We asked, you voted! As part of the MSU College of Business Centennial Celebration, we are proud to recognize 100 of our most distinguished alumni. With more than 33,000 graduates since the college's establishment in 1915, selecting only 100 is no easy task. We express our most sincere gratitude to our College of Business students, alumni, faculty and friends who helped in the selection process by nominating these 100 outstanding men and women who mean BUSINESS!
Below you will read about 100 former COB students-- old and young, from all majors and backgrounds-- who have demonstrated distinguished service to their profession, including outstanding achievement in their field, commitment to the community, and commitment to the College of Business and Mississippi State University. Each will be recognized in the Centennial Edition of Dividends Magazine, as well as during the COB Centennial Celebration Gala on Friday, November 13, 2015.
BOYCE ADAMS, SR. (1980) Co-founder and president of BankTel Systems, serving over 1,400 financial institutions in all 50 states as well as the Caribbean and several other countries. Since the late 1980s, Mr. Adams has been involved in software development and marketing in several capacities. Adams serves on numerous boards including the MSU College of Business Executive Advisory Board. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2014.
RICHARD C. ADKERSON (1969; MBA 1970) Vice chairman, president and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. He is a current member and past chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals, as well as many other advisory boards. Adkerson is a member of the Mississippi State University Foundation Board of Directors and previously served as president. He chaired Mississippi State’s “State of the Future” capital campaign and serves on the COB Executive Advisory Board. He was named National Alumnus of the Year of in 2011. He was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame in 2010, received The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Charles F. Rand Memorial Award in 2011 and was named Copper Man of the Year 2009 by The Copper Club. He has been named Best CEO in Metals and Mining by Institutional Investor Magazine every year since 2008. Adkerson graduated from MSU with a degree in Accounting with highest honors, and an MBA degree. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from MSU in 2010. Adkerson also completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School in 1988.
E. ANDREW “DREW” ALLEN (1974) President of Allen Beverages, Inc., a Pepsi distribution company. Allen is a member of the Board of Directors for The Peoples Bank as well as the COB Executive Advisory Board, where he currently serves as president. Allen received “The Others Award” from the Salvation Army, one of the highest-ranking honors for civic work, and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2011. He earned a marketing degree from MSU in 1974.
JOE ASSELL (1994) Co-founder, president and CEO of GolfTEC. The company began with one employee and $90,000 in sales and now operates with 650 employees and over $80 million in sales. Assell serves on the Board of Directors of the Colorado PGA, Associate Board of the Boys and Girls of Metro Denver, the National PGA Marketing and Member Benefits Committee and the National PGA Golf 2.0 Get Golf Ready Committee. He graduated cum laude in marketing from the Professional Golf Management program. Assell received the Young Alumni of the Year award in 2002, as well as 2008 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
JAMES K. ASHFORD (1958) Retired as president and CEO of J.I. Case, a subsidiary of Tenneco Inc., and owner of investment and management group, The Ashford Group. He is also the CEO of AP Parts International Inc. Ashford received the 1986 Outstanding Alumnus Award by Richard Adkerson School of Accountancy, was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 1995, and MSU’s National Alumnus of the Year in 1996. He currently serves on MSU Foundation Board, and led MSU’s first capital campaign.
JOHNNY BAKER, III (1963) Former American football linebacker and tight end. Baker played for the AFL’s Houston Oilers from 1963-1966, and for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers in 1967. He was inducted to the MSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1997.
VICK BALLARD (2012) American football running back. Ballard ranks among MSU’s top 10 in rushing touchdowns, with 19 touchdowns—a single-season school record, and was named NCJAA 1st Team All-American. Ballard was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, and is currently a free agent.
SHELBY BALIUS (2013) Balius is a 2013 business graduate with a double major in management and finance. After serving as Student Association President from 2012-2013, she joined Accenture Management Consulting firm, advising insurance and consumer banking clients on organizational change and regulatory compliance, and recently moved to Washington, D.C. from the Chicago office. Balius is involved with the MSU Alumni Association D.C. chapter, the Mississippi Society of D.C., and serves as vice chairman of Mississippi for the Taste of the South charity organization.
GRANVILLE BARKER (1993) President of Fusion Utility Company, provides water and wastewater services to homes in North Mississippi. Barker is also the President of Abigato Corporation, which develops services and applications that are deployed on the web and mobile platforms, and provides technical development support to high-traffic websites. He is the former CEO of RV Park Reviews, Inc.
SUSAN BELL (1984) Business risk and assurance partner with Ernst & Young, where she serves as the coordinating partner for Delta Airlines, BellSouth and Southern Co. audits. Bell is a member of the Adkerson School of Accountancy Advisory Council.
GEORGE W. BRYAN (1967) CEO of Old Waverly Investments, LLC and former CEO of Sara Lee Foods Division. Bryan serves as general campaign chairman of the United Way of the Mid-South, and board member at Regions Financial Corporation and Chair of their Risk Committee, and former president of Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts of America. He was named Outstanding Mississippian in 1979, COB Alumni Fellow in 1992, Alumnus of the Year in 1996 and National Alumnus of the Year in 2000. He serves on the MSU Foundation Board.
HARRIS C. BRUMFIELD (1986) Chairman of and majority owner of Trading Technologies, a privately held Chicago-based software vendor of professional trading software. Formerly a Chicago Board of Trade floor trader for 10 years, then 6 years trading electronically. Named Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” in 2003. Regularly quoted and/or profiled in Futures Industry Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Reuters, CNNfn, and Forbes.
STEPHEN BUEHLER (2000) Managing director of the Hedge Fund Solutions Group and COO of Blackstone Individual Investor Solutions. Buehler was previously a relationship manager with Merrill Lynch in the greater New York City (NYC) area and senior manager of assurance and advisory services at KPMG LLP. A native of Starkville, he currently resides in NYC.
MARY CHILDS (1980) President, CEO, COO and vice-chairman of The Peoples Bank in Ripley, MS. Childs is a member of the Board of Trustees of Blue Mountain College and board member and past president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi. She serves as treasurer of the MSU Foundation Board, treasurer for the Tippah County Chapter of the MSU Alumni Association, and the COB Executive Advisory Board. Childs was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2013.
ALBERT C. CLARK (1965) President, CEO and Treasurer of C.C. Clark, Inc., a regional beverage distributor and vice president of Clark Distributing Co. in Kentucky. Clark is a current member of the MSU Foundation Board, where he previously served as president, board member of the MSU Bulldog Club, former board member of Bulldog Foundation and BancorpSouth Bank, Inc. and former chairman of First Federal Bank for Savings. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 2004.
WILLIAM ANTHONY “TONY” CLARK (1980) President of PanAmerican GeoExchange Inc. based in Houston, TX. Clark previously served as senior vice president Global Geophysical Inc. He is a member of the COB Executive Advisory Board and serves on the Board of Directors for the Houston-area YMCA. Clark was a recipient of MSU’s National Alumni Associations Distinguished Service Award in 2007.
DR. JAMES E. COFER (1971) Marketing Professor for the College of Business at Missouri State University. Cofer served as the 10th President of Missouri State University in 2010, after serving as president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 2002-2010. He is the former vice-president for finance and administration for the University of Missouri System, vice-president for finance and administration of the University of Arkansas System, as well as vice-chancellor for fiscal affairs and treasurer of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia where he served as the chief fiscal officer of the System. Cofer also served as chief fiscal officer under two governors for the state of Mississippi. He was named a Fulbright Scholar for the 2014-2015 academic year to lecture and conduct research in Brazil.
JAMES A. “JIM” COGGIN (1964) Retired President and CEO of Saks, Incorporated. Coggin graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in general business. He currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board for the College of Business, and was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2015.
LAMAR A. CONERLY, JR. (1971) Partner with Conerly, Bowman and Dykes LLP in Destin, FL. Conerly is a past MSU National Alumni Association president, former board member of the United Way, former Lions Club president, and former board member for the Destin, FL Chamber of Commerce and Hazelhurst, MS Chamber of Commerce, previously serving as president of both. Conerly was named Honorary Commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in 2001. He was named an MSU Butler Fellow in 2001 and COB Alumni Fellow in 2004.
DR. WILLIAM “BILL” COOLEY (Ph.D. 1977) Chairman of the Board of Systems Consultants Associates, Inc., a 26 year-old local management training and consulting firm. Cooley is also chairman of Systems Electro Coating, LLC, a tier-one automotive part supplier to Nissan North America, and Canton facility and Systems IT, Inc., an information technology training company. He is a retired Air Force Colonel and former dean of the School of Business at Jackson State University.
CYNTHIA COOPER (1986) CEO of The CooperGroup, a management consulting firm providing services in the areas of internal audit, ethics and compliance, fraud prevention, and board consultation. She served as vice-president of Internal Audit at WorldCom, where she investigated and uncovered $3.8 billion in fraud within the company. Cooper was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Also, worked for the public accounting firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte and Touche.
DANNY CUPIT (1967) Successful Mississippi attorney who, in 1987, helped win the first asbestos case in the state of Mississippi. Cupit practices law in downtown Jackson at the Law Offices of Danny E. Cupit, and is an active member of the Mississippi Democratic Party.
HELEN CURRIE (Ph.D. 2000) Senior Economist at ConocoPhillips overseeing the company’s long-range plan development and advising on investment analysis, political risk, scenario planning and other strategic initiatives. Currie served on the faculty at Elon University and LaGrange College. Her academic research focused on mortgage-backed securities valuation and financial institutions management. She previously worked with the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, conducting Economic Impact Studies and Small Business Economic Analyses for environmental regulations.
CHARVIS DAVIDSON (2014) Account Executive at International Paper in Memphis, Tennessee. Davidson graduated Summa Cum Laude with a business emphasis in banking and finance and a language emphasis in Spanish. Davidson is a member of the COB Young Alumni Advisory Board.
TIMOTHY “AUSTIN” DEAR (2011) Production Engineering Manager at Facebook. Prior to graduation, Dear founded and developed A6 Technologies LLC, a web-based management system for churches and non-profit organizations.
JOHN “NUTIE” DOWDLE (1965) Chairman of the Board of Dowdle Enterprises, a private investment company. Dowdle is also the chairman and CEO of Dowdle Gas, Inc. He previously served on the board of directors for Cadence Financial Corporation, and as director and chairman of several other committees and organizations. He is a current board member of the MSU Foundation, and was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 1996.
DURWARD B. DUNN, III (1975) President of Durward Dunn, Inc. in Metairie, LA. The company, founded by his father Durward Jr., specializes in marine and heavy construction, servicing industries along the Mississippi River and the Gulf South. Dunn graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in Management. The Dunns’ commitment to Mississippi State can be seen all over campus, through various scholarships and investments in building expansions and renovations, not only for College of Business, but many other colleges and programs as well.
CHARLES “CHUCK” EASLEY, JR. (MBA 1976) Former Associate Justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Easley previously served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Third Judicial Court from 1980-1983., prosecutor of the Town of Caledonia, and Judge of the Town of Caledonia. He has served on the Mississippi Supreme Court Security Committee, Mississippi Supreme Court Library Committee, Mississippi Supreme Court Human Resources Committee and as chairman of the Mississippi Continuing Judicial Education Committee. Easley has also served on the Board of Directors of Big Brother and Big Sisters, American Cancer Society and Mississippi Prosecutor’s Association. He teaches courses on ethics for both judges and attorneys.
GEORGE THOMAS “TOMMY” EVERETT, III (1950) Retired president of Magee Auto Supply. Everett received a general business degree from Mississippi State University after his return from WWII. Everett served as MSU National Alumni Board president in 1974 and as treasurer from 1979-1992. He was named National Alumnus of the year in 2013.
LAURENCE E. “LARRY” FAVREAU (1974) Executive vice president and CEO of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. Favreau graduated from MSU with a degree in accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a Fellow of the Life Management Institute. He currently serves as a member of the COB Executive Advisory Board, and was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2014.
JOHN D. FERGUSON (1967) Ferguson is Chairman of the Board and former CEO of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) International, Inc. He has extensive business experience that includes banking, entrepreneurial ventures, corporate turnarounds, and government experience. Ferguson served as the Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the state of Tennessee for four years. He is a 1967 business graduate with a degree in accounting, and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2007.
MICHAEL FERRIL (2012) Starting his career as production manager at DPM Fragrance before even graduating from college, Ferril quickly moved up the ranks of the company, and was named operations director in 2014. As a junior majoring in management, he founded CleanCrete Exteriors, a pressure washing business which he sold upon graduation.
HALEY R. FISACKERLY (1987) President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Inc. A native of Columbus, MS, Fisackerly previously managed the Washington D.C. office of Senator Thad Cochran. He serves on numerous statewide boards, as well as the COB Executive Advisory Board and the MSU Foundation Board.
HASSELL H. FRANKLIN (1959) Founder, president and CEO of Franklin Corp., one of the largest, privately owned furniture manufacturers in the U.S. Franklin is a 1959 business graduate with a degree in industrial management. He is lead director of BancorpSouth, former president of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association and past director of the Manufacturers Association, and Mississippi Economic Council. Franklin is a member of the MSU Foundation Board, a past member of the COB Executive Advisory Board, and former president of the Bulldog Club. The 1995 MSU Alumnus of the Year was also inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2013. . He also established a $1 million endowment at MSU for the Franklin Furniture Institute, a research and training center benefitting the furniture industry.
LINDA M. GARRETT (1969) An accounting graduate of MSU and native of Corinth, Linda and late husband Donald were founders and principals of Garrett Associates Inc., an executive search firm in Atlanta, specializing in nationwide health care recruiting. She and Donald were named COB Alumni Fellows in 2000. Linda, now retired, is an active member of the COB Executive Advisory Board and has previously served on the MSU Foundation Board.
STEVE D. GOLDING (1972) President of Golding Barge Line in Vicksburg, MS, which specializes in the movement of refined petroleum products, petro-chemicals, and chemical products throughout the entire US inland waterway system. Golding is a 1972 Business Graduate with a degree in Transportation. He is a member of the MSU Foundation Board and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2001.
H. DEVON “VON” GRAHAM (1956) President of R.E. Smith Interests, Houston, TX. Graham is the former regional managing partner for the Southeastern United States, and managing partner of New Orleans for Arthur Andersen. He is a member of the board of directors for Freeport-McMoRan Inc, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Symphony. He is a trustee at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation and an advisory board member on the Houston A+ Challenge, which supports Houston public schools. Graham is also member of the COB Executive Advisory Board and was named MSU National Alumnus of the Year in 1985.
JOHN R. GRISHAM, JR. (1977) American lawyer, politician, and best-selling author, best known for his popular legal thrillers such as The Firm and A Time to Kill. Grisham has sold more than 275 million books in his 30-year career. He graduated from Adkerson School of Accountancy in 1977 with a degree in He practiced criminal defense and personal litigation for nearly 10 years and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990. It was during this time that he began pursuing his writing career. Grisham has currently written more than 30 books, with many adapted into feature films. He has received a number of awards, including the 2007 Galaxy British Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction. Grisham was named MSU National Alumnus of the Year in 1994.
JAN L. GWIN (1971) A native of Greenville, Miss., Jan Gwin resides in Memphis, currently serving as managing director of Raymond James. He is a 1971 business graduate majoring in banking and finance. Gwin has served as president of the West Tennessee chapter of the MSU Alumni Association, Bulldog Club and MSU M-Club. A former MSU Foundation Board member, he currently serves and the COB Executive Advisory Board. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2008.
JULIUS P. GWIN (1960) Originally from Greenville, Miss., the late Julius Gwin lived in Fayetteville, Ga., where he served as vice president of corporate planning for Delta Air Lines until his retirement in 1996. He received a bachelor’s in business administration in 1960, two years prior to serving his country as an Air Force Lieutenant at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gwin was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1996.
TOXEY HAAS (1982) Founder and CEO of Haas Outdoor, Inc. In 1986, Haas invented the Mossy Oak Brand Camouflage. Haas Outdoor, Inc. is also the parent company of Mossy Oak Properties, BioLogic, and Nativ Nurseries. He was instrumental in the development of Mossy Oak Golf Club. Haas graduated with a degree in Business Administration from MSU in 1982.
WILLIAM H. “BILL” HOLLEY, JR. (1962; MBA, 1965) Past president and former executive secretary-treasurer of the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) as well as the Southern Management Association. A native of Clarksdale, MS, Holley is a retired professor of management, associate dean and department head at Auburn University. He is the author of the Labor Relations Process, and an active professional arbitrator.
JONATHAN HOLDER (2014) Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 6th round of the 2014 draft. Holder was named a consensus All-American in 2013, ranking fourth in SEC history and 16 shy of the NCAA record with 37 career saves. He holds Mississippi State’s career and single-season record for saves (37/21). Holder received a Marketing degree from MSU, and was a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
WILBERT G. “MICKEY” HOLLIMAN (1960) Former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Furniture Brands International, the world’s largest furniture manufacturer and parent company of Action Industries, which later became Lane Furniture in Tupelo, MS. Holliman is the director of American Home Furnishings Alliance, Inc. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1993, and MSU’s National Alumnus of the Year in 1998. Holliman serves on the MSU Foundation Board.
SHAWN HUNTER (1992) Originally from Memphis, TN, Hunter resides in Mobile, AL. He is a 1992 business graduate majoring in Real Estate Mortgage Finance. He is the owner and CEO of Industry Services, Inc., a specialty industrial contractor supplying technical service, equipment and field crews to combat heat and corrosion problems for customers throughout the United States.
LOUIS A. HURST, JR. (1949) Currently a Houston, TX resident, Hurst retired after a 30-year career as assistant director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Memphis. He was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2003, and MSU Alumnus of the Year in 2007. Hurst is a member of the Foundation’s Old Main Society, and previously served on the COB Executive Advisory Board.
PAUL KARRE (1974) Retired senior vice president of Human Resources and Communications for International Paper. Karre served a 40-year career with IP, including four year as director of human resources in Europe. He currently serves on the Zoological Council for the Memphis Zoo, and the COB Executive Advisory Board, where he previously served as Chairman. Karre was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2012.
RHONDA N. KEENUM (1983) First lady of MSU and a native of Booneville, MS. Keenum served as assistant secretary for trade promotion and director general of the US and Foreign Commercial Services in the US Department of Commerce. She served as White House Director of Public Liaison under the Bush Administration. Keenum is the founder and partner of the WIT Group and serves on the advisory board of Entergy Mississippi Inc., and the board of directors of Palmer Home.
FRANCIS C. “FRANC’ LEE (1989) President and CEO of First Tower, LLC. First Tower is a privately owned finance company that operates more than 200 branches in Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Alabama, and Missouri. Lee was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2012. Earned a degree in Banking and Finance from MSU.
JONATHAN LEE (2000) Account Executive for Phillips Electronics North America Company. Lee was the past president of Mississippi Products, Inc. He served as chairman of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, sub-chamber of the Greater Jackson Chamber set to help businesses inside the city. Lee also serves on several boards, including the MSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors as the At-Large Director. He was named Young Alumnus of the Year in 2008.
PAUL MAHOLM (2003) First-round draft selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the eighth player chosen overall. Maholm was Consensus All-American in 2003 for MSU. He put together a 27-10 career record with 267 strikeouts and a 3.54 ERA. Over his career, he has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
LEWIS F. MALLORY, JR. (1965) Retired chairman and CEO of Cadence Bank in 2011; lecturer of Finance for the College of Business. A native of Starkville, Mallory graduated with a degree in banking and finance in 1965. He serves on the MSU Foundation Board, having been president from 1982 to 1985, and also serves on the COB Executive Advisory Board. He was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 1997. He and wife Pie give back to their alma mater through various scholarships and charitable gifts.
LEWIS F. MALLORY, SR. (1934) former MSU comptroller and later became the first vice president of business affairs. He began working at Mississippi in 1945 until his retirement in 1978. A native of Calhoun City, MS, Mallory graduated in 1934 with a degree in accounting. He served as the first treasurer of the MSU Foundation. Mallory passed away in 1990.
JAMES “CHRIS” MALONEY (1984) Fourth season as the First Base Coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Maloney played first base for the Bulldogs during his time at MSU. He then spent four years playing minor league ball for the Mets and Cardinals. Maloney’s managing career began in 1991, with the rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League, prior to managing the New Orleans Zephyrs—top farm club of the Houston Astros.
DON E. MASON (MBA 1965) Business development and governmental relations consultant for Future Pipe Industries and Seemann Composites. Mason is the retired Vice President of external affairs and corporate services for Mississippi Power Company. He is involved in numerous civic and professional organizations. Mason serves as a member of the MSU Foundation Board and the COB Executive Advisory Board, where he previously served as chairman.
REAR ADMIRAL JAMES OTIS MAYO (1941) Aviator, aircraft carrier commander and economic analyst for the U.S. Navy. Mayo graduated in 1941 with a degree in business administration, before beginning a naval career flying torpedo planes in the Pacific during World War II. For 33 years, he had a diverse military career including assignments in the air, on ships and overseas. He worked with the Department of State and served as defense attaché to Moscow. Mayo was awarded National Defense Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Legion of Merit Award and the State Department Meritorious Service Award. He had a 20-year career with Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., rising to vice chairman of the board of directors. Mayo previously served on COB Executive Advisory Board. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1991. Mayo passed away in 2007 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
JOSEPH “MIKE” McILWAIN (1987) Originally from Pahokee, FL, Mike McIlwain resides in Chicago, IL. McIlwain is a 1987 business graduate majoring in Accounting. He is currently the President and CEO of PSAV. For more than 78 years, PSAV has been setting the standard for event technology services within the hotel, resort and conference center industry, offering expertise for everything from intimate gatherings to large conventions.
MAC McINNIS (1965) A Moss Point native, Mac McInnis resides in Fairhope, AL. He is a 1965 graduate with a B.S. in Business Administration. Mr. McInnis was CEO and majority stockholder of Macland Disposal. The company sold in 2008 but he remains in the waste management industry. McInnis previously served 15 years on the board for MS Youth for Christ, and currently serves as chairman of the board for Here’s Life Africa, a non-profit organization active in missionary work throughout Africa.
JOBIE MELTON (1971) Former managing partner for Arthur Andersen, and former partner with Horne CPA Group in Jackson, where he served as Shareholder and Director of Financial Institution Practice, Audit Engagement and Practice Development. Melton was a member of Adkerson School of Accountancy Advisory Council, where he previously served as President. He served as president, treasurer, vice president and board member of the Mississippi Society of CPAs. Melton chaired the Legislative Committee and the Education Foundation Trustees for the society. He was awarded the MSCPA Public Service Award 2003 and MSU Beta Alpha Psi Alumnus of the Year in 1995. Melton served on MSU Foundation as chairman of the audit committee and member of the executive committee. He was the former president of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Association. Melton was named 2005 Alumnus of the Year (posthumously.) Melton passed away in 2005.
LEE MILLER (1979) President of Miller Transporters, Inc. a family-owned business founded in 1942. Miller began his career with Miller Transport out of college holding various positions in Birmingham, Mobile and El Dorado, AR. He is a past member of Madison County School Board and current member of the COB Executive Advisory Board. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2009.
OSCAR MISKELLY (1976) Co-founded Jackson-area based Miskelly Furniture in 1978, along with his brothers. Miskelly serves as CEO and the only brother still active in the business. Today, the company has annual revenues in excess of $50 million. Miskelly Furniture named top independent furniture store in the country in 2014 by the national industry trade magazine Home Furnishings Business.
RODERICK A. “ROD” MOORE (1967) Rod Moore is a 1967 Accounting Graduate from Mississippi State University. Moore is retired Executive Vice President and CEO of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, a multi-line regional property and casualty insurance company operating in six states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. He is a member of the COB Executive Advisory Board and serves on the MSU Foundation Board. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2004.
DAVIS K. MORTENSEN (1956) Retired executive vice president for building products with Georgia-Pacific Corp, which included responsibility for 5.6 million acres of timberland and half of the company’s 52.000 employees in the building products division. Mortensen served for two years in the US Army. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1995, and COB Alumnus of the Year in 2000.
GILLESPIE V. “SONNY” MONTGOMERY (1943) A veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict, Montgomery retired from Mississippi National Guard as Major General. He was first elected to Mississippi State Senate in 1956 before serving for 30 years in the US House of Representatives, where he championed veteran’s issues and national defense. Montgomery's greatest legislative victory was the enactment of the bill that bears his name: the Montgomery GI Bill. After retiring from Congress, he operated a Washington-based lobbying firm. He received Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Montgomery passed away in 2006.
PAUL B. MURPHY, JR. (1981) CEO and President of Cadence Bancorp, LLC, and Chairman of Cadence Bank. Cadence Bancorp raised $1 billion to invest in the banking industry in 2010, and has since made three acquisitions, bringing the combined company to more than $8.1 billion in assets with 72 branches across five states. Murphy previously spent nearly 20 years at Amegy Bank of Texas as the CEO and Director. During his tenure, Amegy completed several successful acquisitions and sold to Zions Bancorporation for $1.7 billion in 2005, with original investors realizing 36 times their investment. He is a board member of the Houston Endowment, Inc., the boards of the Hines Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc., Oceaneering International, Inc., Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Houston Branch, The Kinkaid School, and the Children’s Museum of Houston. He is also active in the World Presidents Organization. Murphy was named Alumnus of the Year in 2013.
DEBRAH OBERKIRCH (1982) Principal at Deloitte Consulting: Human Capital in Chicago, focused on global HR transformations enabled by technology. A native of Biloxi, MS, Oberkirch previously served as a consulting manager for finance and HR at Deloitte in Houston and Chicago. She currently serves on the COB Executive Advisory Board.
DR. SHIRLEY OLSON (1969, 1978) AND WALTER J. “DUKE” OLSON, III. (1968) Shirley is president of Olson Consulting Group in Jackson. She serves on the MSU Foundation Board, COB Executive Advisory Board, and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1998. Walter is retired vice president and chief investment officer for Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. He previously worked for Winsloew Furniture Inc. (now Brown Jordan International, Inc.) and Merrill Lynch. Walter serves on the COB Economics and Finance Advisory Board. He has been a member of the M-Club for baseball for 47 years. Walter graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in business, and Shirley earned a bachelor of business administration in management in 1969, followed by a doctorate in finance in 1978.
CRAIG ORGERON (1989) Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services. Orgeron served as the President of the National Association of State Chief Information Officer (NASCIO) during the 2013-14 program year. He has partnered with many government information technology task forces, such as the MS Broadband Task Force, the Digital Signature Committee, and the Electronic Government Task Force. Orgeron began his career as a communications-computer systems officer in the United States Air Force. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Systems from MSU, as well as a Master’s and Ph.D. in Public Policy.
HAL PARKER (1969) Founder of Sunbelt Wholesale Supply Co., a regional distributor of fiberglass insulation and residential roofing. He was a partner in Mississippi Roofing Supply and Parker Land, LLC, until its sale in 2006. He was appointed to the IHL by Governor Phil Bryant in 2012 to represent the First (Central) Supreme Court District. Parker has previously served four terms on MSU Foundation Board, two terms on Hinds Community College Foundation Board, was past president of the Bulldog Club, and was designated as a Dean W. Colvard Founder due to his lifetime gifts to MSU.
HARTLEY PEAVEY (1965) Marketing and Management graduate from MSU. He is founder and CEO of Peavey Electronic Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment. Established in 1965, Peavey Electronics has earned more than 180 patents and produces more than 2,000 products that are distributed throughout the United States and to more than 130 other countries. Peavey is a member of the International Music Products Association Hall of Fame, the Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif., and the Vintage Guitar Hall of Fame. Peavey also received an Honorary Doctorate of Creative & Performing Arts from Mississippi State University in 2004. He and wife Melia were named COB Alumni Fellows in 1994.
ROD PERRY (1996) Director of Crane Lakes Golf Club; eight-time North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year. Perry competed in 22 PGA Tour Events, including the 2012, 2013, and 2014 PGA Championships. PGA of America's Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. Perry received the PGA Professional Player of the Year Award in 2012 and 2013. He previously held the assistant professional position at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, FL. Perry earned a degree in Marketing and Professional Golf Management in 1996.
DR. RON J. PONDER (1975) Ponder held senior information technology positions in several Fortune 100 companies including FedEx, Sprint, AT&T Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and WellPoint. In 2006, he founded the Ponder Group, an information technology consulting firm. Ponder was a recipient of the Smithsonian Award for Technology Excellence, the Carnegie Mellon Award for Innovative Technology and the Stevie Award for Technology Innovation. In CIO Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Issue “Decade of the CIO”, he was listed as one of the 12 most influential technology executives. Ponder was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1990.
BEN PUCKETT (1951) Former Chairman of Puckett Machinery Co. During his career, Puckett served on the board of directors of Trustmark National Bank for 25 years and was an active board member of Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce, the MSU Development Foundation, Mississippi Roadbuilders Association, Mississippi Asphalt Association and president of the Downtown YMCA. Puckett was a founding member of Jackson Preparatory School. He served as chairman of Mississippi State for 16 years and co-chair for another 10 years. Puckett earned the 1993 Distinguished American Award from the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2001. He passed away in 2013.
RICHARD H. PUCKETT, SR. (1977) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Puckett Machinery Co. Director of Trustmark Corporation and Trustmark National Bank. MSU College of Business 2009 Alumnus of the Year. Member of MSU Foundation Board and COB Executive Advisory Board.
RICHARD L. REDD (1961) Retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of Redd Pest Control. Redd was also past Mississippi section manager of the American Radio Relay League, the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts. He lived in the Jackson, MS area at the time of his death in May 2015.
JOE RICE (1979) Managing Director, Investments at Raymond James. Rice is a partner of the FinkelbergRice Group of Raymond James. He serves as a member of MSU Finance Advisory Board, COB Executive Advisory Board, and the Raymond James & Associates Chairman’s Council. Rice was named to Barron’s Top 1,000 Financial Advisors in 2012 and 2013 and to the Financial Times of London Top 400 Financial Advisors in 2015.
KENNETH B. ROBINSON (1977) Chief Audit Executive of The Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company, overseeing the company’s global Internal Audit function and compliance issues. He has served in an array of finance and audit positions throughout his career at P&G. Robinson is a board member and honorary co-chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and an audit committee member for the Cincinnati City Center Development Corp. (3CDC). Robinson is also a member of the COB Executive Advisory Board and was named the 2015 COB Alumni Fellow.
JAMES J. “JIM” ROUSE (1962) Retired ExxonMobil Corp. vice president. Rouse is a 1962 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He is a member of the MSU Foundation Board, where he served as chairman from 2010-2012, the MSU Bulldog Club, and the COB Executive Advisory Board. He has previously served as a board member for Ford’s Theatre and the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, and the Houston Ballet. Rouse was named MSU National Alumnus of the Year in 2012. He and wife Julia have established a number of scholarships, endowed professorships and chairs for the College of Business, and are also major supporters of MSU Athletics. They reside in Houston, TX.
JOE FRANK SANDERSON, SR. (1947) Co-founder and former Chairman of the Board of Sanderson Farms, Inc. Sanderson was a 1947 graduate with degrees in business and accounting. He was former director and chairman of the Mississippi Poultry Association and National Broiler Council. He also served as chairman of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, president of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, and chairman of the MSU Foundation Board. Sanderson was inducted to the Mississippi Poultry Association’s Hall of Fame in 1974, and the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 1991. He received the Mississippi Business All-Star Award from the Mississippi Economic Council in 1991, was named Mississippi Philanthropist of the Year in 1994, and was named MSU National Alumnus of the Year in 1990. In 1989, he established the $1 million Joe Frank and Ann Sanderson Fund for Excellence at MSU to promote excellence in teaching, research and service programs in the colleges of Business and Arts and Sciences. He made a $6 million gift in 1993 to fund the building of MSU’s student health and recreation center, named after him. Sanderson Sr. passed away in 2008.
LEO W. SEAL, JR. (1949) Former president of Hancock Holding Company and Chairman of Hancock Bank. In addition to his business degree, Seal received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from MSU. He served in leadership roles throughout Mississippi, including serving as past president of the Mississippi Bankers Association and the Mississippi Economic Council. Seal was named the COB Alumnus of the Year in 2002 and the MSU National Alumnus of the Year in 1983. He passed away in 2008.
CAROLYN SHANKS (1983) Former president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi and credited with transforming Entergy into a customer-focused utility. The Senatobia native was the first woman to head the state’s largest electric utility when she was appointed in 1999. Shanks began her career at Entergy straight out of college as an accountant.
DEREK SHERROD (2010) First Round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers as an offensive lineman, before being added to the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster. While at MSU, Sherrod played all four years of college, while being named a finalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy. He earned a degree in Business Administration from MSU.
LIZA SISSON (2010) Lead analyst for Outbound Fulfillment at Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. Her first role was in one of Amazon.com’s largest fulfillment centers, outside of Philadelphia, PA, before moving to California to design and launch Amazon's first California fulfillment center outside of Los Angeles. Within six months, the fulfillment center was the #1 site in the Amazon network in terms of productivity and efficiency.
CORNELIOUS D. “C.D.” SMITH R. (1991, 1995) Regional director with AT&T Mississippi. Smith was appointed to the IHL Board by Governor Haley Barbour, and is Chairman of the Board of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Institute. BHe serves on the board of directors for East Mississippi Business Development Corporation and State Games of Mississippi and the board of governors Mississippi Economic Council. He has received numerous community awards including The Meridian Star’s Citizen of the Year and Man of the Year awards.
SCOTT STRICKLIN (1992) Sixteenth athletics director (AD) at Mississippi State University, beginning his career here in 2010. Stricklin previously served as media relations director at Auburn, media relations director at Tulane, assistant AD for communications and marketing at Baylor, associate AD for media relations at Kentucky and senior associate AD for external affairs at MSU.
MARY ALICE TAYLOR (1971) Accounting graduate from Mississippi State University. Taylor is an independent business executive and former chairman and CEO of Homegrocer.com. Early in her career, she held management positions with Shell Oil Company, Cook Industries, Northern Telecom and Federal Express Corporation. She has previously served on the board of directors for Perrigo Inc., Sabre Holdings, Dell Computer Corporation, Exult, and Autodesk Inc. Taylor currently serves on the corporate board for Allstate as chairman of the Audit Committee, and Blue Nile Inc. as the chairman of the Nominating & Governance Committee.
WILLIAM A. “LEX” TAYLOR, III (1977) CEO and Chairman of The Taylor Group Inc., the Louisville, MS-based company, since 2007. Taylor began working in the family business at the age of 15. He was chairman of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association from 2010-2011, past chairman of the COB Executive Advisory Board and former member of the MSU Foundation Board. He was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2007.
GERALD W. "JERRY" THAMES (1971) Vice chairman, chief executive officer and president of Global TeleSystems Group Inc.Thames previously held the position of president and CEO of British Telecom North America. He also served as President and CEO of Syncordia Corporation, BT's global enterprise outsourcing subsidiary. Thames began his telecommunications career with AT&T. He was named COB Alumni Fellow in 1999. Thames resides in Duluth, GA.
JERRY TONEY (1996) Senior financial consultant for Cadence Bank’s Wealth Services Division, and president of Cadence Bank for Mississippi. Toney graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate and Mortgage Finance. He is past president of the local chapter of the MSU Alumni Association, former vice president and president of the National Board of Directors. Toney currently serves as a member of the Mississippi State University’s Master Planning Committee, the Athletic Council Advisory Board and Department of Finance and Economics Advisory Board.
MIKE TUTTLE (1971) Accounting Graduate from Mississippi State University. He is currently Chief Executive of Primerica Financial Services. Primerica, Inc. is a distributer of financial services and products. Tuttle is one of Primerica’s top producers and has office throughout the United States.
CLAY WAGNER (1982) Senior VP Hancock Bank, Biloxi. Wagner was past president of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce. He received the 2015 Jody Compretta Person of Passion award for his leadership in Mississippi coast-wide initiatives and his service on numerous boards throughout the region.
WILLIAM L. “BILL” WALLER, JR. (1974) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi since 2009. A native of Jackson, Waller is the son of William Waller Sr., the former Governor of Mississippi. He practiced law for 20 years and served as a municipal judge in Jackson until his election to the Supreme Court in 1996. Waller is a recipient of numerous judicial awards, and he serves as a member of the MSU Stennis Institute Advisory Board.
M.L. WATERS (1978) Secretary and Treasurer of family-owned Waters International Trucks, Inc., a fourth generation full service truck dealership and wrecker service. Waters serves on the Board of Directors of Mississippi Power Company. He received the Hartley D. Peavey Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
DAVID LEE WATSON (1979) Vice President and Portfolio Manager for Montag & Caldwell, LLC in Atlanta, GA. Watson is a Registered Investment Adviser Representative (IAR). He is a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Group and is responsible for Montag’s European clients, having managed the firm’s Dublin-domiciled UCIT’s fund and its predecessor since 2001. Watson previously served as a member on the Educational Content Committee of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Professional Qualifications Committee of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and the MSU Foundation Board. He is a CFA charter holder and member of the Atlanta Society of Financial Analysts. Watson was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2005.
CHARLES “CHARLIE” WEATHERLY (1959) Director of development emeritus for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. Weatherly graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He began working at MSU in 1962 as a field representative for the MSU Alumni Association. He served for the Alumni Association for many years, and was eventually named executive director, a role he remained in until 1987. Weatherly later joined the MSU Foundation staff as director of development for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. He retired in 1997, but soon rejoined the Foundation staff in a part-time fundraising role.
JOSEPH B. "JOE" WHITESIDE (1949) Helped open Triangle Distributors, where he served as vice-president, president, and chairman of the board. Whiteside also served in the same capacity at Lee Wholesale in Tupelo, MS. He is a member of the MSU Foundation Board as well as the COB Executive Advisory Board. Whiteside served in the infantry and the military police during World War II. He was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 1999. Whiteside passed away in 2006.
DON WHITMIRE, JR. (1978) Vice President, Controller, Financial Reporting and Principal Accounting Officer of Freeport-McMoRan, world’s largest publicly traded copper company. Prior to joining Freeport-McMoRan in 1989, he worked in the energy audit practice of Arthur Andersen specializing in the oil and gas industry and serving on the firm wide Oil & Gas Industry Team. He formerly served McMoRan Exploration Co. and currently serves Stratus Properties, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRS) as Vice President and Controller. Whitmire graduated with special distinction and served as president of student honors council in 1978. He serves on the Adkerson School of Accountancy Advisory Council, and was named COB Alumni Fellow in 2010.
TURNER A. WINGO (1967) Retired real estate developer and former owner of Sherry’s Hallmark. Wingo graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in general business administration. He currently serves on the MSU Foundation Board. He was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 2011. Wingo’s lifelong support of MSU extends to several annual and endowed scholarship funds which assist qualified students in the colleges of business, engineering, and architecture, art and design.
MARGARET WOOD (1932) Wood entered MSU College of Business in 1931 as a junior. She was the first co-ed to enter MSU since 1912, when co-education was barred from admission. Wood was named honorary colonel of the cadet corps for two consecutive years, and served as assistant cheerleader, president of the co-ed club and secretary of the 1932 Reveille while in school.