For Immediate Release - Southwest Tennessee Community College

Date: June 3, 2014

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center Executive Director at Southwest Lands Coveted Award

Rory Thomas to be honored at national conference in September

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Southwest Tennessee Community College is proud to announce that its executive director, Rory Thomas, is the recipient of the 2014 State Star Award. The annual award recognizes a top performer from each state who makes significant contributions to their state and embodies a strong commitment to small business.

"The Tennessee Small Business Development Center program is celebrating its 30th year of providing Tennessee businesses with a wide range of business counseling and training services. Each year we recognize individuals in our statewide organization who demonstrate excellence and a sincere commitment to helping our business men and women succeed in business. Rory Thomas, our TSBDC director at Southwest, has been named as our State Star," said Dr. Patrick Geho, state executive director - TSBDC Lead Center at Middle Tennessee State University.

Since being named as executive director of the Memphis SBDC in May 2013, Thomas has introduced innovative programs and brought new resources to the area to prompt economic growth.

"I am honored to use my talents to empower current and future business owners and leaders who have the ability to create tremendous economic impact in our communities," said Thomas. "This is truly a team award because it starts with our great staff and all of our valuable strategic partners in the area."

Thomas will be recognized at a special awards reception honoring the 2014 State Stars on September 9, in Grapevine, Texas, in conjunction with the America's Small Business Development Center Network (ASBDC) 34th National Conference.

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Photo caption: Rory Thomas

About TSBDC

Recognizing that small business is the economic backbone of the state of Tennessee, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center's mission is to be the premier provider of quality solutions to potential and existing small businesses' needs through consultation, education, referral, and support services. By providing these services through its interactive network of resource partners, the TSBDC promotes growth and prosperity in the domestic and international markets of the business community and enhances its economic impact on the state of Tennessee. Learn more at www.tsbdc.org.

For more information contact: Brenda J. Rayner, 901-333-4247, bjrayner@southwest.tn.edu, Farris Bldg., Room 1002, 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134