Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation has honored Tony Pompelia with its 2013 Small Business Leadership Award.
Pompelia, managing partner of Leading Edges, credited his team for the agency’s success. He, and his partner David Stewart, founded Leading Edges in 2000 with two full-time employees. The agency now has 16 full-time employees. Five of them have worked there for more than 10 years. Leading Edges currently manages more than 30 active, full-time clients, including Rush Health Systems, Citizens National Bank, MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts, MSU-Meridian, John O’Neil Motor Companies and Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism. Some clients have been with the agency since the beginning.
“I appreciate this recognition from the EMBDC. However, it is important to point out that it is the people that I have the opportunity to work with every day, and the many businesses that have granted us the opportunity to serve them, that are responsible for any success our agency has enjoyed.”
Wade Jones, President of the EMBDC, commented that “more than building an award winning advertising agency, Tony Pompelia’s passion for excellence permeates his organization. Team members explore every opportunity to improve the brand of their customer. Tony’s love for Meridian is seen in his philanthropy contributing hours of in-kind design and production work back to the community.”
The EMBDC serves as the chamber of commerce and economic development agency for Meridian and Lauderdale County. It established the Small Business Leadership Award in 2012 in order to shine the spotlight on an often-overlooked part of Mississippi’s economy. Small businesses constitute 96 percent of the state’s employers and provide nearly 50 percent of the private-sector jobs. Small businesses also tend to be intimately connected to their communities and give back generously to the friends and neighbors who have helped them succeed, according to a press release.
Leading Edges is no exception. The agency’s offices are in a renovated space at 2100 Eighth Street in the heart of historic downtown Meridian. Pompelia has been a member and chairman of the United Way of East Mississippi and West Alabama Board of Directors, and a member and president of the Meridian Community College Foundation Board of Directors. In 2009, Meridian Community College inducted him into its Hall of Fame. He also is a member of the EMBDC Board of Directors, and has served in the Meridian Public School District’s mentoring program.
Every year, the Leading Edges team participates in a national charity endeavor called CreateAthon. For 24 hours straight, the entire agency devotes its creative and marketing talents to nonprofit organizations, at no charge.
Pompelia is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He has now returned to his alma mater as a lecturer with the Division of Business at MSU-Meridian. Before founding Leading Edges, he held key marketing roles with McKee Foods Corporation in Collegedale, Tennessee, Cooper Smith Bakeries in Mobile, Alabama, and Earthgrains, Inc. in St. Louis.
He and his wife, Sharon, live in Meridian. Sharon is a realtor at Winstead Realty in Meridian. They have two children, Karie, married to Will Peterson, and Tyler, married to the former Robin Germany. They also have three grandchildren, Mary Catherine, Nora Ann and Katie Joyce.