cynthia Mahner. Through her positive outlook, the organization harnessed a new energy and contagious excitement to start new programs and revitalize the old. She established the Tarts and Tramps Fundraising Ball, and re-invented the annual Arts Alive! StudioTour as a unique art festival. Mahner is also responsible for establishing numerous art galleries throughout Hancock County, showcasing the works of local artists to help them market their works.
MIKE MEYERS – STATE FARM INSURANCE
Mike is a life-long resident of Hancock County, having graduated Salutatorian from St. Stanislaus College in 1969 as recipient of the prestigious Character Cup. After college, he worked for 15 years as a coach after helping Louisiana Tech win a National Football Championship in 1973. He brought those skills home to establish a winning team at State Farm Insurance for the past 27 years. He has been an active member of the business community. Working with the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club earned him recognition as recipient of the Vocational Excellence Award. But, it wasn’t recognition he was seeking. He simply wanted to make a difference. That’s when he decided to take on another challenge as coach of the Our Lady Academy (OLA) Volleyball Team in 1999. For the past 26 years, he has volunteered his time and become an award winning coach for the OLA Crescents, dedicating thousands of hours of time to help the school and the students achieve. Under his leadership, OLA has become a volleyball powerhouse with 10 State Championships. Through his volunteerism, he instills in others what can be achieved through hard work, determination and a winning attitude. (Pictured with his daughter Emily Corley.)
ROBERT J. “BOB” OCCHI – COAST ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION
For over 30 years, Bob has served with great distinction as CEO of one of Hancock County’s largest employers, Coast Electric Power Association (CEPA). His impact on the community can best be seen in the way he supports his employees to give back through volunteer leadership positions to grow the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy throughout the region. CEPA staff serve non-profits as volunteer directors, presidents and chairmen of the board for such groups as Leadership Hancock, the United Way, Renew our Rivers, Youth Sports, Chambers of Commerce, Partners for Stennis Space Center and the Hancock Community Development Foundation, to name a few. After Hurricane Katrina, Bob’s steady leadership on the front line of the nation’s worst natural disaster led the remarkable restoration of power to residents and businesses in record time. Under his leadership, CEPA built a new headquarters, remaining steadfastly committed to Hancock County. He has demonstrated a love and sincere caring for the people of Hancock County through his selfless actions.
TERIE VELARDI – BAY ST. LOUIS ROTARY CLUB
A native of New York, Terie chooses to call Hancock County her home and she has been making a difference ever since she arrived. An appraiser by trade since 1998, it could be the coach and athlete within her that drives her to inspire others to achieve great things to make the community a better place to live. Over the years, she has led efforts for a variety of projects for the Main Street Association, Historic Preservation Commission and the Friends of the Animal Shelter. Today, the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis is proud to call her president during its 90th anniversary. Under her leadership, the club has seen a dramatic increase in membership and a complete renaissance of community service, demonstrating its mission: Service Above Self. Philanthropic funds have significantly increased, giving the club the opportunity to help even more community causes such as Brenda’s House, the American Cancer Society and the Starfish Café through the new Ripple in the Bay fundraiser, the ever popular Annual Chili Cook-Off and other special events. This year, for the first time in the history of the Club, Rotary members sponsored an International Exchange student from Ecuador, sponsoring her tuition and housing during her senior year at Our Lady Academy. (Pictured with Angelyn Treutel Zeringue.)