Foundation salutes Bolivar industry
by Rory Doyle
May 10, 2013 | 1917 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Salute to Industry
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The Delta weather couldn't have been better Thursday night as local business and industry workers from across Bolivar County gathered at the Port of Rosedale for the annual Salute to Industry dinner.

The social event, hosted by the Economic Development Foundation wing of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, featured a cook out, live music, and a brief program that paid tribute to local commerce.

"The purpose of Salute to Industry is to thank those who have businesses and industries that support the economy of Cleveland and Bolivar County," said EDF chairperson Dr. Michelle Roberts.

"Our area has faired a little better economically, and mostly that's because of the stable companies that have stuck with us here," added Roberts. "Tonight is about paying recognition to them."

Roberts added that dedication from local business owners and residents has helped the area weather the economic storm.

"Our business owners have made a commitment to keeping their doors open, but it's also important to recognize the people who stay here and shop locally," she said. "This is very much a team effort."

In year's past, the event has acknowledged long-standing businesses celebrating an anniversary, but without a company meeting the criteria this year, a special introduction was the main feature of the night.

"We will use the stage as an introduction to Bill LaForge, Delta State University's new president," said Judson Thigpen, chamber executive vice president. "We wanted the regional and state people here tonight to become acquainted with the visions he has for Delta State and the community."

LaForge, who began his term on April 15, has committed extensive time networking with local officials, businesses and organizations outside of campus.

"This is a great celebration that recognizes the contributions of businesses in the community," said LaForge. "Delta State will continue to build on the collaborations and partnerships that make this place work.

"We will work to increase business and improve the town and gown relationships that enhance Cleveland and Bolivar County."

An excitement filled the air when LaForge spoke of a promising future.

"He speaks of something that is so important to the lifeblood around here," said Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell, LaForge's classmate at both Cleveland High School and DSU.

"Between DSU and many of our businesses here, I believe we’ll continue to be strong," added Nowell.

Thursday's crowd was filled with a number of local leaders from both the political and business sectors.

Roberts also used the affair to recognize longtime Boyle Mayor Joe Wayne Reed, who announced he would be retiring from the position.

Roberts said she was happy with the turnout and the fact that local businesses and industries continue to grow and thrive.

"The main message tonight is to say thanks to the business leaders and the community members who make this the best place to work and live," she said.