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2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award (EIEA) winner Sandra G. Dingus

In Eastern Kentucky and throughout the nation, drug and alcohol abuse continue to contribute to serious and sometimes fatal workplace accidents.

Entrepreneur Sandra G. Dingus of Paintsville saw this situation and chose to help combat it by starting a business that offers pre-employment drug and alcohol screening services. Starting first in 2007 in her home community of Paintsville, Dingus’ business—Drug Testing Centers of America—has since grown to feature offices in Charleston, W.Va., and Pennsdale, Pa.

This success has earned Dingus recognition as one of the region’s top small business owners among entrepreneurs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Dingus—owner, president, and CEO of the company—was presented the 2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award (EIEA) in the Start-Up Business category at the 10th anniversary “Decade of Distinction” EIEA awards luncheon program hosted Sept. 12 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

Dingus celebrated that win this week with community leaders, elected officials, and invited guests at an EIEA Hometown Event held at Paintsville’s Ramada Inn.

“This award means so much to me,” Dingus said in accepting the prestigious regional award. “It represents the state of Kentucky’s recognition of my work. It reminds and encourages me to keep working toward my goals and proves that hard work and determination do pay off.”

Speaking at the EIEA Hometown Event were Paintsville Mayor Bob Porter, Johnson County Judge-Executive R.T. “Tucker” Daniel, and Fran Jarrell, executive director of Paintsville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.

“The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards program was established in 2001 to recognize and honor excellence in entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional achievements in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said event emcee Larry Combs, director of business services at The Center for Rural Development, one of the EIEA program’s sponsoring partners. “Drug Testing Centers of America illustrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well.”

The EIEA program, also sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Business and Technology and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, honors the success and achievement of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits in 55 Kentucky counties.

Other 2011 EIEA award recipients include Jonathan Huston, president of, Corbin, For-Profit Business; Donovan Wadsworth, owner of D & M Contracting Inc., Richmond, For Profit Small Business; and Cheryl and Mark Martin, co-owners and instructors of Appalachian Foothills Therapeutic Equestrian Center, McKee, Not-For-Profit Entity.