The SPARK Awards 2018

Thirteen organizations and individuals were honored during The SPARK Awards 2018 special broadcast on WKNO/Channel 10.  The fifth annual televised awards show honors and celebrates the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and schools, in 13 different categories, who are igniting change and making a positive impact in the Greater Memphis community. The SPARK Awards is produced in partnership by WKNO-TV and cityCURRENT.

Back in August, the public was invited to freely cast nominations in each of the 13 categories, as an opportunity to recognize and help publicly thank the organizations and individuals who are leading by example and making a difference in the Mid-South. The categories cover individuals of different ages (youth, college student and adult), nonprofits and corporations of various sizes, then education with a school, teacher, and education leader award. There is also a Legacy Award to honor someone’s efforts and impact over the course of many years or a lifetime. Nominations were accepted from 8:00 a.m. on August 1, 2018 to 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2018.

Once the nomination phase ended, all nominations were provided to the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, who served as the independent judges for the awards show. No preference or weighting was given to multiple nominations for the same individual or organization. The criteria for judging was based on taking a leadership role in initiatives or efforts that better the Greater Memphis community, volunteerism, and impact.

Winners in each category were announced and featured during the televised awards show on Monday, December 10 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10. Viewers had the chance to learn more about each of the honorees during short 3-minute interviews that highlighted their community efforts and celebrated their service. The special is now available for viewing online at,, and


Here are The SPARK Awards 2018 honorees in each category:


100 Employees or Fewer - Transnetyx

101-499 Employees - ARS/ Rescue Rooter

500+ Employees - Kroger, Delta Division


Budget under $1 million - STS Enterprise Corporation

Budget $1-5 Million - Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Memphis, Inc.

Budget Greater than $5 Million - Meritan, Inc.


Leadership - Dr. M. David Rudd

Educator - Thomas Denson

School - Rhodes College


Adult - Dana & Frazer Gieselmann

Collegiate - Erin Lisa Aulfinger

Youth - Elianna Hills


Glenda Hastings

“We greatly appreciate the community service, the dedication and leadership of each of our SPARK Awards 2018 honorees,” notes Jeremy C. Park, CEO of cityCURRENT, host of The SPARK, and producer of The SPARK Awards. It’s inspiring to see students overcoming adversity and leading the way to help local nonprofits, parents who’ve lost a child yet focus their efforts on helping others heal, business executives and owners using their resources as community catalysts, educators going the extra mile to create new opportunities for youth to learn and thrive, and nonprofits creating strong support networks for our city and citizens who need our help. Watching and learning their stories helps us see the good taking place not only in the Mid-South, but in our nation and world, as well. It’s chance for us to thank these hometown heroes, to learn from them, and inspire more people to become a SPARK, to make a difference.”

“One of the things public television does best,” said Michael J. LaBonia, WKNO President and CEO, “is to put a spotlight on positive achievement. This is exactly what both our monthly television series, The SPARK, and our annual televised awards show, The SPARK Awards, do. The SPARK Awards is all about honoring those who truly make the Mid-South a great place to live, work, and play.”

The SPARK Awards 2018 will be rebroadcast on WKNO-TV Channel 10.1: Wednesday, December 12 at 3 a.m., Saturday, December 15 at 9 p.m. with a repeat at 1 a.m.  The program is also scheduled on WKNO-TV Channel 10.2 on Tuesday, December 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 16 at 8 p.m.

The SPARK Awards is an extension of the WKNO-TV series, The SPARK, a monthly 30-minute show, hosted by Jeremy C. Park, about business and community leaders who are fueling change and giving back to the Mid-South.  “The SPARK Awards grew from the success of our monthly show, The SPARK, which is now in its sixth year on WKNO,” notes Park. “With both shows our goal is simple: to spotlight the good taking place in our city and how we can become a SPARK to make an even larger difference and to help more people.”

Major funding for The SPARK and The SPARK Awards is provided by Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and Data Facts with Champion Awards & Apparel as an additional major funder for The SPARK Awards. Additional funding is provided by Christian Brothers University, SRVS, My Town Movers/My Town Roofing/My Town Miracles, United Way of the Midsouth, Meritan, and Mueller Industries. Event support for The SPARK Awards was provided by Nolan Audio Video Solution and Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals.   A co-production of WKNO and cityCURRENT, The SPARK airs the third Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10. 


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