Shreveport Chamber BDC bestows 2018 Minority Business Opportunity Awards 

Awards given for the Top Business Professional, Emerging Business, Small Business Owner, Business of the Year and Lifetime Achievement

The Business Development Connection (BDC) of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce awarded five professionals with various awards at last night’s 2018 Minority Business Opportunity Awards.

Dr. Felice A. Williams was honored as the Top Business Professional of the Year.

Dr. Felice Williams is an Associate Professor of Management at the LSUS School of Business and currently holds the James and Ann Gardener Professorship for Civic Engagement.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Dr. Williams pursued a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the Master’s Level.  After graduating with her master’s degree, she joined DCI Consulting in Washington D.C., a Human Resource Risk Management Firm.  She left consulting to pursue a career in academia and completed her doctoral degree at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Williams holds a membership in the Society for Human Resource Management at both the national and local levels and serves in the role of advisor to the LSUS Chapter.  During her time at LSU Shreveport, Dr. Williams has been involved in various community organizations:  The Red Hanger Fundraising Luncheon, Robinson Film Center, Human Relations Commission and Philadelphia Center; just to name a few.  Dr. Williams has also published research in several areas including developing creativity as a leadership asset, potential using social networks as a mediational approach to organizational conflict and proposing behavior taxonomy to better address conflict in organizations.

Ryan Williams, CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management, LLC. was named Emerging Business of the Year.

Ryan is the CEO of SeedLinks Behavior Management, LLC.  Seedlinks advocates for planning and policies at all levels of society to provide accessible, reliable mental health services with a focus on prevention and treatment. It is their mission to assertively and professionally produce long-term services for the families and communities they serve in order to efficiently initiate access to recovery and mental health care. Their vision is to educate all segments of the communities they serve about mental health, the process of coping with recovery, as well as the consequences of untreated addiction and mental illness. Seedlinks Behavior Management provides two different programs, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and Mental Health Rehabilitation (MHR). ACT is a way of delivering a full range of services to people who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. MHR services for adults with mental illness and children with emotional or behavioral disorders are home and community-based services which are needed to reduce the disability resulting from mental illness and assist in the recovery and resiliency of the recipient.

Cindy Smith, owner of Kalmbach Smith Meadows, was named Small Business Owner of the Year.

Kalmbach Smith Meadows (KSM) was established in 2002, when Cindy Smith and Andy Meadows purchased Kalmbach Advertising from the original owner, Lew Kalmbach.  Cindy Smith, as the principal owner, was the managing partner for eight years.  In 2010, Cindy became the sole owner, purchasing the business outright and continues to grow and further expand the talents and capabilities of the firm and the team.  Cindy has found the formula for success starts with determination and a strong network of mentors, partnering vendors, staff who are believers in the mission, and clients who equivocally partner in the strategies and goals. Building on a 33 year history of relationships and rewards in the industry, Kalmbach Smith Meadows is best known for its boundless creative, diligent and transparent budget management and client centric service.  As a full-service marketing firm, KSM dedicates time and efforts to marketing, public relations and advertising for the 30+ active local regional and national accounts with an average annual $1.4 million gross billing.  KSM is active in the community through giving partnerships and strongly advocates team member involvement through non-profit and professional development organizations such as:  Junior Achievement, Shreveport-Bossier Military Council Affairs and Independence Bowl Foundation just to name a few.  KSM developed a newly implemented giving back program titled “Due Your Business”.  Quarterly donations are made to select organization or causes in the community.

SWEPCO was named Business of the Year.

SWEPCO, strives to improve their customers’ experience, strengthen their communities and energize their employees to create a brighter future together. As an energy company they operate every hour of every day to safely provide more than 535,000 customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas with reliable, affordable electricity. They are involved in the communities where they do business, and the boundless energy of their employees makes it all possible. Hundreds of SWEPCO employees generously share their knowledge, time and effort to support many different organizations, including Junior Achievement of North Louisiana; Right to Play, Inc.; Dress for Success Shreveport-Bossier and the Fuller Center for Housing. SWEPCO is an active participant in the United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s annual Day of Caring, which is in addition to the 13-year-long partnership with IBEW Local 329 to raise funds for the organization’s annual campaign. Additional organizations across northwest Louisiana financially supported by SWEPCO include the African American Chamber of Commerce; Caddo Career & Technology Center Foundation; YMCA of Northwest Louisiana; Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Shreveport; Volunteers for Youth Justice and the Holy Angels Residential Facility. Within its own organization, SWEPCO is committed to providing and fostering an inclusive business environment that values and leverages the unique talents, perspectives and experiences of each employee. Every employee at SWEPCO brings distinct insights based on his or her combination of gender, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, personality, world experience and upbringing. Those differences are a powerful asset, because they reflect the diverse nature of its workforce. Formed in June 1912, SWEPCO today employs over 1,700 staff members.

Dr. Harry Blake, pastor of Mount Canaan Missionary Baptist Church was named the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient.

Pastor Blake has served as pastor of the Mount Canaan Baptist Church of Shreveport since 1966.  He is President Emeritus of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention and the 13th District Baptist Association and currently serves as Vice President at Large of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Young. He has received honorary Doctorate degrees from Arkansas Baptist College (2016), Southern University (2011); Louisiana Baptist University (2010); and other prestigious schools. He has served on the following civic and community boards, Canaan Village Apartments, a low income housing complex; Canaan Towers, a Senior Citizen/handicap housing complex; and Grace Project Incorporated, a community development corporation for the revitalization of the Allendale Community; Project UpLift, a center for the development of human potential; Shreveport Bossier Community Renewal; Mount Canaan Day Care Center; Past OIC Director, and past Director, Excel PUSH Auxiliary and served on the Louisiana Recovery Authority Board. Reverend Blake served as the first Field Secretary of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under the leadership of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He traveled extensively in the South organizing voter registration drives.  He survived a horrific beating at the hands of former Police Commissioner George D’Artois in response to a planned peaceful protest and prayer vigil to honor the memory of the four little girls killed in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, AL in 1963. Reverend Blake has led the Mount Canaan Baptist Church family into establishing a Model Prayer Service that has been emulated throughout the nation.  He has instituted ministries to serve all segments of the congregation and community. Reverend Blake is married to the former Norma Jean Jernigan.  He is the father of four: (Elizabeth Guidry, Harry II, Rodney, and Monica Mickle) and the grandfather of sixteen and great-grandfather of 1.