Randy Kelley, executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Mississippi District Office.
In addition, Mary Jennifer Russell, president and founder of Sugaree’s Bakery of New Albany was awarded the 2017 SBA Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year.
“We are proud of Mississippi’s Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business Champion Winners,” said Janita R. Stewart, SBA Mississippi District director.
Kelley was recognized as “an individual who has worked hard to enhance small business, economic development and jobs creation in Mississippi for decades,” Stewart said.
Sugaree’s Bakery is a small batch bakery that since 1997 has been “focusing on depth of flavor with its classic Southern layer cakes. This company’s aim is to make the richest, moistest homemade cakes available,” according to a press release.
Russell, a New Albany native, started Sugaree’s in her home, and she now employs 35 people. Sugaree’s bakes 1,000 cakes weekly which are sold online, retail, wholesale and for fundraising purposes.
“Sugaree’s and Mary Jennifer have been featured in Oprah Magazine, Southern Living, New York Times and the Huffington Post,” says Stewart, “and again, we are proud to name her our Small Business Person of the Year for 2017.”
For nearly four decades Kelley has focused his vision and talents on assisting the people of Northeast Mississippi in expanding their horizons and improving their lot in life whether from the recruitment of industries providing skilled, high paying jobs to collecting and billing for the garbage they create.
Under Kelley’s direction, Three Rivers has the largest small business lending program in the state. Since inception, that arm of Three Rivers has helped regional industry create more than 15,000 jobs and includes more than $680 million in total project investments.
Kelley is a previous winner of the Mississippi SBA Small Business Advocate of the Year for the state of Mississippi.
Every year, SBA receives nominations from various categories including Small Business Person, Small Business Export, Young Entrepreneur, Generational Family-Owned Business, Minority Business Champion, Women Business Champion, Veterans Business Champion, Home-Based Business Champion, Financial Services Champion, Entrepreneurial Success Award, Small Business Journalist, 8(a) Graduate Award and Phoenix Awards.