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Banker named Business Person of the Year

Jim Kimbrough, SunTrust Bank/Nature Coast CEO, wins the top Distinguished Business Award.

By MICHAEL KRUSE
Published September 23, 2005


SPRING HILL - Jim Kimbrough was named Business Person of the Year on Wednesday night at the Hernando County Distinguished Business Awards.

The SunTrust Bank/Nature Coast chairman and chief executive officer was one of five award winners announced at the event at Silverthorn Country Club.

"You've got to stop sometimes and just say thank you," Mike McHugh, the director of the county's Office of Business Development, said in opening remarks.

Nature Coast Environmental Services was named the small business of the year. Kevin Citerella's company in the Airport Industrial Park has 10 employees and 20 years of experience in commercial and residential pest management around west-central Florida.

The other nominees were ESP Enterprises and Suncoast Plastics.

Flagstone Pavers was named the medium-sized business of the year. Led by Geoff Bond, Flagstone Pavers has 36 employees and is preparing to expand its 18,000-square-foot facility on Cobb Road. The other nominee was Chapman Tool & Mold, which is located in the Airport Industrial Park.

The Wal-Mart Distribution Center won the large business of the year award. The 1.6-million-square-foot, 1,600-employee, 39-acres-under-a-roof operation in Ridge Manor is the largest distribution center in the entire Wal-Mart system. The other nominee was Rinker Materials.

In the Partner in Business Award category for nonprofits, the winner was Career Central on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill, beating out Mid Florida Community Services and the Humane Society of the Nature Coast.

The other nominees for Business Person of the Year were Cliff Manuel of Coastal Engineering, McHugh from the Office of Business Development, Rick Pearson of Proud Pelican Construction and Joanne Schoch of the Humane Society.

Award presenter Dennis Wilfong listed Kimbrough's honors, activities and accomplishments.

It took a long time.

Kimbrough, a fifth-generation Floridian and University of Florida Class of 1961 graduate, is the chief executive officer of SunTrust Nature Coast and the vice chairman of the bank's Tampa region.

He is a member of the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, a member of the Tampa Bay Partnership and the chairman of its transportation task force, a member of the Florida Transportation Commission, a vice chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a benefactor to the Hernando YMCA and a founding director of a local blood bank and the Pasco-Hernando Community College Foundation.

"If it's happening," Wilfong said, "Jim's in the middle of it."

"To say that I'm honored and humbled would be an understatement," Kimbrough told the crowd. "Thank you to you all."

Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com or 352 848-1434.