Michelle Spry Named 2011 Debin Benish Outstanding Businesswoman Award Recipient


Michelle Spry has won the 2011 Debin Benish Outstanding Businesswoman Award

Flanked by past winners, Michelle Spry received the 2011 Debin Benish Outstanding Businesswoman Award at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

The award was presented by the 2010 winner, Karen Miller, at the 2011 Columbia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet. With the support of Steve Powell, the current owner of Delta Systems, and Debin’s husband Dave Benish, Women’s Network continues the encouragement of Debin’s smile with this memorial award, an engraved picture frame, and $1,000 grant.

This award is designed to honor a Columbia Business Woman who:

  • Exhibits leadership in supporting small business
  • Has a record of volunteering in the community
  • Is a mentor to other business women, and
  • Owns or is employed by a Chamber-member business, preferably a Women’s Network member

About The Award

Debin Benish started Delta Systems Group at a time when women were not encouraged to venture out on their own, not to mention in a technology field. During her 18 years in business, Debin and her staff trained thousands of people in Mid- Missouri on many different software programs and provided computer network support to hundreds of companies.

In addition to achieving great success in her company, Debin was actively involved in the Chamber and Women’s Network. She served on the Chamber Board of Directors, Accreditation Task Force, Business Conference and Showcase Committee, Government Affairs, Education, Leadership Columbia, Women’s Network Business Owners Committee, and Ambassadors.

Debin had a philanthropic heart. She and the Delta Systems staff quietly assisted many charities and non-profits with their technology needs, such as the Central Missouri Food Bank, as she served on countless technology committees and boards. Among the most noteworthy accomplishments is the revolutionizing of the registration process for the biannual MU blood drives by creating the system that is still used to this day to assist in minimizing donor wait times. For all these reasons and her corporate mantra of providing excellent customer service and caring for projects, the Chamber honored Debin and Delta Systems as the 1992 Small Business of the Year and again in 2005 as a Small Business of the Year Finalist.

A Transcript of the Award Announcement

It is our honor to present the 7th Annual Debin Benish Outstanding Business Woman Award. I’m Dave Benish, and this is last year’s winner, Karen Miller, Boone County District 1 Commissioner, and Steve Powell with Delta Systems Group.

What a thrill it was last year when I was presented this wonderful award. I’ll forever cherish it. In the spirit of Debin Benish’s giving of her time, talent and treasure I used last year’s grant money to participate in the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge.  Greater Missouri is an annual traveling symposium designed to bring together women leaders from global corporations, small business, academia, government agencies and non-profit organizations. Through the course of the year, we are exposed to critical issues confronting our communities, state and nation.
I find this a wonderful opportunity to build strong relationships with women leaders across this state and work collaboratively to find solutions to everyday problems facing our citizens, our businesses and our governments.

Debin was a dedicated pioneer in the technology world. She started Delta Systems Group and led a successful business for 18 years. While at the same time she was active in the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Woman’s Network, other community and state programs and charities.
With the support of Steve Powell, the current owner of Delta Systems, Debin’s husband Dave Benish, and Women’s Network who continues to encourage and recognize career women with this memorial award and a $1,000 grant. This award is designed to honor a Columbia Businesswoman who:
•    Exhibits leadership in supporting small business,
•    Has a record of volunteering in the community,
•    Is a mentor to other business women,
•    Owns or is employed by a Chamber member business, and   preferably a Women’s Network member.

This businesswoman works hard yet volunteers extensively in the community. She’s been described as someone who’s “genuine, trustworthy, caring, generous, honest and interested in everyone she meets.”  A real agent of Change!

This year’s recipient is heavily involved in Women’s Network – an instrumental player on the Changing the Odds committee, which helps women re-enter the workforce. Within the Chamber, she’s been a strong voice on the Chamber’s Small Business Committee, and it would be a rare occasion if she missed an Ambassador’s ribbon cutting event.

This year’s recipient is definitely a pioneer for women whose career could be considered non-traditional. She exudes confidence in herself and her abilities. She owns and operates a business with her husband, which was awarded the Small Business of the Year in 2009. Always encouraging continued education to her employees, this businesswoman has gone so far as to prepare dinner for her employees so they can go right from work to class without missing a meal.
I first got to know this nominee during a Leadership series program. I was impressed with her willingness to stand up in front of the class and tell everyone how she struggles in the office with being a control freak.  She received advice on how to loosen up some of that control and would come back weekly and give updates on how it was working.  She is a great example of a true leader- always wanting to improve and taking every opportunity to do so.

This year, it is my honor to present Michele Spry co-owner of Midway Electric with the Debin Benish Outstanding Businesswoman Award.

About the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce held its 106th Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet at the MU Alumni Center.


The new Columbia MO Women’s Network website has an article about Michelle Spry’s award