Saturday, July 13, 2024

Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Excellence at 2024 Minority Business Opportunity Awards

by BIZ Magazine

Shreveport, LA – The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce recently honored outstanding business owners and professionals at the 2024 Minority Business Opportunity Awards Dinner. Hosted by the Business Development Connection (BDC) and presented by Willis Knighton Health, the event took place on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino. This annual celebration recognizes individuals and businesses making significant contributions to the community and local economy.

Celebrating Excellence and Impact

This year’s honorees exemplify the values of growth, leadership, and community engagement. Chamber Chairman-Elect Tom Simms praised the recipients, stating, “It is always so encouraging to see so many new businesses and established business leaders making such an impact in our community.”

Award Recipients

Top Business Professional of the Year: Golden A. Ellis – Rhodes Realty, LLC

Golden A. Ellis, a top producer at Rhodes Realty, LLC, was honored for her dedication to clients and her expertise in real estate. Beyond her professional success, Ellis actively promotes financial literacy through her non-profit organization, Golden Angels, and serves on the boards of several other non-profits.

Non-Profit Professional of the Year: Andrea McKnight – Development Director, David Raines Community Health Centers

Andrea McKnight was recognized for her advocacy of quality healthcare for underserved populations across four parishes in Northwest Louisiana. Her philanthropic efforts and outreach initiatives have significantly benefited communities in healthcare deserts.

Small Business Owner of the Year: Chauncy Horton, SNA Contracting, LLC

Chauncy Horton, a third-generation contractor, continues his family’s legacy in construction and management. His grandfather, Johnny Horton Sr., was a pioneering African American contractor and pastor. Chauncy’s work at SNA Contracting, LLC, has made a lasting impact on community development.

Emerging Business of the Year: Kids College STEAM Early Learning Center – Dr. Katraya Williams & Benji Williams

Kids College STEAM Early Learning Center, led by Dr. Katraya and Benji Williams, was celebrated for its focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). The center encourages creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration among young learners.

2024 Business of the Year: Yokem Toyota

Yokem Toyota was honored as the 2024 Business of the Year. “For more than 50 years, Yokem Toyota has been a trusted family-owned cornerstone of the Shreveport automotive sector,” said Chamber President Dr. Tim Magner. The dealership’s long-standing commitment to customer service and community involvement, including the Yokem Connection program that supports local non-profits, has set a benchmark for excellence.

2024 Lifetime Achievement Award: Maxine Sarpy

Maxine Sarpy received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for her monumental civic, community, and corporate contributions over the past 60 years. “Maxine Sarpy is one of the heroes of the civil rights movement in Shreveport,” remarked Dr. Magner. Sarpy’s dedication to justice and equality, alongside her numerous achievements, has left an indelible mark on the community.

Legacy of Advocacy and Change

Mrs. Sarpy’s involvement in the civil rights movement began shortly after her move to Shreveport in 1963. From providing medical assistance during protests to leading a walkout at Schumpert Hospital and participating in the integration of downtown businesses, her activism has been pivotal. Her appointment as the first woman to serve on the Shreveport City Council in 1984 marked a significant milestone in her lifelong fight for equality.


The 2024 Minority Business Opportunity Awards highlighted the remarkable achievements of Shreveport’s business and community leaders. Their dedication to excellence and community service continues to drive positive change and inspire future generations. The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce remains committed to supporting and celebrating the diverse contributions of its members.

Photo Gallery of the Event by The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce:

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