William "Bill" Yates, Jr., president of The Yates Companies, was presented the 2012 Tozzoli International Business Leadership Award by the Mississippi World Trade Center at its annual meeting in Jackson.

Named for New York World Trade Center Association founder and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Guy Tozzoli, the prestigious award spotlights and honors an outstanding Mississippi business leader who has built a company or organization from the ground up, attained national and international success yet steadfastly remains loyal to and headquartered within the state.

The award recognizes global thinking incorporated with local implementation.

Sen. Terry Burton served as guest emcee for the event and noted Yates' vast business accomplishments as well as his strong support of community, civic, cultural and educational organizations throughout the state and beyond.

MSWTC Board President Liza Looser presented the award.

"Bill and his team have produced a super-successful formula for building a global business while keeping it locally based," she said. "It's truly one of Mississippi's best business stories. We are so fortunate to have the Yates family and the Yates Companies in our state as a model for others to follow."

Five other awards were presented for special achievement in the categories of international business leadership; education; global arts, culture, music and distinctive membership recognition.

Those honorees were Jim McIngvale, Ingalls Shipbuilding - Crystal Globe Member of Distinction; Dr. Sara Kimmel, Mississippi College - Excellence in International Education Partnership; Dr. Paul Tashiro, Japan-America Society MS - Global Arts & Culture Advocate; and Bobby Rush, Rush-Up Productions - Global Arts & Music Excellence with a special tribute from Raphael Semmes & Friends.

"The MSWTC Board honored all these individuals for the work they have done over the years to further the mission of our organization and to promote the tremendous positives of engaging in international business activity," MSWTC Executive Director Barbara Travis said.

"Each award recipient has played a unique role in taking Mississippi's message to the world and bringing the world to our doorstep."