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Cellular South With Mississippi football legend, Archie Manning, making the inaugural wireless call from Gulfport to Trent Lott in Washington, D.C., in 1988, Cellular South was the first to bring wireless technology to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and, afterwards, to most of Mississippi. Since then, Jackson-based Cellular South has grown into the nation’s largest privately held wireless provider. ■ Cellular South’s licenses cover a region stretching from Memphis throughout Mississippi, across Coastal Alabama and the Florida Panhandle to Walton County. The company continually invests in network improvements and infrastructure to meet consumers’ growing demands. The company employs approximately 750, operates 75+ retail locations and two Mississippibased call centers in Meadville and Flowood. The Mississippi IHL recently estimated the spin-off created by Cellular South generated an estimated 815 jobs and over $17 million in labor income to Mississippi’s economy. An Industry Leader Cellular South has become an industry leader by adhering to its vision to provide the best service possible and through its innovative product development. “Cellular South is in business to give our customers what all wireless users are seeking – the ability to use their phones when and where they want, with wireline-like quality, and monthly bill predictability,” said Hu Meena, president. “When your wireless phone is your primary phone, you need to know you can depend on it and how much it will cost you each month. More cell sites and flat rates make this a reality.” The company’s efforts have been recognized by the Mississippi Business Journal’s Annual Business Awards and through the Wireless Week Excellence Award. Other awards include Mississippi’s Quality Award for Excellence, the Chambers of Commerce Blue Chip Enterprise Award, and the CTIA President’s Safety Award for outstanding educational efforts to promote wireless safety.

more than $1.5 million in scholarships, building funds, and other capital campaigns in support of Mississippi’s eight public universities. The company supports many charities including the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Emphasizing the value of communitybuilding events, title sponsorships include the Cellular South GumTree Festival, Tupelo; Cellular South Pops, Meridian; Cellular South Art for All, Jackson; and the Cellular South Outstanding Player Awards, which consists of the Cellular South Conerly Trophy (football), Cellular South Howell Trophy (basketball) and Cellular South Ferriss Trophy (baseball).

impact Cellular South has made in our home state of Mississippi,” says Meena. ■ From top to bottom: Sherry Stegall, Cellular South VP/ Finance, and Kim Blackwell, winner 2005 Cellular South Viewer's Choice Award at the Miss Mississippi pageant. The text-messaging contest resulted in over 1.4 million votes and Blackwell received a $2,500 scholarship.

For many, Cellular South’s network was the first and only means of communication during and after Hurricane Katrina. Employees restored the company’s network to 100% capacity less than two weeks after the

Life in the Cellular South Though it has grown along with the industry, Cellular South has gone against the trend of many wireless carriers toward mergers, acquisitions, and brand name changes. Keeping the same name throughout its history, Cellular South’s stability and continuity of operations has allowed the company to focus on the needs of its customers by building the highest quality networks and providing innovative features and services. “As a company we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, especially of the


The Cellular South Conerly Trophy is presented annually to Mississippi’s best football player. L to R: Ron Franklin, ESPN; Scott Eyster, Delta State; Patrick Willis, Ole Miss; Jerious Norwood, Mississippi State and 2005 recipient; Mrs. Perian Conerly; Hu Meena, Cellular South president; and Michael Rubenstein, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum executive director.

Connected to the Community Since 1997, Cellular South has donated

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The thick pine woodlands of Southern Mississippi give way to the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, creating a region that’s part pioneer spirit, part modern coastal life. The forests of Southern Mississippi hide overgrown forts and old-fashioned country stores. Towering loblolly pines form a canopy over the small towns and bustling cities in their path. Farther south, a chain of casino resorts, artists’ colonies, busy cities, and tranquil fishing villages is linked by 26 miles of sugar white sand, the longest manmade beach in the world. From Waveland to Ocean Springs, the cities and towns of the Gulf Coast are rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Life here has changed dramatically since the hurricane, but the land is still graced with natural beauty and proud residents who would never consider calling any place other than Southern Mississippi “home.” ➤ CITIES AND TOWNS along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are linked by 26

miles of white sand beaches, the longest manmade beach in the world. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY/DIVISION OF TOURISM

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Hurricane Katrina

The Aftermath W E AT H E R I N G A M E R I CA’ S G R E AT E S T N AT U R A L D I S A S T E R

On Monday, August 29, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, leaving a wake of indescribable destruction and loss. The greatest natural disaster in American history, Katrina virtually erased the coastal villages of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, and Pass Christian and destroyed much of Biloxi and Gulfport. Massive casinos were tossed like toys. Grand waterfront homes melted into the storm surge. Centuries-old historic buildings and landmarks vanished, gone in the blink of Katrina’s giant eye. But even amidst the wreckage and chaos, there were signs of hope. The days immediately after the storm saw residents vowing to rebuild their homes and their lives, businesses and resorts announcing plans to reopen, and people from every corner of Mississippi and every walk of life mobilizing to help “our” Gulf Coast. Prior to Katrina, the Mississippi Gulf Coast was best known for its vibrant culture and carefree coastal lifestyle. Today, the Gulf Coast is a shining example of inspiring resilience in the face of disaster, of a people and a place that won’t be beaten by a mere hurricane. ■

Opposite page: The tranquil waters give no hint, but debris in the trees serve as a reminder of Katrina’s wrath.

August 29, 2005

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Proud toCall Mississippi Home

Road to Recovery P R E S I D E N T G E O R G E B U S H & G OV E R N O R H A L E Y B A R B O U R

There is no question that Hurricane Katrina changed the face and future of Mississippi for many years to come, but there is also no question that Mississippi will succeed in its efforts to rebuild, to come back better than ever before. Perhaps Governor Haley Barbour said it best in a letter posted on the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery web site. “We will succeed. I know this because I know Mississippi,” Barbour wrote. “We’re a tough and resilient people, but a caring and loving people. “As I walked past mounds of debris in a devastated area of Biloxi days after the storm, I saw hope, optimism, and determination in the faces of people who had lost everything, but who were ready to rebuild. In these people’s faces, I saw a new Biloxi, a new Gulf Coast, and a greater Mississippi. Working together, we’ll make it happen.” ■

President George Bush and Governor Haley Barbour hold a press conference to discuss recovery and rebuilding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


LIKE MANY HUMAN VISITORS, white pelicans migrate

to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the winter, trading chilly northern evenings for warm southern sunsets.

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Proud toCall Mississippi Home Š STEPHEN KIRKPATRICK

A DEEP-SEA FISHING boat heads into the Gulf of

Mexico before sunrise in search of a lucky catch. The warm waters of the Gulf are home to red snapper, king mackerel, speckled trout, cobia, grouper, and sharks.

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Proud toCall Mississippi Home

Profiles of Distinction 1908

Biloxi Regional Medical Center


Jones County Junior College


Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College


Mississippi Power Company


Copiah-Lincoln Community College


Southwest Mississippi Community College


Northrop Grumman


Forrest General Hospital


University of Southern Mississippi


Chevron Pascagoula Refinery


Specialty Contractor & Associates, Inc.


Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

SAILING THE CLEAR WATERS of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the


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Biloxi Regional Medical Center Situated in historic downtown Biloxi, less than two blocks from the sandy beaches and serene waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is a healing place known for its quality healthcare and community giving. ■ Biloxi Regional Medical Center, a 153-bed acute care hospital owned by Florida-based Health Management Associates, Inc., has served the Mississippi Gulf Coast for almost 100 years with an impressive array of medical services, including 24-hour physician-staffed emergency care

From top: Amy Roberson, employee at Biloxi Regional Medical Center gives birth to daughter Brooklyn.

Biloxi Regional Medical Center has served Mississippi Gulf Coast residents for nearly a century.

Health Information Services staff supporting March of Dimes.

and specialized patient-oriented programs. The medical center’s commitment to the principles of quality improvement through a system of monitoring and accountability is unrivaled, and enables the healthcare professionals to be responsive to change and assures a high degree of patient, physician, and employee satisfaction. Hospital associates are committed to improving the quality of life in the community through volunteerism and financial support of civic organizations, charities, the arts, and educational programs. “It is our vision to be a progressive leader in the development and delivery of quality healthcare that exceeds our customers’ expectations,” said BRMC CEO, Timothy Mitchell. Biloxi Regional Programs For nearly a century, coastal residents have chosen Biloxi Regional as the preferred place to deliver their babies. The birthing rooms are newly decorated and spacious, with enough space for a growing family to be comfortable and retain complete privacy. The Biloxi Regional Therapy Center provides inpatient and outpatient reha-

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bilitative services that include physical therapy and speech therapy. Signaling a new approach to vascular healthcare, The Center for Vascular Care highlights the latest technology with a personal touch in one central location. The Heartburn Clinic provides treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD, and related illnesses. Seniors Harbor, Biloxi Regional’s Behavioral Health Program, offers care to senior adults with behavioral and emotional disorders. The Healing Center offers wound management and hyperbaric oxygen therapy services to the many residents of the Gulf Coast. For the larger employers in Mississippi, The Industrial Health and Wellness Center now offers pre-employment screenings and physicals, including hearing tests and many other valuable tests to ensure healthy employees. “The medical center is committed to providing the finest healthcare possible. Our dedicated professionals are here to safeguard your health, stay abreast of the latest technology, and understand the special needs of each and every patient,” said Mitchell. Serving as a community resource is a vital role for Biloxi Regional. Seminars,

support groups, screenings, and health fairs are offered to the community throughout the year to increase awareness of health-related issues. In addition to childbirth, breastfeeding, and sibling classes, Biloxi Regional is a meeting locale for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, host for smoking cessation and CPR courses, and home to a Better Breathers & Friends support group. The medical center also offers programs in local schools and participates in community education events. “It is our mission to achieve the highest level of measurable quality and efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services that is responsive to the needs and values of our patients, physicians, employees, and visitors,” said Mitchell. ■


Viewer's Choice Award at the Conerly; Hu Meena, Cellular South president; and Michael Blackwell received a $2,500 Trophy is presented annual...


Viewer's Choice Award at the Conerly; Hu Meena, Cellular South president; and Michael Blackwell received a $2,500 Trophy is presented annual...