Baker University will honor Lawrence business and community leaders Shirley Martin-Smith and Jim Owens.
Baker University will honor two local business owners at its Lawrence Partners-in-Progress Breakfast for their work and service to the community.
Shirley Martin-Smith, president of ADIA Personnel Services, 110 E. Ninth, has worked in Lawrence for 20 years and will be honored as Lawrence Business Person of the Year.
"There's a lot of good business owners in the community," Martin-Smith said. "I've always enjoyed being involved with the community."
Martin-Smith said Thursday's event will be extra special because she will celebrate her ninth year of being in business for herself on Wednesday. Her community involvement comes naturally, she said.
"When you are operating a business in a community, I just think it is paramount that you become involved in the community," Martin-Smith said. "I think you have to have good people around you ...
"You never win that award by yourself."
Martin-Smith served on the board of directors of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce from 1985 to 1988 and has been a member of the organization since 1977. She also served on the Governor's Task Force on tax equity in 1995 and was co-chair of the Douglas County sales tax initiative. She was a Lawrence city commissioner from 1989 to 1993, serving as mayor in 1990.
Retired florist and business owner James Owens will also be honored Thursday as he receives the award for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Business for his career and years of service in the Lawrence community.
Owens purchased Owens Flower Shop in 1946. He also owned a retail greenhouse and nursery at 15th and New York streets for 18 years before selling it to Fred Pence in 1971.
Owens served on the Lawrence Recreation Commission from 1960 to 1964 and was a member of the Human Relations Commission from 1964 to 1968. He also served on the Lawrence City Commission for four years and served as mayor in 1964 and 1965.
Owens said the Baker award was a surprise and an honor.
"I've always had a lot of respect for Baker University and their ideas and endeavors," Owens said. "And I'm greatly satisfied that they would think to give me this award."