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What better venue than a private hangar at McGhee Tyson Airport for a gala honoring Eddie Mannis, who serves as a commissioner on the Metropolitan Airport Authority Board? Eddie, president of Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedo, was selected by our Knoxville American Marketing Association (KAMA) as its 2015 Outstanding Marketing Professional.

“Eddie Mannis” may also bring to mind veterans gathering at McGhee Tyson for an HonorAir Knoxville journey to visit the memorials built in their honor. You’ve seen the weathered faces full of emotion and anticipation, belonging to those who gave so much, on WBIR’s Service and Sacrifice series. For many veterans, it’s the trip of their lifetime, heightened by the homage paid them from grateful crowds and patriotic ensembles as they fly to D.C. and back. A visionary who acts upon inspiration, Eddie Mannis founded HonorAir Knoxville in 2007 out of the deep respect he felt for his father, a veteran of the Korean War, and his uncle, a WWII veteran.

With Dino Cartwright as Honors 2015 master of ceremonies, and with TechRide and Ullrich Printing scheming the themed decor, the private hangar and the event were transformed into something out of a Wright Brothers’ dream.

Inside the hangar, planes representative of early aviation history hung from the ceiling while other models served as table centerpieces, all courtesy of TechRide. TechRide is a corporate leadership training company that provides executive coaching, classroom, and off-site experiential leadership and innovation courses, such as the Wright Brothers Leadership Lab. Reflecting on the significance of the occasion, Susannah Enkema, founder and president of TechRide, said, “We are pleased to participate in honoring Eddie Mannis’ contribution to our business community in East Tennessee at KAMA Honors. In particular, we applaud his leadership to bring businesses and organizations together through HonorAir Knoxville to honor the unselfish service of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam veterans in our community.”

All Occasions Party Rentals provided furnishings and punches of color for the hangar, including serving stations, chairs, tables and vibrant table settings for the celebration.

The Outstanding Marketing Professional award is bestowed upon a marketer whose career reflects remarkable ethical and professional actions, who supports education and promotes excellence.

Other awards handed out at the gala:

Volunteer of the Year: Susan Napier-Sewell, Designsensory. Susan is serving as KAMA’s president-elect for 2015-16.

Locander Award: Marti McKeon Townsend, Knoxville News Sentinel

Marketing Honoree: Lori Fuller, Knoxville Chamber

Marketing Honoree: Adrian Pearce, Knoxville News Sentinel

Scholarships for Outstanding Marketing Students: Amelea Faith Everett and James Agan

Sponsors for Honors 2015 were The Trust Company, Knoxville News Sentinel, Ullrich Printing, FletcHer PR, Knoxville Chamber, 21st Mortgage Corporation, TechRide and Designsensory. Colby McLemore of Colby’s Photography was on hand and behind the lens to capture highlights of the evening.

To see the original blog post by KAMA’s own Susan Sewell, click here.

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