DETROIT, Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2011 "Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards" will be awarded to Paul Hillegonds, Susan Goodell, Louis Green, and Brian Balasia for their important contributions to regional cooperation, progress, and understanding in Southeast Detroit. They will be honored on October 13, 2011, at a special breakfast celebration at the Ford Conference & Event Center in Dearborn, Michigan, beginning at 8 a.m.
The fifth annual awards ceremony and breakfast is open to the public. Tickets are $50. For ticket information, go to www.shininglightawards.com or call 248-336-8623.
Paul Hillegonds, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at DTE Energy, will receive the "Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership" for demonstrating that he is a regional thinker, a skilled win-win negotiator able to reach across political aisles, and a mentor to many following in his civic leadership footsteps. The Neal Shine Award honors those taking risks and demonstrating courage to improve regional cooperation and understanding.
Anthony Earley Jr., the outgoing chairman of DTE Energy, praised Hillegonds' genuine concern for metro Detroit. "He's open and honest with people," Earley said. "He doesn't have any personal agenda; he has a regional agenda. He's able to work with a broad range of people to get them to work together to get things done."
Susan Goodell, President and CEO of Forgotten Harvest, will receive the "Eleanor Josaitis 'Unsung Hero'" Award for her spirit and passion in addressing economic challenges and improving the lives of vulnerable people by fighting hunger in Southeast Michigan. This award recognizes an individual who may not have yet received the widespread recognition he or she deserves for longstanding efforts to serve the community and further regional cooperation.
Paul Anger, Free Press editor and publisher, called Forgotten Harvest "a perfect operation in so many ways. Susan and Forgotten Harvest are all about meeting basic needs at a time when that's more important than ever," he said. "They're creative and relentless in what they do, and they tap resources all across the region."
Louis Green, President and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, will also receive the "Eleanor Josaitis 'Unsung Hero'" Award for exemplifying the courage needed to improve regional cooperation and understanding. He has been a positive force encouraging corporations in the state and minority business leaders to work as cohesive units, reminding them that while they are separate entities, they share the similar goals of profitability, diversification, economic stability, and a strong Michigan.
Mable Jones, Public Affairs Director for AAA Michigan, said she nominated Green for the award because of his ability to stay focused and flexible, come up with strategic plans, and advocate for the membership. Jones said Green offers encouragement and often works quietly behind the scenes. "He knows how to work cooperatively," she said.
Brian Balasia, CEO and President of Digerati, will receive the "Dave Bing Future Leader" Award for his efforts to help businesses and communities achieve better outcomes through implementing process improvement technology. He has developed initiatives that encourage collaboration among major organizations and national bodies and help give Michigan entrepreneurs, innovators, and business owners the tools they need to succeed.
"The future of our region is dependent upon the energy and leadership of our young people," said Debbie Dingell, Chair of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition. "We are fortunate to have individuals like Brian Balasia who care so much about the community. We must recognize and encourage them as much as possible."
The Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition launched the Shining Light Awards in 2007 to highlight the critical importance of regional leadership and cooperation to the success of Southeast Michigan. The awards are named in honor of the late Neal Shine, former Detroit Free Press editor and publisher, who consistently demonstrated his dedication and commitment to the Greater Detroit community. Visit their Web sites – www.ShiningLightAwards.com, www.mac-web.org, www.freep.com and www.digitalfreepress.com.
SOURCE Metropolitan Affairs Coalition