Page 1

INSIDE — $100M Madison project may be opportunity for local builders — Page 3


Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 • Vo. 42 No. 2 • 36 pages

Dr. Clyde Muse: Visionary educator & public servant — Page 10

MBJ FOCUS Banking & Finance {Section begins P16}

» Keesler commitment has credit union on the rise » Rural bank branch closures a concern, but Mississippi has factors that ameliorate trend » PROFILE: Charlotte Corley

{The List P19} » Oldest Banks

Health Care {Section begins P12} » Adam Hodges set to scale the Parkinson mountain » PROFILE: Tonya Moore

{The List P15} » Cardiovascular Care Centers

Health Care/Government {P2}

Special section begins pg 21

» Medical ‘pot’ advocacy groups

cite big upsides in Mississippi plan


2 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 HEALTH CARE/GOVERNMENT

Medical ‘pot’ advocacy groups cite big upsides in Mississippi plan » Open-market approach seen as critical to success By TED CARTER mbj@msbusiness.com The wide-open nature of Medical Marijuana Campaign 2020’s model for a Mississippi medical marijuana sector gets a wrap-around hug from cannabis advocacy organizations and business groups. “We like so far what we see out of Mississippi,” said Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Re- Grantham form of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. That affection comes from staying clear of the cartel-like systems adopted in states such as Florida. NORML and groups like the National Cannabis Industry Association say the initiative’s emphasis on affordable licensing and otherwise easy entry by patients and businesses create a promising foundation on which to build a successful sector. Florida and some other states mandate a vertical integration system by which dispensary companies must compete for a limited number of licenses and develop, grow, transport and sell the product. Shunning that sort of set up is a smart move for Medical Marijuana Campaign 2020’s effort to make the Magnolia State the 34th state to enact medical marijuana, Altieri said. “They seem to be trying to make marijuana accessible to those who need it,” he said. Central to the effort is what is missing from it – caps on licenses. Equally central is a pledge to keep license fees affordable. “This allows for a free market approach,” said Jamie Grantham, executive director of the group heading the ballot effort, Mississippians for Compassionate Care. “We looked at what is working well” in other medical marijuana states, she said in an interview. “Free market” has shown a lot of promise in Oklahoma since voters approved medical cannabis in June 2018. By last October, the state of four million people had 200,000 patients authorized by their physicians to have medical cannabis, a participation rate that puts it near the top among the 33 states that have some form of medical cannabis legislation in place. NORML’s Altieri called Oklahoma “a good success story on the access front” and credited its “very open” uncapped licensing

process. Likewise, Morgan Fox at the National Cannabis Industry Association credits the popularity of Oklahoma’s medial cannabis program to an ease-of-market-entry that gets dispensaries closer to patients. “We’re against barriers to the industry,” said Fox, spokesman for the cannabis industry group, in an interview. Barriers typically are income tests and capital thresholds and the like, Fox said. In Oklahoma, $2,500 gets a cannabis dispensary license. “Oklahoma and its $2,500 fee are a good place to look” for market accessibility, he noted. Limited licensing typically means those “with the most money have the best chances of getting the licenses,” Fox said. In October, a broker in Atlanta put two Florida medical marijuana licenses on sale for a combined $95 million, with one for $40 million and the other for $55 million. The goal, Fox said, should be creating “a robust cannabis base without lawmakers getting in the way between the patients and their doctor.” Mississippi Department of Health officials and members of the governing board would decide how much decision making is left to doctors and patients. And the deciders are not likely to be enthusiastic about treating patients with marijuana, having approved a resolution opposing Campaign 2020 that cites public health and safety concerns. If voters approve Initiative No. 65 -- the result of a petition drive that gained more than 200,000 signatures – the Department of Health and its board will be working from a seven-page document authorizing Mississippi doctors to treat patients with debilitating conditions. These are illnesses such as “cancer, epilepsy or other seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cachexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, chronic or debilitating pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, glaucoma, agitation of dementias, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, pain refractory to appropriate opioid management, spinal cord disease or severe injury, intractable nausea or severe muscle spasticity. A key part of the measure, said Campaign 2020’s Grantham, is a provision allowing doctors to authorize cannabis for conditions of a “similar kind or class” to the nearly two dozen designated in the initiative. The Department of Health and its board will nonetheless have huge sway on what medical marijuana looks like in Mississip-

pi, said business lawyer Whitt Steineker, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry team at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham. “What Mississippi is going to do is leave a lot of discretion to the Department of Health,” Steineker said in an interview. Expect Mississippi officials, he said, to block and divert wherever they can, including the likelihood legislators will introduce a more restrictive ballot measure of their own. “No doubt about it that the opposition from many in power in state government in Mississippi presents a challenge to implementing this, if it passes,” Steineker said. Even with passage, expect everyone from local zoning boards to state law enforcement “to drag their feet” on Initiative No. 65, he predicted. But he doesn’t expect the local and state authorities to actually fully block a new law. “They will get nitpicky on technicities,” he said. Should they refuse to apply the law, “I don’t think the courts would take to that very well,” Steineker added. However, if the Nov. 3 voting outcome is similar to the 70 percent or more of state voters who favor medical marijuana, state officials may be less prone to setting up barriers to legal cannabis treatments, Steineker predicted. State and local officials also would have the measure itself to deal with. It specifies that local municipalities “shall not impair the availability of and reasonable access to medical marijuana.” The proposal further mandates that state officials begin providing licenses for retailers no later than August 15, 2021. Nothing in the proposed amendment alters rules on drugs in the workplace, according to Steineker. “If you have a drug-free workplace you can continue that,” he said. Further, Mississippi businesses won’t have to worry about costs of their company-provided health insurance going up to cover workers who are cannabis patients. As long as marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug banned under the 1970 Controlled Substance Act, insurers won’t cover it. With the United States having nearly 40 states with either adult-use legal marijuana or medical marijuana, lawyers like Steineker are spending ever larger parts of their workdays advising businesses on cannabis commerce. It’s unsettled terrain for banks, real estate firms, equipment companies and others wanting to venture into the emerging sector, he noted. “I try not to go around telling people to go get a lawyer,” Steineker said, but added: See MEDICAL ‘POT’, Page 3

MEDICAL CANNABIS COULD BE OPPORTUNITY FOR BANKERS – BUT A RISKY ONE By TED CARTER mbj@msbusiness.com Mississippi bankers can gain rewards in a medical marijuana market but risk a possible shift in U.S. Treasury Department policy that could harm their institutions. Any jeopardy posed by the 1970 Controlled Substance Act aside, the chief executive of leading U.S. legal cannabis payments provider CanPay expects at least one or more Mississippi community banks or credit unions will work with medical marijuana companies should state voters approve a constitutional amendment Nov. 3. “Rarely in a new market launch is there not at least one bank willing to back cannabis businesses in that market,” said CEO Dustin Eide, whose digital CanPay application offers legal marijuana buyers free debit transactions at otherwise-cash-only cannabis retail shops and dispensaries in 26 states and Washington, D.C. Around 65 community banks and credit unions in legal cannabis states serve licensed marijuana retailers. Among the most openly cannabis-friendly CanPay client institutions are Safe Harbor Private Banking, a division of partner Colorado Credit Union; Severn Bank of Annapolis, Md.; and Salal Credit Union of Seattle. The banks and credit unions must adhere to a pile of regulatory requirements and report each cannabis-related transaction. Regulatory reporting and rivers of paperwork are just part of the apprehension of the banking sector. The rules on reporting accompany a risk that Treasury officials could follow the lead of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and rescind a 2014 Obama administration order seen as a green light for financial institutions to do business with the cannabis industry. Proclaiming a “return to the rule of law” in January 2018, Sessions deep-sixed the Department of Justice’s guidance document known as the Cole Memorandum. The policy memo written by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole suggested a hands-off approach to the financial sector’s cannabis involvement in states in which the herb in its many forms is legal. More specifically, Cole advised that prosecutions in those states may not be “appropriate” when banks do business with marijuana entities, the New York Times reported Feb. 13, 2014. Sessions erased Cole from DOJ’s playbook, but Treasury guidance known as FinCEN remains in place. FinCIN, written in part by the agency’s Financial Crimes Network, directs federal regulators to prioritize targeting only financial institutions that stray from the guidance. FinCIN did not much comfort Frank Keating, See CANNABIS, Page 3

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal




CANNABIS Continued from, Page 2

president of the American Bankers Association. “While we appreciate the efforts by the Department of Justice and FinCEN, guidance or regulation doesn’t alter the underlying challenge for banks,” Keating said in a press statement. “As it stands, possession or distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and banks that provide support for those activities face the risk of prosecution and assorted sanctions,” he warned. The National Cannabis Industry Association is likewise fearful of new federal recriminations. Operating at the whim of Washington scares away a lot of people in the state-legal pot industry, said AssociaEide tion spokesman Morgan Fox. He said the lengthy list of restrictions make it “very difficult for banks to do their regulatory reporting” knowing a change in enforcement policies would put them “front and center as a criminal organization.” The effect, Fox said in an interview, has been continued growth of an illicit market in states that allow either adult-use marijuana sales or medical marijuana sales. Steineker Whitt Steineker, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry team at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, said he advises banking clients to weigh whether profits from marijuana are worth taking on “serious bank secrecy and money-laundering concerns.” Steineker said the problem is that banks servicing marijuana entities must risk the fickleness of Treasury Department policy instead of the firmness of federal law. “You’re relying on law enforcement and take your compliance with these guidelines as being sufficient when there is a possibility you will be subject to enforcement action,” Steineker said in an interview. CanPay’s Eide, meanwhile, is confident his Littleton, Colo.-based company would find banks to work with in Mississippi, just probably not from among the 4-year-old CanPay’s current lineup of cannabis partner financial institutions. Most are too small to expand into other states, though some are approaching regional market size, he said. “It’s possible some will come into the market” Eide said. “Bur more likely Mississippi will have at least one (cannabis) financial institution that is very much localized.” A state’s legal marijuana sector must have a FinCIN compliant bank before gaining CanPay’s debit card services, Eide said. Traditional credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard prohibit cannabis transactions on their networks. Eide supposes that the U.S. legal cannabis market of $11 billion to $15 billion “is not enough of a needle mover yet for them.” CanPay gets its access to banks through participation in the Automated Clearing House network. The network, Eide said, lets individual financial institutions determine what type of transactions may occur. If and when a Mississippi dispensary wants to offer its customers CanPay’s debit services, Eide’s company will charge the dispensary an interchange fee on each transaction. Today’s fee is about 2 percent, Eide said. CanPay users can make debit transactions in any of the states the company serves. Edie said CanPay is so popular among cannabis banks, the banks often refer their dispensary clients to him. That’s helped the company gain dispensary business in medical marijuana states such as Florida, where 98 percent of dispensaries accept CanPay, Eide said. “We’re reaching that critical mass,” he said, “where it can be challenging in some markets to go without CanPay.”

$100M Madison project may be opportunity for local builders By JACK WEATHERLY jack.weatherly@msbusiness.com The recently announced 17-acre project in the center of the city of Madison calls for a minimum of $100 million private component and a public component of unknown cost. The mixed-use project, of course, will enhance the tax base for the city, but it also may be an opportunity for local builders to benefit in the meantime. Chris Schoen, managing partner of Greenstone Properties of Atlanta, said in an interview on Monday that the company may turn to local hotel and residential builders to participate in the project. “We’ve built hotel properties in the past, Schoen but I think it’s going to be our preference to probably get a local hotel partner . . . ,” Schoen said. “We may pick a local partner to do the residential pieces. And we may get somebody to help us with the retail.” The city will retain the old Madison-Ridgeland High School building and gymnasium and convert them into city hall and a performing arts center, respectively. The Mississippi Business Journal sent a public records request via email on Tuesday for the agreement. This much of the finances is known: the developer has

requested the creation of a tax increment finance, or TIF, district, whereby property taxes created by the project will be diverted for the creation of infrastructure. The district would require approval by the board of aldermen and mayor. The city will own and convert the former Madison-Ridgeland High School Building into a new city hall. It will also convert a gymnasium into a performing-arts center. Schoen said the project could get underway by the end of the year. Time lines for both private and public aspects of the development are contained in the agreement. The project is not the largest for Greenstone, Schoen said. Greenstone has developments totaling 18 million square feet of office and mixed-use space in 13 cities around the nation. Among the properties in its portfolio is Riverside Village in North Augusta, S.C., home of the Greenjackets baseball team, which Greenstone also owns. Likewise, the developer owns the Boise, Idaho baseball team and the 29-story Pinnacle at Symphony Place building n Nashville, Schoen said. Schoen worked for years for John C. Portman, who started the architectural revolution in Atlanta with the Hyatt Regency and its soaring atrium, Peach Tree Center and other projects in the city and other major cities across the nation and around the world.



Continued from, Page 2

Northrop Grumman expanding, adding 40 jobs in Iuka Aerospace and defense leader Northrop Grumman Corp. is expanding in Iuka, investing $8.3 million and creating 40 jobs immediately. Northrop Grumman has more than 200 employees at its 320,000-square-foot Iuka facility producing large composite aerospace structures for its Antares, Pegasus and Minotaur launch vehicles and United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles. Among other work, the company recently started production of composite structures for its new OmegA mid-to-large launch vehicle. “This expansion signifies the commitment Northrop Grumman has to the employees, community and state of Mississippi to continue bringing high-quality manufacturing work into the area,” John Kain, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Structure’s director of operations in Iuka, said in a release. “We value our partnership with the state, city and county officials and thank them for their continued support of our facility in Iuka.” The Mississippi Development Authority is providing a $600,000 grant for infrastructure improvements and the construction of a warehouse. MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr., said: “The teamwork of the Tishomingo County Development Foundation, Tishomingo County Board of Supervisors, Tennessee Valley Authority and MDA was instrumental in facilitating this industry leader’s expansion in our state.” — MBJ Staff

“This is one you really want to take counsel on. Get a good adviser with legal experience.” Count U.S. pharmacy owners and operators among business people who want into the sector. But their attorneys advise against entering the sector as long as federal prohibitions remain. “Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help patients safely adhere to their prescribed marijuana regimen,” the American Community Pharmacists Association said in a recent one-page advisory to members. Still, under federal law, no individuals, including pharmacists, can legally dispense medical marijuana, even in those states that have passed medical marijuana legislation, said the American Community Pharmacists Association, or ACPA. First, pharmacy businesses likely will find it difficult to find banks willing to buck federal restrictions, the ACPA said. Further, contracts with wholesalers, third-party payers, and other business entities often have clauses prohibiting the contracting pharmacy from violating federal laws, the ACPA noted.

“The decision to offer medical marijuana services can lead to unintended consequences for pharmacists and their businesses,” the Association warned. Pharmacy advocates, it said, should aim for state legislation that “preserves the ability of pharmacists legally to dispense medical marijuana should federal prohibitions be overturned, but which does not place the pharmacist or pharmacy in a position of legal or contractual jeopardy in the meantime.” Supporters estimate Mississippi would initially have about 14,000 cannabis patients. It’s difficult to tell what sort of economic effect that sort of patient count would have. “There is always an economic impact,” said Darrin Webb, state economist, in an email. “Quantifying that potential impact is the challenge. With medical marijuana, we would face a great many unknowns including possible negative impacts.” One provision likely to have at least some economic impact: All of the product sold to Mississippi cannabis patients must be grown, produced and sold in the state, said Grantham, the Medical Marijuana Campaign 2020 head. “This would certainly open up a new industry,” she said.

4 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 ANALYSIS


Tax hike is one thing, bright Tenax Aerospace names new president outlook for gasoline is another By SUSAN MARQUEZ mbj@msbusiness.com


hike in Mississippi gasoline tax has been bandied about for years as a solution for much-needed improvements in the state’s roads and bridges. But it continues to draw an at-best lukewarm response from governmental leaders. Whether the increase were to occur, the good news is that the historical price of gasoline continues to be low. Jack Weatherly The Mississippi gasoline tax stands at 18.4 cents per gallon, unchanged since 1987, when it was imposed by the Legislature. It is the lowest among its neighboring states and 48th in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. The tax established “1987 Highway Program,” a $1.6 billion long-range bill calling for the construction of over 1,000 miles of four-lane highways. A gallon of regular in 1987 cost 69 cents in Mississippi. That is the inflation- adjusted equivalent of 99 cents in 2019 dollars, far below current prices. Gasoline prices in Jackson going back 10 years is $2.56, compared with $2.69 nationally. The relatively low price would seem to enhance the chances of raising the tax to pay for the miserable condition of so many roads and bridges in Mississippi. There are other sources – Internet sales taxes, lottery revenue and sports gambling revenue. A report from the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, stated that the current tax yields about $300 million annually. The Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce, holds to its position of several years that the minimum needed for maintenance of the state’s roads and bridges is $375 million. MEC Executive Director Scott Waller said in a recent interview that a one-cent hike in the gasoline tax would raise $20 million per year. Incoming governor Tate Reeves is dead set against increasing the tax. Returning Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn has in the past proposed a swap of a break in income tax for a hike in the gas tax, though he subsequently seemed to back off of that position. Delbert Hosemann, the former secretary of state who was just installed as lieutenant governor, which puts him in charge of the Senate, has suggested allowing local governments to add a tax onto the state levy, with a “sunset” provision that would allow repealing the add-on. Committing to a tax increase on something whose basis could change substantially in the future is something that gives pause. The revolution in oil and natural gas production in the United States through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has encountered opposition on environmental concerns, but production has continued to grow, though at a slower rate, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. In fact, the United States stands to be a net oil exporter in 2020, meaning that it has more control over the price of crude oil – and thus gasoline prices, the EIA states. » Contact Mississippi Business Journal staff writer Jack Weatherly at jack. weatherly@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1016.

In the heart of Madison, there is a company that takes great pride in designing and executing cost-effective, customized special mission aviation programs that are unmatched in their quality, performance and scale. Tenax Aerospace works with government agencies and the private sector to procure, modify, maintain and manage aircraft. “We don’t fly people,” says Jason Dean, Tenax VP of Program Development. “We fly missions.” On his first day as president of Linder the Madison-based company, retired Army Major general Jim Linder, visited the company’s office where he was doing discovery and meeting employees. “This is my first trip to Madison,” he said. The General will be headquartered in Crystal City, just outside of Washington, D.C. “I am very impressed with what I’m seeing in Madison. It’s a community that has grown quickly and I’m optimistic about this city. Our employees love it here and tell me it’s a great place to raise a family, which is more important than any public relations campaign.” Linder was raised in South Carolina. “I grew up in a small town then went to Clemson University.” He graduated from Clemson and joined the Army. Linder also has a Master of International Relations degree from Webster University and a Master in National Security and Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Naval War College. He retired the first of January from a 20-year career in the Army. Most of his career was spent in special operations with multiple commands including all US special operations in Africa and all United States and NATO special operations forces in Afghanistan. Most recently, Linder served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida. Linder says the reason he was asked to join the team as president is because he spent a lot of time deployed, and a lot of time as a customer. “With my experience in leadership, I can accelerate the organization’s ability to respond to the needs of our customers.” Tenax has great agility as a company due to its size and the quick response of its employees. “These are the attri-

butes that will allow us to meet the contract needs of the Government,” said Linder. Tenax was founded in 2001 by J.L. Holloway. “J.L. had an aircraft that wasn’t being used too frequently,” explained Dean. That plane was noticed by Dan Grafton, who was a friend of J.L.’s and at the time was president of L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, a leading aviation and aerospace services provider, about leasing the plane. Grafton had a customer who needed to lease a plane. “As it turns out, the government leases airplanes when they don’t have either the funds or the requirement to buy one. We were able to build a business model where modified aircraft with special mission equipment is provided to the customer as a service contract.” Those aircraft are used for a variety of missions, from airborne data gathering, national security, surveillance and intelligence to research and development, testing and training. “We even outfit aircraft that is used to fight fires,” said Dean. The company was sold two years ago to a group in the Northeast, which retained Grafton as a Board member. The other members of the Board of Directors include such luminaries as Ambassador Thomas C. Foley General Michael V. Hayden, General Charles R. Holland, Secretary John J. Young, Jr., and Ambassador Craig R. Stapleton. “I am very pleased to have someone of Jim Linder’s caliber and experience leading the Tenax team,” said Tom Foley, Tenax chairman and head of the investment group that purchased Tenax. “Jim’s hiring is the final step in the successful ownership transition led by Taran Bakker.” Bakker, Tenax’s outgoing president, added, “Jim is an outstanding American and we are very pleased he will be joining us as President of Tenax. Jim’s background and experience will help Tenax fulfil its commitment to be the absolute best provider of special mission equipment, services and innovative solutions to our government customers and warfighters.” Linder says he is excited to be a part of the Tenax team. “This company has such a dynamic, professional staff and everyone I’ve met has such a positive attitude. They are all so driven.” For more information on Tenax Aerospace, visit their website at tenaxaerospace.com.


Sanderson championship donates record $1.3M to Children’s Hospital The Sanderson Farms PGA Championship presented a $1.3 million donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital the fundraising arm of Batson Children’s Hospital, part of Children’s of Mississippi. Funds raised from the 2019 tournament will go toward the $100 million Children’s of Mississippi capital campaign, and the construction of a new seven-story, 340,000-square-foot pediatric tower that will be home to 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 12 additional operating rooms, 32 pediatric intensive care rooms, an imaging center designed for children, and a specialty clinic. The Children’s Heart Center will also call the new building home. This new pediatric tower will allow for updated space and additional room, and more convenience and comfort for families of sick children. Sanderson Farms Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board Joe Sanderson Jr., who is chairman of the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi with his wife, Kathy, said the funds raised through the state’s only PGA TOUR event will benefit families today, as well as in the future. The record-breaking donation follows $1.25 million raised in 2018. Since Sanderson Farms became title sponsor in 2013, the championship has had a total charitable impact of over $8.1 million. In addition to the donation to Friends, the Sanderson Farms Championship donated $260,000 to more than 65 deserving charities across the state. The 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship will be held Sept. 28 – Oct. 4 at The Country Club of Jackson.

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal




U.S. 90 attracting business in Hancock County

By LISA MONTI mbj@msbusiness.com There’s been a string of new businesses opening in the past year or so on the section of U.S. 90 that runs through Bay St. Louis and Waveland. Starting near the foot of the Bay Bridge and stretching to the outskirts of Waveland, doors have opened on new antique shops, restaurants and health care and fitness facilities among other businesses. Ribbons were ceremonially cut this month on Pavolini’s Western Wear shop which is next door to the new Papa B’s Tamales. Last month the Chamber of Commerce helped cut the ribbon on a bridal showroom. More businesses are close to opening in the next few months, including a restaurant and a donut shop. Location, availability of space, cost and population growth are some of the factors driving business owners to seek a highway address rather than one downtown. Waveland is the retail hub since Katrina landed. Planet Fitness opened this month in a spot once occupied by a supermarket. Officials and residents celebrated Waveland’s selection for one of the 2,000 fitness centers in Planet Fitness’s fast growing portfolio. “It is wonderful to see the business growth that Waveland has experienced in the past few years,” Mayor Mike Smith said in an email. “The Board of Aldermen and I are committed to addressing the blight left behind from Hurricane Katrina and making it easier to do business in Waveland which contributes to positive growth. “ Not all new businesses have to be large to attract attention. Residents driving by the former West End restaurant in Waveland are watching for the new Smiley Donut to open. The owner, who operates a Smiley Donut location in Louisiana, said he is awaiting approval of the health department to open. Chefs Thomas and Dana Hirsch-Barrett opened Coffee Culture, their first coffee shop, in Bay St. Louis, in November at a location that previously housed a German-Italian restaurant. The owners said recently they already have plans to expand. Competition between new and estab-

lished businesses along the highway has been healthy. Donald Anderson opened his Wish List Flea Market a year ago on Highway 90 in Waveland, selling antiques, jewelry, DVDs, furniture and assorted merchandise. Sea Gypseas Antiques and Collectibles in Waveland and Worth Repeating, a home goods consignment store in Bay St. Louis, opened their doors in the last few months, and soon Anderson was handing his customers business cards to the newcomers’s shops. “We’re sending people back and forth,” said Anderson. “We help each other.” Kerri Pellegrin held a grand opening of her business in November. The Wedding Collection is on the highway service road near the bridge in Bay St. Louis, which she sees as a growing wedding destination. She said she depends on local vendors for food, flowers, photography and other wedding needs. That kind of synergy can benefit the entire community. “Businesses in Old Town give the Bay a unique visitor attractiveness that makes the Bay an attraction,” Williams said. “Working together, these businesses can be portals to drive traffic from one district the other.” Gary Knoblock, Bay St. Louis city councilman at large, believes growing population is partly driving the new business growth. He said that the small shopping malls found all along the highway corridor are mostly full. “What I see happening is, our population is increasing and that’s causing more demands for new business. People are seeing this and saying they want to go into business.” Property costs in the city’s Old Town business district could have business owners looking at the highway. “You can’t touch anything in downtown, plus the traffic count is phenomenal,” he said. U.S. 90 has daily traffic counts of approximately 12,000 to 22,000 vehicles. Still, Knoblock noted, interest in building in the city is strong. “We’re seeing more and more people contact us,” he said of the City Council. Knoblock said interest will increase and more jobs and higher pay will result. He pointed to the multimillion dollar boutique


Left to Right: Coffee Culture, Smiley Donut and Planet Fitness desk and floor.

hotel under construction in downtown and a tennis club planned on the beachfront. “People are investing in Bay St. Louis and people want to be here,” he said.


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6 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 » COMMERCE

Is government stopping you from getting your bottle of wine?


ississippi’s laws that limit who can sell alcohol and where you can purchase it need to be modernized. Let me paint a picture with a short story: The year is 2020, on a sunny day you decide to stop by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a bottle of your favorite wine. Unfortunately for you, Mississippi grocery stores aren’t legally allowed to carry wine. No worries, you decide to drive across the county line (because your county bans the sale of liquor) to the liquor store and grab the bottle there. Unfortunately for you, every liquor store in the state is forced to go through the one government distributor for alcohol that exists in all of Mississippi, and their warehouse didn’t order enough of your brand this month. No worries, you’re willing to wait for a few days, so you go home to order the bottle online and have it shipped to you. Unfortunately for you, the state of Mississippi is one of a slim handful of states that legally bans the shipment of wine into the state. Thus, in the year 2020, in an age where people around the world are connected digitally in unprecedented ways, in a time that you can order a ride, groceries, fast food, and almost everything at the click of a digital button and have


it in minutes, you can’t even get a bottle of wine you like. What is the reason for this? Look no further than the tyrannical imposition of government into affairs that it has no right to be involved in. The common denominator throughout this series of beverage procurement failures is the over-restrictive nature of Hunter Estes our state apparatus. Prohibition is alive and well in Mississippi, because the government controls our intake of alcoholic beverages at a rate unparalleled in the rest of the country. What good reason is there to stop grocery stores from selling wine? Why can’t we have private alcohol distributors? Why does all liquor and wine need to be run through a single government-run warehouse in Madison? Why can’t I ship wine to my door like almost every other citizen in the country? If you’re asking these questions like me, then you’re also probably frustrated. Apparently our state leaders think that they can run our lives better than we can. It is important to recognize that the tools of excessive regulation are

not implemented solely to control alcohol. Our government has created a vast web of intrusive regulatory policies which limit the supply and impact the sellers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, food sales, and even children’s lemonade stands. It’s worth recognizing just how much of our inflated prices and our slim range of choices is nothing more than a product of government control. Frustrating, isn’t it?

» Hunter Estes is the Development Manager for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.



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Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 • www.msbusiness.com • Page 7



Website: www.msbusiness.com Jan. 24, 2020 Volume 42, Number 2

Republican strategist questions what GOP now stands for

ALAN TURNER Publisher alan.turner@msbusiness.com • 364-1021 TAMI JONES Associate Publisher tami.jones@msbusiness.com • 364-1011 ROSS REILY Editor ross.reily@msbusiness.com • 364-1018


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Celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy

NASH NUNNERY Contributing Writer mbj@msbusiness.com • 364-1018 LISA MONTI Contributing Writer mbj@msbusiness.com • 364-1018 Subscription Services (601) 364-1000 subscriptions@msbusiness.com Mississippi Business Journal (USPS 000-222) is published bi-weekly with one annual issue by MSBJ 132 Riverview Dr., Suite E, Flowood, MS 39232. Periodicals postage paid at Jackson, MS. Subscription rates: 1 year $109; 2 years $168; and 3 years $214. To place orders, temporarily stop service, change your address or inquire about billing: Phone: (601) 364-1000, Fax: (601) 364-1007, Email: charina.rhodes@msbusiness.com, Mail: MS Business Journal Subscription Services, 132 Riverview Dr., Suite E, Flowood, MS 39232 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mississippi Business Journal, Circulation Manager, 132 Riverview Dr., Suite E, Flowood, MS 39232 To submit subscription payments: Mail: MS Business Journal Subscriptions Services, 2132 Riverview Dr., Suite E, Flowood, MS 39232. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written consent. Editorial and advertising material contained in this publication is derived from sources considered to be reliable, but the publication cannot guarantee their accuracy. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities. It is the policy of this newspaper to employ people on the basis of their qualifications and with assurance of equal opportunity and treatment regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or handicap. The Mississippi Business Journal, is an affiliate of Journal Publishing Company (JPC), Inc. Entire contents copyrighted © 2020 by Journal Inc. All rights reserved.


he late U.S. civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On Jan. 20, the U.S. observed a national holiday in Dr. King’s honor. Dr. King, a Baptist minister, was one of the world’s best-known advocates of non-violent social change. Applying the principle of nonviolence to the civil rights movement in the U.S., King preached racial equality during the 1950s and 1960s, traveling across the U.S. and around the world. King appealed not to resentment but to reason, not to anger but to conscience. During his life, he dreamed of an America where citizens would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. He dreamed of an America where all citizens would enjoy the riches of freedom and the security of justice. Every citizen of the United States of America is richer in personal rights because King had the courage to act on his convictions for all. His message of tolerance, one of his most memorable speeches, was delivered in the summer of 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: “ ... And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. “I have a dream that one day this nation

will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. “I have a dream today! “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. “I have a dream today! “ ... I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” See DR. KING, Page 5

ongtime Mississippi Republicans will remember political consultant Stuart Stevens for his work on early campaigns for the late Sen. Thad Cochran. Since those early races he has become a highly successful media strategist and has helped elect numerous Republican governors and senators. His client list sounds like a who’s who of Republican leaders – President George W. Bush, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Bob Dole, Sen. John McCain, Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Tom Ridge, Cochran, Sen. Dick Lugar, Sen. Mel Martinez, Sen. BILL CRAWFORD Chuck Grassley, Sen. Roger Wicker, Sen. Jon Kyl, Sen. Rob Portman, Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Dan Coats, Gov. Paul Cellucci, Gov. Bob Riley, Gov. Larry Hogan, and congressmen. Through all these associations, Stevens has been immersed in what Republicanism in America is all about. Or was, according to his recent op-ed column in The Washington Post. “Wake up, Republicans. Your party stands for all the wrong things now,” was the headline. Here are some key excerpts. “As you are out and about marking the new year, it is likely you will come across a Republican to whom you can pose the question, preferably after a drink or two, as that tends to work as truth serum: ‘Look, I was just wondering: What’s the Republican Party all about these days? What does it, well, stand for?’ “I’m betting the answer is going to involve a noun, a verb and either ‘socialism’ or ‘Democrats.’ Republicans now partly define their party simply as an alternative to that other party, as in ‘I’m a Republican because I’m not a Democrat.’ “In a long-forgotten era — say, four years ago — such a question would have elicited a very different answer. Though there was disagreement over specific issues, most Republicans would have said the party stood for some basic principles: fiscal sanity, free trade, strong on Russia, and that character and personal responsibility count. Today it’s not that the Republican Party has forgotten these issues and values; instead, it actively opposes all of them. “Republicans are now officially the character-doesn’t-count party, the personal-responsibilityjust-proves-you-have-failed-to-blame-the-other-guy party, the deficit-doesn’t-matter party, the Russiais-our-ally party, and the I’m-right-and-you-are-human-scum party. Yes, it’s President Trump’s party now, but it stands only for what he has just tweeted. “This is a sad fall. In Ronald Reagan’s America, being born an American was to win life’s lottery; in See CRAWFORD, Page 8


8 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 » FROM THE GROUND UP

What is the purpose of business?


ast summer, The Business Roundtable, a nonprofit organization of CEOs of major businesses, redefined its Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation to include stakeholders in addition to shareholders. The action has produced much discussion about the primary role of the corporation. To put it another way: What responsibility does business have to society? Nobel prize recipient Milton Friedman and others have argued that a corporation’s purpose is to maximize returns to its shareholders, and that since only people can have social responsibilities, corporations are only responsible to their shareholders and not to society as a whole. Others have gone so far as to say that the role of business is to abolish poverty. What did Peter Drucker say? Management guru Drucker wrote that business management has three tasks to perform, to wit: Establishing the specific purpose and mission of the institution, whether business enterprise, hospital, or university; Making work productive and the worker effective; and Managing social impacts and social responsibilities. He also pointed out that business “… has economic performance as its specific mission.” These ideas are colliding as we witness and debate the role of government in solving economic conditions and the role of business in influencing government policy. It seems that if nothing else both big business and government are losing the trust of the people as the roles of business and government are considered. Many businesses embrace the idea of social responsi-

CRAWFORD Continued from, Page 7

Donald Trump’s America, it makes you a victim, a patsy, a chump.” “This impeachment moment and all that has led to it should signal a day of reckoning. A party that has as its sole purpose the protection and promotion of its leader, whatever he thinks, is not on a sustainable path. Can anyone force a change? I’m not optimistic. Trump won with 46.1 percent of the vote in 2016, while Mitt Romney lost with 47.2 percent in 2012; no wonder Republicans have convinced themselves that the path to victory and power lies with angry division.”


Letters to the editor are one of the most widely read features of the Mississippi Business Journal, and they give everyone a chance to voice their opinions about current affairs. We’re interested in what you think and we welcome Letters to the Editor for publication. Here are the guidelines: >> Letters should not exceed 300 words in length as a general rule. >> All letters must bear the writer’s address and telephone number. Street addresses and telephone numbers will not be published, but may be used for verification purposes. Letters may not appear without the author’s name. >> Form letters, thank you letters and letters to third parties

bility and even have formalized corporate social responsibility statements. State Farm Insurance, for example, states on the Corporate Responsibility section of its Web site that its mission is “… to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.” Its Community Involvement section states, “We’re good neighbors who help build stronger, safer, cleaner, and better-educated communities.” But wait. What would that great profiteer and icon of American business, Henry Ford, say about corporate social responsibility? In a fascinating article entitled “Toward Abolishing Poverty,” in the August 16, 1930 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Ford and his co-author Samuel Crowther wrote about the role of government and business, especially government’s role in boom and bust cycles. Ford states, “One of these days I hope the politicians will cease making capital out of business conditions. They will not cease doing so, however, until the leaders of business cease trying to gain what they imagine to be business advantages through the aid of politicians.” Ford’s hope has obviously not become reality some 90 years later. Indeed, most agree that it is worse than ever. Special interests of business have an undue effect on legislation, while Congress and government agencies use business conditions as the excuse for implementing social policy that could not have been put into effect under normal business conditions. In the article mentioned above, Ford discusses the larger role of American business as follows: “The abolishing of poverty is, as far as I am concerned,

Stevens concludes his piece saying, “I’d like to say that I believe the party I spent so many years fighting for could rise to the challenge of this moment. But there have been too many lies for too long.” A little context. Stevens is currently serving as general consultant to the William Weld presidential campaign. Still and all, his is a sad commentary to say the least. “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” – 1 Corinthians 15:33. » Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

generally are not acceptable. >> Letters must be typed or e-mailed. >> Letters must conform to good taste, not be libelous and not involve personal attacks on other persons. >> All letters are subject to editing, and become the property of the Mississippi Business Journal. >> Letters can be sent to The Editor, The Mississippi Business Journal, 200 North Congress, Suite 400, Jackson, MS 39201, delivered to the newspaper during regular business hours or e-mailed to editor@msbusiness.com. They may also be faxed to Ross Reily at (601)-364-1007.

the only end of business which is worth considering. It is from this point of Phil Hardwick view, and only from this one, that we can see the futility of selfish competition and the utter fallacy of the profit motive. Once we see the ultimate purpose of business as a factor of life of man, we are through with all the twiddling fancies that formally passed for business wisdom. The abolishing of poverty is the only legitimate purpose of business, and its accomplishment is not an impossibility unless we imagine that it can be done all at once by edict.” In closing, each individual business must determine its own approach to social responsibility and its attempt at influencing government policy. For some businesses, active involvement in social concerns is good for the bottom line. For others, the best thing they can do is market their products and services and leave social concerns to others. Every company is free to pursue its own social agenda. Whether that results in greater profits is not the same for every company. Some consumers intentionally do businesses with companies that support certain social concerns. Some consumers merely want the best product or service at the lowest price without regard to what a company’s social policies might be. And that is the beauty of America. As the title of one of Milton Friedman’s books says, we are “Free to Choose.” » Phil Hardwick is a regular Mississippi Business Journal columnist. His email is phil@philhardwick. com.


Continued from, Page 7

“This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. “And this will be the day – this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring! “And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. “And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. “Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. “Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. “Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. “Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. “But not only that: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. “Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. “Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. “From every mountainside, let freedom ring. “ ... And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last!” — The Daily Journal

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal




Amazon, Google and Netflix most loved brands in America


mazon, Google and Netflix are the most loved brands in America, according to Morning Consult’s 2019 annual ranking of the brands that define our culture and commerce. To determine the latest rankings, Morning Consult analyzed over 400,000 survey interviews from Morning Consult Brand Intelligence, measuring consumer sentiment across favorability, trust, community impact, and Net Promoter Score. Amazon clocked in at a 261.9 score, followed by Google at 261.1 and Netflix at 259.4. Here are the top 10 brands as ranked by Morning Consult: 1. Amazon – 261.9 net promoter score 2. Google – 261.1 3. Netflix – 259.4 4. UPS – 255.6 5. Home Depot – 248.3 6. USPS – 247.9 7. Hershey’s – 244.2 8. FedEx – 244 9. Dollar Tree – 243.7 10. Cheerios – 241.2 By generation demographics, here’s how the brands stack up: Boomers (Ages 55 to 75): 1. UPS 2. Home Depot 3. USPS 4. Lowe’s 5. FedEx Gen X (Ages 40-54): 1. Google 2. Amazon 3. Netflix 4. UPS 5. Home Depot Millennials (Ages 24-39): 1. Netflix 2. Google 3. Amazon 4. YouTube 5. Target Gen Z (Ages 4-24) 1. Google 2. Netflix 3. YouTube 4. Amazon 5. Oreo One compelling element to Morning Consult’s research – and to brand strength in general – is the trust factor. According to

the firm, Americans don’t have much trust in institutions and brands. And, there’s a deep fatigue at all levels. Two-thirds of respondents themselves recognize that Americans have become less trusting in recent years. The people, corporations and institutions they trust the most are the United States Postal Service (43%) Amazon (38.8%) and Google (37.9%), followed by PayPal, The Weather Channel, Chick-fil-A, Hershey, UPS, Cheerios and M&Ms. It is significant that many of the top trusted brands are older. The survey says only 2% of the most trusted 100 brands began their businesses in 2001 or later. But 23% started between 1926-1950 and 21% started between 1951-75. That may be changing. Among Gen Z consumers, all the most trusted brands are new. Their list is topped by Google (47.1%), Netflix (47%), Amazon (46.6%), YouTube (41.9%) and PlayStation (39.2%). Google is also the most trusted among Millennials. But overall, younger consumers seem more distrustful too. For Gen Z, the average brand trust rating was +10, compared to +21 for boomers. Facebook doesn’t show up among the most trusted among any of the demographic groups. Tom Hanks (34%) and Oprah Winfrey (27%), in this survey, have comparatively large trust factors. Asked to name the companies, institutions or people that consumers trust to do the right thing “a lot,” respondents first picked their “primary doctor,” at 50%. The military comes next at 44% and then Amazon (39%) and Google (38%). Teachers are trusted by 35% and the police by 30%. Scientific studies (26%) and health warnings or advisories (23%) come before “Donald Trump,” who earns a 20% trust level, just above “food packaging labels” (16%). Down deeper on the list are religious leaders (15%) capitalism (14%), the news media (8%) and the U.S. government (7%). Morning Consult does daily tracking of consumers through its proprietary platform, Brand Intelligence, that follows more than 2,000 companies. The Most Trusted Brands rankings were

determined using surveys conducted online among a national sample of adults. The surveys were conducted from mid-October through early December, with an average of 16,700 interviews per brand for nearly 2,000 brands. All other data was drawn from a survey conducted in mid-December with a nationally representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults. News media should do more to quash misleading messages Fighting back against “cynicism and negativity” is likely to become an even bigger theme for the media industry this year, according to a recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. More than half (53 %) of the top digital media leaders surveyed for the institute’s annual Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions report believe the news media should do more to call out misleading statements and half-truths by politicians. But they feared that fact checking, an area of journalism that has grown since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election – were not having “any impact on large parts of the public.” The report found that although the next decade in journalism is likely to be “defined by increasing regulation of the internet,” most editorial leaders are skeptical about whether policy interventions will actually help them. Asked to what extent they thought Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Snapchat and Amazon had “done enough to support journalism”, publishers rated Google as the top platform (60 %). By comparison 33 % said Twitter had done enough to support journalism, followed by Apple (26 %), Facebook (25 %), Snapchat (12 %) and Amazon (7 %).

Boston and Baltimore with their blue-collar confidence and smashTodd Smith mouth mentality – led by King Henry and his band of hard-hitters – and laid waste to the rulers. But their gridiron magic and bag of tricks finally met their match in frigid Kansas City. The team that produced the Music City Miracle – and came up one yard short in the 2000 Super Bowl – came up just one W short of the biggest game in the sports universe. In a way, these modern Titans, are magical. They sprung up from the ashes of 2-4 to finish on a 7-3 win streak at the helm of Ryan Tannehill, this year’s Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player, to defy the odds and pound their way to the AFC Championship. The Titans certainly have nothing to hang their helmets about. More than anything, this season is about regaining its swagger. Finding a lost identity. Building for the future. This gritty and determined bunch – crystalized in the record-setting pounding by its star running back – upended a modern-day NFL dynasty and doled out payback for past playoff losses, and in the end, crowned one of their own king (music to this Titan fan’s ears). When it all settled, these modern warriors slayed the demons of past mediocrity and built a strong foundation for future triumphs. The bitter loss to a much better Mahomes-led Chiefs team should galvanize the Titans for future triumphs. A new generation has been forged on the mighty shoulders of past giants. And while there were no miracles this time, there was a certain confident magic that prevailed – that gives rise to a brilliant future. Titan up, y’all!

Titan-ic Mic: Titans were this year’s cinderella The under-the-radar Tennessee Titans finally ran out of miracles! The Cinderella team that nobody in the sports universe gave a chance to beat the reigning world champion New England Patriots and the No. 1 team in football this year (Baltimore Ravens) marched into

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @ spinsurgeon.


Frozen-food maker to invest $27.3M, add 15 jobs Ajinomoto Foods North America, Inc., a leading manufacturer in the frozen food industry, is increasing capacity in Oakland. The project is a $27.3 million corporate investment that will add 15 jobs to the work force, raising the total number of employees to 450. “For 13 years, Ajinomoto Foods has been growing its Oakland operations, providing gainful employment for hundreds of Mississippians in Yalobusha County,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in a news release.

Ajinomoto Foods manufactures and markets high-quality Asian and ethnic specialty frozen foods for consumers, commercial restaurants and food-service operations. The company located in Oakland in 2007, creating 250 jobs. The company also expanded and added jobs in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018. Ajinomoto Foods’ latest expansion accommodates additional production lines. The Mississippi Development Authority is providing a $150,000 grant

for the transportation and installation of the new production lines. “Ajinomoto Foods aggressive expansion in Oakland speaks volumes about the quality trained, dedicated people in Yalobusha County who give the company a workforce advantage to achieve their goals in our great state,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “We salute the leadership of Coach Bob Tyler and our partners at the Yalobusha County Economic Development District for their teamwork with MDA, which has been instrumental in bringing this win to fruition.” Ajinomoto Foods plans to fill the new jobs by December. — MBJ Staff

10 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 RETROSPECTIVE

Dr. Clyde Muse: Visionary educator & public servant By ALAN TURNER

I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Clyde Muse, President of Hinds Community College since 1978, which makes him the longest-serving community college President in Mississippi history. Dr. Muse announced his retirement in December, and when we talked, he reminisced about his long tenure in Mississippi education. Muse refers to himself as “a man with a servant’s heart”, and certainly, in his 42 years at the helm of Hinds, he has proven himself to be a man of compassion who truly cares about those he serves. Today, Hinds Community College serves a student population of over 20,000, operates in 6 different facilities, and has a faculty and staff of more than 1,200. It is truly one of Mississippi’s (and America’s) crown jewels among community colleges, and as many will recall, Mississippi’s community college system is ranked first nationally. Born in Benton County, Muse grew up in Mississippi, much of which was in the Mississippi Delta. His father was a minister, and Muse has been a man of deep religious faith throughout his life. After graduating from high school, he entered East Central Junior College, and it was there that he felt he gained a great appreciation for what “community colleges can do”. Working his way through college, milking cows and working in the school cafeteria, he also learned the value of work. “From East Central, I enrolled at Delta State, and was fortunate to get a basketball scholarship,” he said. “I’m pleased to say that I’m in the Sports Hall of Fame at both Delta State and East Central.” With that experience, it was perhaps natural that he became a teacher and coach, initially at Canton, and later moving to Starkville. His first teaching job paid $2400 a year in 1952, he recalled.

Courtesy of Clyde Muse/MBJ

Muse with Connection grads.

“I spent 26 years in secondary education,” he said. “While I was a coach at Starkville,we won the state championship in basketball, something that had been a goal of mine. I’m still very proud of that.” In time, Dr. Muse attended Ole Miss and took Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Mississippi State University. He began his administrative career as a principal at Starkville, and later served as Superintendent of Schools for Hinds County. In 1978, he was invited to apply for the Presi-

MANUFACTURING Toshiba opening $14M distribution center Toshiba America Business Solutions is opening distribution operations in Horn Lake. The $14 million project will create 40 jobs. Toshiba American is a subsidiary of technology solutions company Toshiba Tec Corp. The company provides multifunction printers, including its award-winning e-Studio printer, managed document services and digital signage for businesses of all sizes throughout the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Toshiba is locating distribution operations in a 328,355-square-foot facility in the DeSoto 55 Logistics Center. The new location will allow the company to expand its distribution capabilities to meet increasing client demand. The Mississippi Development Authority contributed a $315,000 grant to help with moving equipment.

dent’s position at Hinds Community College, and has served there ever since. I asked him how things have changed at Hinds since then. “We have certainly grown,” he said with a laugh. We’re now the 4th largest higher education institution in Mississippi, and we offer a wealth of programs, no only in 2 year transfer, but in a wide range of technical and trade areas. “That includes our new lab dedicated to mechatronics,” he said, laughing. “It took me a while to understand what all that entailed.” I asked what the most popular programs are these days at Hinds. “I’d say that nursing and allied health and business administration are our two most popular programs, and you’ll find people working in all of the hospitals who started their education at Hinds,” he said. “But we do so much more….for instance, one of our highest demand programs is welding, and why? Because there is a huge demand for


Pier 1, Kirkand’s close some stores in Mississippi At least two Pier 1 Imports stores in Mississippi, including the one at the intersection of Ridgewood Road and County Line Road in Ridgeland, will be among the 450 stores the chain will close. Kirkland’s, meantime, will close its store on the Jackson side of County Line Road by the end of March. Pier 1 announced that nearly half of its 942 stores will close as the result of subpar sales. In addition to the Ridgeland store, whose last day is Jan. 28, the other closing in Mississippi include Tupelo, which will shutter by the end of April.

welders and not enough welders to meet that demand.” He also pointed out that “we train people to work on Mississippi tugboats, fly drones, and many other things”. How does he see the future for Hinds? “I’m confident that we’re going to continue to evolve to meet the needs of Mississippi, it’s people, and its businesses,” he said. He told an interesting story about Continental Tire, when they were looking to come to Mississippi. “They visited with us on 3 separate occasions,” he said. “They wanted to know if we could supply the skillsets they needed for their operations. And we showed them we could.” What advice does he have for families and young people in today’s world? “I believe it’s important that young people become aware of the career possibilities that will be available to them, and they should be doing this as early as junior high school,” he suggested. “Ours is a complex and changing world, and it’s important that students have a good understanding of their options and the education they will need to succeed and live a good, productive life.” He told me that no only does Hinds serve the needs of students who have just graduated from high school, but that “we have over 500 students that have bachelor’s degrees who are coming back to school to acquire important skillsets.” One thing is certain: Dr. Clyde Muse is one of the most respected and loved educators in the history of Mississippi, and he has had a tremendous influence on the quality and availability of education in the Magnolia State. A special event is planned to honor Dr. Muse on February 20, to be held at the Muse Center. For information on this event, you may email Jackie Granberry at Jgranberry@hindscc.edu.

Managers at Flowood and Southaven say they are not scheduled to shut down. An employee at the Gulfport store said only that “we are still open.” Efforts to reach the Hattiesburg outlet were unsuccessful. Likewise, efforts to reach the chain’s headquarters were unsuccessful. Seven other Kirkland’s stores in the state – in Flowood, Madison, Hattiesburg, Meridian, D’Iberville, Southaven and Corinth – say they are not scheduled to close. The home décor retailer said it has further reduced expenses at its corporate office in Forth Worth and is planning to close 27 stores in early 2020, with the potential for further closings later in the year as part of its goal to “right size” its store base, according to Chain Store Age, a trade publication. Kirkland’s currently operates 432 stores in 37 states.

— MBJ Staff

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 • MISSISSIPPI BUSINESS JOURNAL • www.msbusiness.com

AN MBJ FOCUS: Health Care

Hodges set to scale the Parkinson mountain

Courtesy of Adam Hodges

Clockwise: Manchu Picchu team, Quandary Peak in Colorado and Grand Canyon.

» Climb will take on Mt. Everest to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease By NASH NUNNERY mbj@msbusiness.com

“Good things are done when men and mountains meet.” – poet William Blake

Adam Hodges has been scaling the world’s most iconic mountains for over 20 years. From Mt. Rainer (his first) in Washington state to Mt. Elbrus, Europe’s tallest peak, to Aconcagua, South America’s highest, the 55-year old certified personal trainer’s goal is to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. For Hodges’ next mountaineering adventure, the Bailey, Mississippi native will be scraping the

ceiling of the Earth – Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest summit (29,028 feet.) and the granddaddy of all mountains. Only 5,000 people have successfully summited Mt. Everest since the first climbers made it to the top in 1953. Over 300 have lost their lives in the attempt, including 11 in 2019. Climbers face especially dangerous conditions in the so-called “death zone” above 26,000 feet.

Hodge, however, is undeterred. His next climb is for a higher purpose - to bring awareness to Parkinson’s disease and those fighting the debilitating effects of the affliction that has no cure. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates there are more than one million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and See PARKINSON’S, Page 13

Health Care

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal



PARKINSON’S Continued from Page 11

more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year. Late last year, Hodges founded Ascent For A Cure (www.ascentforacure. com), a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and funding for Parkinson’s disease. Hodges, the general manager of Anderson Health and Fitness Center in Meridian, says AFAC started last August on the heels of his facility’s Rock Steady Boxing, a program dedicated to help people in their fight against Parkinson’s. In Rock Steady Boxing, exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills and Parkinson’s disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait - they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant. “We started with four members and we now have 34, each of them fighting Parkinson’s,” Hodges said. “Our team has seen virtually every member of the program make improvements, and I’ve personally formed many great friendships with members. It took off and has helped improve life quality for all those that participate. “I’ve learned that Parkinson’s does not discriminate. It affects doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers and clergy. Everyone.” Hodges’ goal is to raise $150,000 for the foundation, and he’s already received sponsorship commitments from Anderson and Rock Steady Boxing. A former CPA for a Houston accounting firm, Hodges changed his career path to fitness a decade ago. He’s earned certifications in personal training and CrossFit. Though an experienced mountaineer, he admits summitting Mt. Everest presents several challenges, including months of physical preparation and weeks of acclimatization to the mountain’s oxygen-starved altitudes. “It’s a nine-day trek just to the Nepal base camp, which is at 17,000 feet, “said Hodges. “I’ve done CrossFit for eight years and have climbed some high mountains. But I’m training differently for this, adding long distance running to my regimen and layering lots of endurance training on top of that. It will a six-week grind attempting to climb Everest – we’re leaving April 5.” Hodges also has developed The Everest Fitness Challenge app, a specially designed program created to mimic the actual training he’s already begun. “We encourage people to “iD” their own Everest on the training app. It could be their first 5K, Cross-Fit or they just want to lose weight.,” he said. “It’s scaled to fit what they want to accomplish.” The 55-year old Hodges is fully aware of the challenges awaiting him as he plans to summit the world’s highest mountain. “I have a wife (Laura) and four kids, and everything to live for – I might even ask myself along the way: ‘Why am I here?’,” he said. “But, I don’t do it as a thrill-seeking experience. I truly want to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease. “My plan is to be successful and come home healthy.”

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates there are more than one million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year.

Courtesy of Adam Hodges

Top: Mount Whitney Trail in central Callifornia Left: Mount Shasta in northern California.

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Health Care

14 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Moore wants to make positive impact By NASH NUNNERY mbj@msbusiness.com Tonya Moore embraces the KIS (not KISS) method in her life. “I like to ‘keep it simple’ but without the second ‘S’ (for stupid) in KISS,” she said, smiling. “I’m not a complicated person.” The current president of the Mississippi Nurses Association, Moore also serves as executive director of leadership and workforce development with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Simplicity seems to serve the soft-spoken Moore well. Growing up in Fayette, she was inMoore spired into a nursing career by her mother, who went back to school and earned her nursing degree when Moore was a teenager. Seeing her mother’s dedication to post-partum nursing, Moore decided the job was a perfect fit for her personality. “All the boxes were checked,” she said. Before her professional trajectory with UMMC, the Chicago native’s nursing career began as a medical surgical nurse in 1995 at Vicksburg’s Parkview Regional Medical Center. Two years later, Moore went to UMMC as a staff nurse and advanced to hold various educator and management positions as she does today. Moore found that she could impact patient care in a different way – influencing the bedside nurses by making sure they had what they needed to provide quality care. Last October, Moore was elected as the first African-American president in the 108-year history of the

Tonya Moore with Honduran family.

MNA. A portion of her role is to serve as the state’s representative to the American Nurses Association. “I was an MNA member for years and it broadened my view of nursing and healthcare,” she said. “My goal as president is to encourage more engagement among all nurses in the state of Mississippi, and to continue to elevate the standards for our profession. When I started advancing my education, it was clear to me that I needed to be involved in policy and advocacy.” Leadership and health-care disparities are two subjects near and dear to Moore’s heart. She has great admiration

“As a servant-leader, I enjoy giving back and the mission trips give me a better understanding of the relationship between environment and health,. You see health disparities up-close-and-personal in those countries, and realize that environment and health work hand-in-hand.” Tonya Moore

Courtesy of Tonya Moore

for the leadership qualities of her grandfather Charles Evers, who remains an iconic figure in the Mississippi civil rights movement story. “Mississippi ranks first in so many negative health-care areas, including obesity,” she said. “The bedside nurse faces an increased complexity in issues experienced by patients. Nurses have many challenges today in treating patients. Keeping up with technology – telemedicine and AI (artificial intelligence) – present nurses with even greater challenges. “The landscape of health care is changing and changing at a rapid pace.” The first in her family to earn a doctoral degree, Moore chose to study nursing research at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Her dissertation was a study of obesity in African-American women.

Courtesy of Tonya Moore

Tonya Moore teaching Honduran PT about medication.

“Pursuing the doctorate was a wonderful journey, though extremely hard as a single, working mother,” she explained. “UAB has a solid reputation in the medical community and lent diversity to my educational profile. “Earning a doctorate allowed me to understand my leadership style and added to my credibility. And, to understand the ‘whys’ of obesity based on data, research and resources.” Through New Hope Baptist Church in north Jackson, Moore began a series of volunteer nursing mission trips abroad in 2003. She’s traveled to Honduras and Africa’s Malawi several times, including a few missions shared with her mother and son Ralph, who is scheduled to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in May. “As a servant-leader, I enjoy giving back and the mission trips give me a better understanding of the relationship between environment and health,” she said. “You see health disparities up-close-and-personal in those countries, and realize that environment and health work hand-in-hand.” In 2019, Moore was honored to receive several awards recognizing her work, including the prestigious Myrlie Evers-Williams Minority Health Leader Award. Evers-Williams is the widow of late civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Charles’ younger brother. “I was blown away and it was so special being a descendant of the Evers family,” Moore said. “(Myrlie Evers-Williams) is the same person on TV as she is with family. The leadership example she set… to be associated with her in anyway, is truly an honor.” When she’s not working, Moore enjoy traveling, be it a mission trip overseas or to Annapolis to visit her son. Leisure reading and dancing also are high on her list of ways to wind down. “It’s all about work-life balance,” Moore said. In her “next professional life”, Moore claims, she’d like to transition to motivational speaker. “I always ask myself ‘how can I continue to have a positive impact on people?’”, she said. “The answer is to inspire people to set goals and let them know they can achieve them.”

Health Care

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal




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Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 • MISSISSIPPI BUSINESS JOURNAL • www.msbusiness.com

AN MBJ FOCUS: Banking & Finance

Keesler commitment has credit union on the rise By LYNN LOFTON mbj@msbusiness.com Keesler Federal Credit Union is on the rise with 228,000 members and branches in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and in the United Kingdom. President and CEO Andy Swoger attributes this growth to the commitment of team members who’ve had a tremendous impact and success over the years. “Our internal tagline at Keesler Federal is One Team. Team Keesler,” he said. “I believe the value we deliver to our members through consistently offering higher yields and lower rates on loans than our competitors offer is also a major factor.

“Our outstanding service commitment is the reason we have incredible member loyalty. Over 80 percent of our new members report that they joined Keesler Federal Credit Union because family or friends referred them. Our mission for the team is simple: Be extraordinary. Our team is creating a culture that supports that mission.” KFCU has expanded their market reach from 22 to 40 branches over the past three years, adding or expanding lines of business and completing four mergers. Looking ahead to more growth, Swoger says KFCU is fully embracing new digital technology. “The use of these new solutions will enhance

Banking on putting customers first since our founding as Merchants & Farmer’s Bank in 1888.


KEESLER BY THE NUMBERS: » founded in 1947 » 228,000 members worldwide » 39 branches (number 40 opening January 30 in Metairie, Louisiana ) » 736 employees » $3.1 billion in assets

our members’ satisfaction. We will grow organically within our existing markets, continue to expand within our current business lines, and look for opportunities to better serve our members whether it’s clicks or bricks,” he said. “We are excited about launching new online and mobile phone banking solutions soon that will greatly improve our members’ experience.” Keesler Federal provides a comprehensive array of consumer, commercial, and mortgage loans in addition to a wide range of consumer deposit products and many commercial deposit services. “Team Keesler’s dedication to high member service standards is a key differentiator between us and other financial institutions,” Swoger said. “We maintain a Net Promoter Score above 80, exceeding the average of our peers in this industry.” KFCU offers special programs such as a Member Giveback program that each month awards 36 members with prizes such as a $100 deposit for making a transaction in a branch, a match of a direct deposit or loan payment, and an all-inclusive cruise. They select members each month and match their

monthly loan payment or direct deposit always following necessary legal disclosures. The three overseas branches are located on Lakenheath, Mildenhall, and Alconbury Royal Air Force bases. Services at these locations are limited to all U.S. military active duty personnel, retirees, government employees, and their dependents who have access to the base. Joining Keesler Federal Credit Union is easier than you might expect. “As a credit union we are restricted to who is able to join and we qualify each prospecMitchell tive member. However, there are many avenues for eligibility, including whether you live, work, worship or attend school near one of our branches or have a family member who is a member,” Swoger said. “In addition, we Swoger have more than 400plus companies and organizations whose employees or members qualify for membership with Keesler Federal Credit Union. “Many companies like to be associated with a credit union because this is an employee benefit. If your application to become one of our select employee groups is approved, you are able to feature credit union membership as a benefit to your employees.” Executive Vice President George Mitchell says the company is proud to serve their communities and is always looking for ways to make a difference. “Our most recent major community giveback initiative was the Gold Star Family Memorial that was dedicated across from the Biloxi Town Green,” he said. “This monument is a tribute to those families that lost loved ones in our country’s service along with those who sacrificed their lives. The dedication ceremony was a moving experience for everyone in attendance and also appreciated by our many members who have served this country.” Last fall, Keesler Federal; began a new initiative that supplied more than 6,300 backpacks, with all of the required school supplies, for each public school student starting kindergarten See KEESLER, Page 20

YOU WANT A BETTER COMMERCIAL BANKER. REGIONS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ONE. EXPECT BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE THAT GOES BEYOND THE BALANCE SHEET. There will come a moment when you realize your Regions Commercial Relationship Manager is someone who will bring you a lot more than just ways to raise capital. You’ll see we’re here to demonstrate our value to you as local, knowledgeable business consultants. You’ll find we ask smart questions, listen to your answers and deliver smart solutions for your business. You’ll know we’re true partners. In that moment, you’ll realize you made the right choice. LET’S START THE CONVERSATION TODAY. Robert Leard | Market Executive | 601.790.8397

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© 2020 Regions Bank. All loans and lines subject to credit approval, terms and conditions. | Regions and the Regions logo are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.

18 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Banking & Finance

Closure of rural bank branches a concern, but Mississippi has factors that ameliorate that trend By BECKY GILLETTE mbj@msbusiness.com The Federal Reserve Board recently produced a report showing that half of the U.S. counties studied lost bank branches between 2012 and 2017, “with some predominantly rural counties experiencing considerable declines. The deeply affected rural counties tended to be less economically well off Anderson and have residents with lower levels of education. They also had a greater proportion of minority residents relative to other rural counties.” Industry consolidation, especially in smaller or rural communities, is an ongoing challenge, and is Fellows being continuously influenced by factors including interest rates and the increasing cost of regulation required by the Dodd-Frank Act, said Gordon Fellows, president and CEO, Mississippi Bankers Association (MBA). “Community banks across the state are working hard to keep branches and headquarters in rural communities because we know that physical presence is integral to the success of those communities,” Fellows said. A positive for Mississippi is that it is home to the largest number of Community Development Financial Institutions in the United States. “These banks strive to meet the needs of the underserved as part of their mission,” said Andy Anderson, president and CEO of the Bank of Anguilla and vice chairman of the MBA Board of Directors. “This necessitates maintaining branch offices in rural locations that may not necessarily earn money. Bank of Anguilla has three branches in addition to the main office, all in two of the poorest, least populated counties in the state. Two of these branches actually lose money on an accounting basis, but our board has never considered closing them. They are vital to the communities in which they operate.” Mississippi’s economy is in a strong position, and rural banks should usually do better in a prospering economy. However, the impact of overall economic growth is not always experienced in rural communities due to the fact that many rural

BANKING COMMISSIONER CORLEY WILL RETIRE AFTER THREE DECADES By BECKY GILLETTE mbj@msbusiness.com Banking Commissioner Charlotte Corley, Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (DBCF), has seen many changes in banking over the past 34 years. At the end of January, she will be retiring and handing the reins to Deputy Commissioner Rhoshunda Kelly. Corley grew up in Gulfport where her father worked for Hancock Bank. In high school, she took courses in mechanical drawing and architecture. She was really interested in architecture, but was discouraged by her instructor to follow that course. So she arrived at Mississippi State University (MSU) intending to pursue computer Corley science and banking. Her advisor at MSU was Dr. E. Carl Jones. “Dr. Jones was a dear man and took me under his wing to make sure I stayed on track and got the courses I needed to graduate in 3 years from MSU,” Corley said. “He even helped me get my first job with his nephew at the Great Southern National Bank in downtown Jackson. That’s where I got my year of experience required to become a bank examiner.” She said one of the greatest things about being a regulator is that you learn and work in every aspect of the bank. “I can honestly say the job has never once been monotonous,” she said. “When you regulate an entire state’s banking industry, there is something new every day. It can sometimes be challenging as a state regulator when we’re required to enforce federal laws and regulations that we had no part in developing. “No matter whether we are enforcing state law or federal law, we strive to be consistent, fair, and balanced across the industry in our administration of the law or regulation. Our goal is ultimately the same as the institutions, to have safe and strong banks capable of serving the needs of the communities they operate in. We never want to be punitive, although sometimes that’s part of the job, too.” Corley recalls back at the bank in the mid-80s, a male friend in the same department with the same degree made a higher salary than she did. “I didn’t let it bother me,” she said. “It just made me work harder. I knew what I wanted to do and worked hard to get there. While the industry in Mississippi is still primarily male dominated, I’ve seen plenty of successful women in banking in the state. I don’t believe the lack of women in the industry See CORLEY, Page 20

areas do not have the business lending or deposit base of the more urban parts of the country, Anderson said. “Also, even in a prospering economy, the agricultural sector may actually be performing poorly which also tends to hurt rural banks,” Anderson said. “For Bank of Anguilla, the state of the farm economy is a definite concern. Agricultural loans make up almost 50 percent of our loan portfolio, and agriculture touches the rest of the portfolio. We are the only bank in the two counties we serve. We are also two of the counties that were most affected by the 2019 flood. In the end, about 45 percent of the land the bank finances for crops did not get planted.” Many farm customers had hundreds or even thousands of acres they were un-

able to plant. Some customers never put a seed in the ground, while others were only able to plant several hundred acres instead of the normal two or three thousand acres. “In addition, much of the crops that were planted had to be replanted several times and suffered poor yields due to the excessive rains or the starving wildlife devouring the crop,” Anderson said. “As the summer and fall months passed in 2019, it became apparent that this flood disaster would have a tremendous impact on the economy of the entire South Delta. Not only were the farmers affected but the local businesses, churches, individuals, and non-profit organizations were also hit hard. This trickle-down effect made 2019 a challenging and economically depressed year for the bank and the community.

“With tariffs negatively affecting commodity prices and the cash position of almost every farmer and business taking a hit in 2019, the upcoming year could be an extremely challenging year for farmers and for the agricultural economy. Even with these local economic challenges, and broader national industry trends, the Bank of Anguilla and many rural Mississippi banks are committed to serving their communities in good and bad times.” The data collected by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance doesn’t separate banks into urban and rural. The data collected by the Fed showed a 7 percent decrease in branches between 2012-2017 while in Mississippi the combined state and federal bank branch reduction was 5.85 percent, said Mississippi Banking Commissioner Charlotte Corley. When you look just at state-chartered bank branches, this ratio improves to 5.26 percent. “I’m pleased to report that in Mississippi we have four large (more than $10 billion in assets) banks domiciled in the state, three of these state-chartered,” Corley said. “All banks domiciled in the state are important. However, the larger banks have extensive branch networks in the state, as well as executive management that is focused on Mississippi. Banks headquartered in Mississippi support economic development in our state. Their executives serve on state-wide economic development councils and devote time and resources to their local communities.” In addition to these large banks, Mississippi has 57 other state-chartered banks who serve their local communities financial needs, support local initiatives and serve on boards in their communities. Corley said while these banks may be smaller, many have widespread branching networks. Corley recently attended an event where Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker was speaking, and he cited a couple of interesting statistics for his district over the past 10 years. One, he said since 2009, community banks have declined by roughly one third nationally and two, the average size of banks increased on average by 57 percent. “I came back and looked to see how we compare,” Corley said. “In Mississippi we’ve only seen a reduction of 22 percent in community banks over the past 10 years and the size of our banks has increased 82 percent since 2009. In comparison, I’m proud of these statistics.” See RURAL, Page 20

Banking & Finance

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal




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20 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

RURAL Continued from, Page 18

According to the Annual Survey of Community Banks conducted by CSBS, concern over greater regulation following the Great Recession has shifted from regulatory burden to funding sources, liquidity, and technology/cybersecurity. Corley said bankers were pleased with S2155’s attempt to reduce burden on community banks, but believe there is still work to be done. “Admittedly, community banks that operate in more rural areas may struggle to attract subject matter experts needed to fulfill critical compliance related roles, but there’s been work done in this area,” Corley said. “In October of 2018 an

KEESLER Continued from, Page 16

in South Mississippi. “This was a huge cost savings for families, reduced a lot of first-day-of-school stress and ensured that every kindergartener started the first day of their educational journey on the right foot.” Keesler Federal is also proud to support the Combat Wounded Veterans of South Mississippi through a charity golf tournament, Eagles Under the Oaks.

Interagency Statement on Sharing Bank Secrecy Act Resources was released. It encourages community banks to share resources to manage Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering more efficiently and effectively. Even beyond BSA, shared resource arrangements with like banks can improve operating efficiency, maintain regulatory compliance, and expand customer access to products and services. Sharing resources may achieve or exceed the same regulatory cost savings or economies of scale as consolidation.” Corley said she is pleased that the financial industry in Mississippi is strong and well-positioned to support citizens and economic development in the state.

Over the past seven years the tournament raised more than $250,000 to assist these veterans as they transition from active duty to their new lives. “I personally encourage each of our team members to help and serve the community where and when they can,” Mitchell said. “We have dozens of team members who participate in associations such as Purple Heart Homes, Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Banking & Finance CORLEY Continued from, Page 18

is discriminatory. It seems more lack of interest. When our agency goes and speaks to college students in the banking and finance classes each year, there are just not a lot of female students in those classes. I’d like to see that change.” When Corley started, they had manual type writers, adding machines, and landline telephones. Now their examiners are armed with laptops, printers, and cell phones. “Today examiners have computer programs and regulatory tools to aid in the examinations,” Corley said. “Back then, we went in unannounced and counted every penny in the bank. Today we preplan, notify the bank we’re coming, ask for loads of information in advance and risk focus our exams. We definitely don’t count cash anymore. In our larger institutions we moved from point-in-time exams to a continuous exam cycle where we have examiners in the institutions 30 to 40 weeks out of the year.” Corley said Mississippi is fortunate to have a robust financial ecosystem and is ranked 17th nationally in state-chartered bank assets. “It’s rare for a state the size of Mississippi to be the home state for three large (assets > $10B) state-chartered banks,” she said. “These assets are rooted in Hancock Whitney Bank, BancorpSouth, and Renasant Bank.” Corley grew up in a strong Christian family. When she was eight, her twelve-year-old brother, Jim, was diagnosed with brain cancer and given two weeks to live. “Watching how my parents and family worked through Jim’s illness provided many life lessons for me. Jim managed to outlive his diagnosis by almost 40 years, but not without difficulty,” she said. “Throughout my life if I ever let myself think I’d been mistreated or wronged, I quickly thought about my brother and shook it off. He taught me so much about living with a positive attitude.” She also learned a lot from her dad, who was an all-SEC basketball player and track star at MSU before becoming a banker. “I definitely had to learn to balance my competitive side with my mom’s grace, even keel, and thankful heart,” Corley said. In 1985 DBCF had a total of 33 employees. They now have 85 positions. In 1985 the Banking Division supervised $8.6 billion in assets, and now have $89 billion in banking assets under supervision. That is growth of 900 percent in 34 years. The agency has become a lot more actively involved with the industries regulated. “We meet regularly with the Mississippi Bankers Association and the Mississippi Consumer Finance Association,” she said. “We proactively make them aware of emerging trends and risks we are seeing in their industries.” She started her career interested in computer science and banking, and now the two are blending together more than ever before. “This blending of finance and technology is

referred to as Fintech,” Corley said. “Examiners now need a knowledge blend of banking/finance and technology. More and more financial products and services are shifting to model driven technologies using data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Examiners must fully understand these models to adequately assess the safety and soundness of an institution.” A career highlight was being elected to serve as the 2018-2019 chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors based in Washington, DC. CSBS serves as a conduit through which all state regulators come together, develop collective policy, training and technology, and then take action. “In my time as CSBS chairman and even before, I saw how state regulators are able to take action more quickly than others, help Washington set its policy direction and build the foundation for a future system of financial supervision,” she said. A few years ago, she received a call gauging her interest in serving as a member of the Federal Reserve Board. It was a huge honor to be considered, but she decided not to pursue that path. In her 34 years, there were three recessions, including the Great Recession. “My co-workers and I have helped many problem banks work through their issues to once again thrive, put rogue nonbank lenders out of business, and I’ve unfortunately worked on the closing of three banks, a thrift and a credit union in the state,” she said. “Through my job, I’ve been blessed to develop friendships, build relationships with federal and state colleagues, and meet and work with many amazing people. It’s been an honor to have served the people of Mississippi to ensure a safe and sound financial system, fair and competitive access to credit, and protection from abusive practices.” She and her husband, Aubrey, have three children, all graduates of MSU. Christopher is a mortgage loan originator in Madison, Patrick is a mechanical engineer in Gluckstadt, and Catherine is a pharmacist in Memphis. The Corleys are members of Pinelake Church and supporters of Cheshire Abbey, a non-profit group helping animals in need in the Jackson area. They are devoted MSU sports fans. Corley did competitive sailboat racing for more than 30 years which included racing with a team from Tampa to Isla Majeures, Mexico, in a tropical storm. She and are husband are moving to Starkville in the spring. She plans to “actively enjoy retirement while embracing God’s plan for whatever lies ahead.” Corley is a graduate of the School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University and a graduate of the American Bankers Association National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University.

Leadership in Law

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal


Special event of the Mississippi Business Journal

Photos by Stegall Imagery



Leadership in Law

22 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020 GO ONLINE TO NOMINATE FOR FUTURE CLASSES https://msbusiness.com/events/leadership-in-law/


MATTHEW BALDRIDGE Baldridge Law Firm........................................................................................................................ 24

CHRISTY V. MALATESTA Daniel Coker Horton Bell .............................................................................................................30

PATRICIA W. BENNETT Mississippi College School of Law ........................................................................................... 24

JASON MARSH Phelps Dunbar .................................................................................................................................30

TAMEIKA COOPER BENNETT Bennett Law Firm ............................................................................................................................25

MITCH MCGUFFEY Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP .....................................................................................................30

MICHAEL J. BENTLEY Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP .........................................................................................25

HIAWATHA NORTHINGTON II Northington PLLC .............................................................................................................................31

JULIE W. BROWN Brown & Langston, PLLC ............................................................................................................. 26

DAVID D. O’DONNELL Clayton O’Donnell ............................................................................................................................31

TAMMRA OBRECHT CASCIO Cascio, Sanford Government Law Group PLLC.................................................................... 26

GEE OGLETREE Adams and Reese LLP ....................................................................................................................31

DAVID W. CASE University of Mississippi School of Law..................................................................................27

ROMAINE L. RICHARDS, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.......................................................................................31

MICHAEL ROBERT COOPER The Molpus Woodlands Group ..................................................................................................27

RICHARD SCHWARTZ Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A. ........................................................................................32

JOHN M. CZARNETZKY Mitchell, McNutt and Sams .........................................................................................................27

BRETT B. THOMPSON-MAY Mississippi Board of Nursing ......................................................................................................32

SUSAN DUNCAN University of Mississippi School of Law..................................................................................27

CAROLINE M. UPCHURCH Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP ......................................................................................................32

JACINTA A. HALL Law Office of Shelby County Public Defender..................................................................... 28

THOMAS E. WALKER JR Jones Walker ...................................................................................................................................32

D. LEE HARRELL Baker Donelson ............................................................................................................................... 28

VIRGINIA MCBRYDE TODD WEAVER Baker Donelson ................................................................................................................................33

PHILIP C. HEARN Hearn Law Firm, PLLC ................................................................................................................... 29

KEISHUNNA WEBSTER Butler Snow .......................................................................................................................................33

TIMOTHY CRAIG HOWARD City of Jackson................................................................................................................................. 29

MARCUS A. WILLIAMS Marcus Williams Law ....................................................................................................................33

JOEL W. HOWELL III Joel W. Howell, III, Attorney ........................................................................................................23

PATRICK WOOTEN Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A. ........................................................................................33

SAMPADA KAPOOR Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP .....................................................................................................30

Past winners ..................................................................................................................................... 34



Call 601-364-1044 or submit request online at http://msbusiness.com/mbj-article-request/

Leadership in Law

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal


Lawyer of the Year 2019 Joel W. Howell III Joel W. Howell, III, Attorney oel Howell is the principal for Joel Howell Law in Jackson. He is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Law where he was Casenotes and Comments Editor, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He received is undergraduate from Millsaps College in 1971. He specializes in general civil practice before all state and federal courts, personal injury, workers compensation, taxation, estate planning, eminent domain, real estate and bankruptcy law. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa; Phi Alpha Theta. Member, Moot Court Board of Student Judges. He was a member of the adjunct faculty at the Mississippi College School of Law in 1987 and has been Webmaster for the Hinds County Bar Association. He is a member of the Mississippi State Bar; State Bar of Texas; Federal Fifth Circuit; Hinds County Bar Association, Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association and the Defense Research Institute. He is also listed in Who’s Who in American Law and the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.


Stegall Imagery

2019 Lawyer of the Year Joel Howell receiving award from MBJ Associate Publisher Tami Jones.


TAMMRA CASCIO for being selected as a 2019

Leader in Law

Bradley congratulates Michael Bentley on being named a 2019 Leader in Law

8 2 5 N . P re s i d e n t S t . | J a c k s o n , M S 3 9 2 0 2 6 0 1 . 6 5 3 . 9 2 9 5 | w w w. c s g l g .c o m

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Contact: Margaret Oertling Cupples, Esq., 601.592.9914, mcupples@bradley.com, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 188 E. Capitol Street, Suite 1000, Jackson, MS 39201. Š2020


Leadership in Law

24 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Matthew Baldridge

Patricia W. Bennett

Baldridge Law Firm

Mississippi College School of Law

att Baldridge has been working in the legal field for more than 15 years. And, he has gained valuable courtroom experience by way of litigating in over 20 counties throughout the state of Mississippi and trying more than 20 jury trials to verdict. Having a strong background in technology, Baldridge uses the power of technology to assist him in more-efficient representation, as well as in results and out-of-pocket expense. Because of his experience, Baldridge serves as a hearing officer for the Mississippi secretary of state and he is often asked to speak at CLE events and to law school classes throughout the year on a diverse range of topics. Believing in giving back and helping contribute to preparing the lawyers of tomorrow, Baldridge often serves as a presiding judge at Mississippi Bar Association-sponsored mock trial competitions and at law school Appellate Advocacy competitions. Baldridge earned his undergraduate at Mississippi State in 2004 before getting his juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi Law School in 2007.

Mississippi College School of Law professor for nearly three decades, Patricia Bennett became the institution’s interim dean on Dec. 1, 2016 and permanent dean on Jan. 1, 2018. A Forest native and MC Law graduate, Bennett dedicated her career to the law and legal profession. She’s spent 27 years teaching at MC Law in downtown Jackson. Bennett succeeds Wendy Scott, who resigned as dean on December 1 to join the MC Law faculty. Dean Bennett’s areas of expertise are litigation, criminal law and procedure. Bennett serves as the director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Center at MC Law. She teaches trial practice, mediation, advocacy and criminal procedure. Before joining the MC Law faculty in 1989, the Tougaloo College graduate worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice. For eight years, Bennett served as a JAGC officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Mississippi National Guard. Bennett and her husband, Claude, a building contractor, are Clinton residents. She worships at Morning Star Baptist Church in Jackson.



Congratulations to our newest Leaders in Law! TM

Thank you to our team for making FormanWatkins a Best Place to Work! Sampada Kapoor

Mitch McGuffey

Caroline M. Upchurch



Leadership in Law

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal

Tameika Cooper Bennett

Michael J. Bentley

Bennett Law Firm

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

ameika Bennett is a solo practitioner and serves as the owner and managing partner of Bennett Law Office. She serves as the hearing officer for the Rankin County Board of Supervisors. Bennett also serves as a Rankin County Public Defender. In addition to practicing Law, Bennett is a Girl Scout troop leader, an active youth leader and choir member at Truevine Baptist Church, a member in the Leadership Rankin and member of the Madison County Mississippi Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. She attended the University of Mississippi School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate in May 2008. While attending The Mississippi School of Law, Bennett served as a law clerk for Moore Law Firm in Grenada. She was an active student in the Criminal Appeals program, where her contribution to an appellate brief resulted in a new legal standard for constructive possession in the state of Mississippi. After law school, she moved to Brandon and married Rico Bennett in 2009. The couple resides in Brandon where they are raising three children, Jaida, Bree and Deuce.

ichael Bentley is a partner in the Jackson office, where he concentrates his practice on appellate and commercial litigation, including class actions and complex disputes. Michael has extensive experience in healthcare litigation, including defense of private correctional healthcare providers operating in state prison systems. In his appellate practice, Bentley advises clients on trial and appeal strategy, drafts and argues critical trial motions, and handles all aspects of an appeal – from briefing through oral argument. From 2000 to 2004, Michael served in state government, first as an aid to Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and later as office manager for the state superintendent of education. As a member of the governor’s staff, Michael was responsible for constituent communications and legislative affairs; he was also the governor’s liaison to county and municipal governments. In addition to his law practice, Michael remains active in his community and local bar organizations, having served as the president of the Jackson Young Lawyers Association.



Leaders in Law and the Community We congratulate Jason Marsh on his recognition as a Leader in Law honoree

Jason T. Marsh Labor and Employment

Baton Rouge Dallas/Ft. Worth Gulfport Houston Jackson London Mobile New Orleans Raleigh Tampa Tupelo phelps.com



Leadership in Law

26 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Julie W. Brown

Tammra Obrecht Cascio

Brown & Langston, PLLC

Cascio, Sanford Government Law Group PLLC

ulie Brown has been an attorney in Mississippi for 23 years. During her time in practice, she has served in positions in the Real Property Division of the Mississippi Bar and mentored countless young attorneys in the Starkville area. Attorneys young and old know that they can come to Brown for questions, forms, advice, and help on title issues. She truly loves what she does, which is not something everyone can say about their daily job. She loves the law and working with others to solve problems. She makes all clients feel special from the smallest home purchase to multi million dollar developments. She is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.

ammra Cascio received her B.A. from Murray State University and her J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law. Cascio served as general counsel for Gulf Guaranty Life Insurance Company for 16 years. Prior to joining Gulf Guaranty, she practiced in the Mississippi Delta. She formed her own company, Cascio Consulting, LLC in 2013 through which she has provided specialized governmental, legislative, economic development and political consulting in all areas of Mississippi. Â Most recently, Cascio is a member and principal of Cascio Sanford Government Law Group PLLC. Cascio served the Mississippi Secretary of State to study and revise corporate and business-related statutes. In 2012, she was named one of the 50 Leading Businesswomen of Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal. She serves as a volunteer for Stewpot Community Services, Madison Middle and Madison Central Bands and has served on various PTO Boards. In 2012, the staff and teachers of Ann Smith Elementary honored Cascio as Parent of the Year. She also is an alumnus of Leadership Jackson. Cascio has two sons.



Molpus Woodlands Group proudly congratulates

Michael R. Cooper


KEISHUNNA R. WEBSTER on being chosen as a Top 10 FInalist of The Leaders in Law Program by the Mississippi Business Journal.

on being chosen as a BUTLERSNOW.COM

Mississippi Business Journal Leader In Law.

Leadership in Law David W. Case University of Mississippi School of Law


rofessor David Case has been a member of the University of Mississippi School of Law faculty since 2007. Prior to joining the Ole Miss Law faculty, Case was a member of the faculty of the University of Memphis School of Law from 2001-2007. At Ole Miss Law, he teaches environmental law, administrative law, contracts, civil procedure, and property. He also regularly teaches as a member of the faculty of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Case received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi in English and Political Science. He earned his J.D. from the University of Mississippi in 1988 and served as comments editor of the Mississippi Law Journal. He earned his LL.M. from Columbia University in 1993. In 2004, he earned his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Interdisciplinary Studies: Environmental Law, Management and Policy. Professor Case coached teams in the Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, New York, for 17 years. His Ole Miss Law teams won five championships at the Pace competition (in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016).


John M. Czarnetzky Mitchell, McNutt and Sams


ohn Czarnetzky is the Mitchell McNutt & Sams and Jessie D. Puckett, Jr. lecturer in law. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he played football, and then earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1989. He was an Executive Editor of the Virginia Law Review, and editor of the Virginia Journal of Environmental Law. Czarnetzky joined the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1994, and has taught courses in bankruptcy, corporate reorganization, secured transactions, civil procedure, business associations, international trade, and several undergraduate courses at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, with which he helped establish a relationship with the law school. Professor Czarnetzky previously directed the law school’s Cambridge Summer Session for eight years. Professor Czarnetzky’s scholarly interests are bankruptcy, commercial and international law, the last growing out of his work with the Holy See. Professor Czarnetzky has published in several law journals, including Notre Dame Law Review, Fordham Law Review and Arizona State Law Journal. Czarnetzky and his wife, Sylvia, reside in Cleveland.


Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal


Michael Robert Cooper The Molpus Woodlands Group ichael Cooper is general counsel and senior director of client relations and business development for The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC. Cooper is responsible for the client relations team as well as developing firmwide strategic initiatives. Cooper also provides leadership and strategic legal advice to company executives, management and across functional teams of the Company. Cooper oversees the Molpus legal team composed of attorneys and paralegals as well as overseeing the company risk management program and managing external relationships such as outside counsel and related vendors. Cooper has worked with Molpus since 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance from Mississippi State University in 1992 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1995. Prior to joining Molpus, Cooper was engaged in a diversified corporate law practice in Jackson. He was selected as one of Mississippi’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2009 by the MBJ. Cooper is also a past member of the Mississippi Ethics Commission.


Susan Duncan University of Mississippi School of Law


usan Hanley Duncan joined the University of Mississippi School of Law as Dean in August 2017. She is the first female to serve as Dean of the Law School not in an interim capacity. Duncan’s teaching and research interests include lawyering skills, education law and restorative practices. Her scholarship has focused primarily on issues surrounding children, including the need for anti-bullying laws and laws protecting children from pornography on the Internet. Her most recent scholarship focuses on the use of restorative practices in schools, universities and in the workplace. Her work has garnered recognition by many, including such honors as the 2016 Kentucky Bar President Special Service Award, the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from Louis Brandeis School of Law, and the 2010 Louisville Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service. Prior to joining the faculty at Ole Miss, she served as Interim Dean at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She received a B.A. from Miami University and a J.D. from the University of Louisville.



Leadership in Law

28 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Jacinta A. Hall

D. Lee Harrell

Law Office of Shelby County Public Defender

Baker Donelson

acinta Hall is a 2005 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. Her legal career began as a clerk to current Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie King when he was the Chief Judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeals. Hall then transitioned to the Hinds County Public Defender’s Office, where she remained until October 2013. While with Hinds County, Jacinta served as the intern coordinator and as a lead trial attorney. Hall was a former board member and vice president of the Mississippi Public Defender’s Office, and is a graduate of Gideon’s Promise, formerly the Southern Public Defender’s Training Center. Currently, Hall, a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, is an assistant public defender with the Law Office of the Shelby County public defender, Memphis, Tennessee.

ee Harrell is the Chairman of Baker Donelson’s Insurance Regulatory Group. Harrell focuses his practice in the area of insurance with an emphasis on insurance regulatory matters, and is familiar with all lines of insurance including property and casualty, life and annuities, and health and producer licensing. Harrell has handled every aspect of approximately 30 receiverships across ďŹ ve states and 21 foreign countries, and has an extensive public and private sector background in all types of insurance regulatory matters. He also assists clients with data and security breaches. He is a graduate of University of Southern Mississippi and earned his J.D. from the Mississippi College School of Law. Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Harrell worked with the Mississippi Insurance Department for almost 18 years, as special assistant attorney and general counsel and deputy commissioner and special counsel.



CONGRATULATIONS TO Bradley congratulates Michael Cooper at Molpus Woodlands Group on being named a 2019 Leader in Law

BRETT THOMPSON ;/G on being selected as a 2019 Leader in Law

At Bradley, our attorneys understand that legal matters are more than contests of critical thought; they have realworld implications, which is why we prioritize integrity. It is this integrity that inspires all of us to go above and beyond our clients’ expectations by providing innovative solutions, dependable responsiveness and a deep commitment to success.

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Contact: Margaret Oertling Cupples, Esq., 601.592.9914, mcupples@bradley.com, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 188 E. Capitol Street, Suite 1000, Jackson, MS 39201. Š2020

713 Pear Orchard Rd, Plaza II, Suite 300 Ridgeland, MS 39157 • 601-957-6300 • www.msbn.ms.gov

Leadership in Law Philip C. Hearn Hearn Law Firm, PLLC


hilip Hearn serves as the owner and managing partner of Hearn Law Firm, a private practice with offices in Jackson and Blue Mountain. He serves as the Municipal Judge for the Town of Blue Mountain and as General Counsel for NAMI-Mississippi. He is a member of Mississippi Association of Justice, serving on its Board of Governors and chairing its Committee on Membership. He is also a member of the Capital Area Bar Association, having previously served on its Committee on Diversity and currently serving on its Membership Committee. Additionally, Hearn is a member of the Fifth Circuit Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar, the Choctaw Tribal Bar, and the American Association of Justice. He is a member of the Rotary Club and is a regular speaker at churches, civic groups, schools, and bar meetings. In addition to his work in the legal field, Hearn teaches Sunday School at Blue Mountain United Methodist Church. Hearn Law Firm also sponsors T-ball and soccer teams in the New Albany Parks and Recreation League. He sponsors numerous fundraising efforts in the Jackson area. He is a past president of the Millsaps College Alumni Association and former member of the Millsaps College Executive Committee. Hearn and his wife, Natalie are the parents of five children (Holland, Bryce, JC, Cael, and Gunner), with a daughter on the way. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law.


Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal


Timothy Craig Howard City of Jackson imothy Howard has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from a vast amount of personal, professional and academic endeavors. He is a Jackson native that went from Millsaps College to the University of Notre Dame Law School for his law degree. He went on to obtain a Master of Law from Georgetown University Law Center. Immediately prior to his appointment as City Attorney, he was the Director of the Tougaloo College Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Program, and was also an assistant professor of political science and served as pastor of We Are One United Methodist Church. His professional experience in law includes his time served as a judicial law clerk to Mississippi Supreme Court Justice William L. Waller Jr. and Judge Henry P. Wingate of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Howard was formerly the Assistant District Attorney for Mississippi’s Fourteenth Circuit Court District. Mr. Howard also served as a state special assistant attorney general presiding over the Medical Fraud Division.




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Leadership in Law

30 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Sampada Kapoor

Christy V. Malatesta

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

Daniel Coker Horton Bell

ampan Kapoor is a member of the Forman, Watkins and Krutz Jackson office. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law where she served as editor-in-chief for the Business Law Newsletter, was the winner of the American Bar Association Business Law Judicial Clerkship and recipient of the James Oliver Eastland Scholarship. Kapoor previously served as law clerk to Judge Christine Ward for the Commerce and Complex Commercial Litigation Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. She also interned with Mississippi Access to Justice and served as a student attorney for the University of Mississippi’s Innocence Project and the MacArthur Justice Center. At Forman Watkins & Krutz, she works primarily with the mass tort team. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi Law School.


hristy Malatesta focuses her practice in general litigation and transportation. When asked about her approach to a new matter, Christy says, “Communication with clients upon receipt of any new matter is the key component to successfully addressing not only that client’s needs, but also those issues which often arise throughout the course of representation”. Malatesta is a summa cum laude graduate from Mississippi State in 2006 and then earned her juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2009. She licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi, the state of Tennessee, with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District.


Jason Marsh

Mitch McGuffey

Phelps Dunbar

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

ason Marsh practices in the area of labor and employment law with an emphasis on representing public and private employers in defense of discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, hostile work environment and civil rights claims. He also handles EEOC charges and other administrative complaints through the administrative and judicial process. Marsh’s practice covers an array of issues that arise in the employment context, including employer compliance with applicable federal and state employment laws, including Section 1981, Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. He has litigated a variety of civil rights cases arising under the U.S. Constitution and has tried cases in state and federal courts in Mississippi. Marsh received his J.D. in 2005, cum laude, from LaGrange College, and his B.S., summa cum laude, in 2008 from Mississippi College, where he was the managing editor of the Mississippi College Law Review. Marsh is admitted to practice in Mississippi and Arkansas.

itch McGuffey works for Forman Watkins and Krutz and currently serves as national coordinating counsel for asbestos claims of two Fortune 500 companies, litigating product and premises liability claims, developing national and jurisdictional defense strategy, and negotiating settlements. He has also represented coaches in factual development and investigation, preparation for NCAA interviews, and drafted involved individual response to notices of allegation from the NCAA Committee on Infractions. McGuffey earned undergraduate degrees in Business Administration as well as graphic design from Auburn University before receiving his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. He has bar admission to the state of New York and Mississippi and the U.S. District Courts for Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.



Leadership in Law

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal

Hiawatha Northington II

David D. O’Donnell

Northington PLLC

Clayton O’Donnell

fter graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Hiawatha Northington completed a two-year clerkship for the Hon. Charles R. McRae of the Supreme Court of Mississippi. He then moved into private practice, establishing himself as a seasoned litigator. Over the last twenty-plus years, Northington has successfully represented small towns and large municipalities, closely-held corporations and large multinational companies, and individuals and insurance companies in a variety of litigated matters, bringing the same level of skill, focus and commitment to all matters. He has successfully first-chaired over 20 bench and jury trials across Mississippi and Louisiana in both federal and state courts, as well as in arbitration, obtaining several multi-million-dollar judgments for his clients. His experience has also allowed him to successfully resolve hundreds of claims prior to trial, through motion practice and mediation. Northington also has extensive experience in legal research and writing, handling appeals in both state and federal court, and serving as an Adjunct Professor of legal writing and appellate advocacy at the Mississippi College School of Law for 10 years.

avid D. O’Donnell has more than 25 years of experience in the successful handling of matters involving product liability, business, public entity, civil rights, employment and insurance litigation. He has been retained to defend public entities, recreational vehicle manufacturers, insurers and individuals before the Mississippi and Tennessee federal and state courts. Mr. O’Donnell is a member of the Clayton O’Donnell, PLLC Law Firm and practices in its Oxford office. O’Donnell is the author of “Mississippi Automobile Insurance Law and Practice”, a practice manual for lawyers and insurance claim professionals, published by West Publishing. He has also co-authored several legal works on voting rights litigation under the Voting Rights Act, including two chapters in a treatise published by the American Bar Association. David has been a frequent speaker at CLE programs, addressing topics involving civil rights and voting rights litigation and insurance law. O’Donnell earned his undergraduate degree from The American University (School of International Service) in 1980 and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1985.


Gee Ogletree Adams and Reese LLP


ee Ogletree received his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1980 and his Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1977. He is a partner at Adams and Reese, where he founded and leads the firm’s forestry team and coordinates the firm’s real estate work throughout Mississippi. Ogletree has previously served as Chair of the Adams and Reese Executive Committee, practice group leader for transactions and corporate advisory services and as Partner in Charge of the firm’s Jackson office. Ogletree is active within the legal and business community. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, and served two terms as Chair of the Forest Resources Committee. He serves as general counsel for the Mississippi Forestry Association and the Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association, and is also an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law. He is also a board member for the Mississippi Institutions of High Learning. Ogletree and his wife have two daughters and four grandchildren, and they enjoy spending time with their families. He is an Elder at Pinelake Church.




Romaine L. Richards, Assistant Attorney General


Mississippi Attorney General’s Office omaine Richards is an assistant attorney general with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, with whom she has worked since 1999. Currently she is assigned to the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration. There Romaine helped provide legal assistance on a wide variety of projects, from the fiscal affairs of the State, to construction projects, to the issuance of bonds. She is most proud of her work on the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museums and the acquisition of the Wright and Ferguson and the Sun-N-Sand properties. Prior to being assigned to Finance and Administration, Romaine represented the Mississippi Department of Health, where she mainly provided legal assistance to the offices of Licensure and Certification and Human Resources-employment law. Richards received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981, and a Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude, from Alcorn State University in 1979. She has two children, William and Adria. In her spare time, Richards enjoys cooking, using recipes passed down from her grandmother or playing with Lucky the dog.



Leadership in Law

32 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Richard Schwartz Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A.


Brett B. Thompson-May Mississippi Board of Nursing

ichard Schwartz is a life-long resident of Jackson. He founded Richard Schwartz & Associates more than 30 years ago and is a dedicated member of the community. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Millsap’s College and Juris Doctor Degree from the University Of Mississippi School of Law in 1978, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi Honor Fraternity and an officer of the Moot Court Board. During his career, Richard was also a real estate broker and closing attorney for title and mortgage companies. Schwartz has served as Assistant City Prosecutor in Jackson for 10 years and as the City Prosecutor for Ridgeland for 2 years. Schwartz’s firm currently serves the needs of Mississippians by providing quality legal service in the personal injury field. Richard’s specialty is helping people get what they deserve.



Caroline M. Upchurch

Thomas E. Walker Jr

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

Jones Walker LLP

aroline Upchurch of Forman Watkins and Krutz has represented multiple school districts and intervened in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a statute governing the distribution of certain ad valorem tax revenues. She has also successfully challenged plaintiff ’s expert and obtained summary judgment in favor of satellite television equipment manufacturer, which was later upheld by the Mississippi Court of Appeals. Upchurch, who is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi as well as a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, also speaks to many organizations, including having served as a featured panelist at the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association 7th Annual Day of Leadership.

om Walker is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group. He focuses on commercial and regulatory matters in the financial services industry, with a depth of experience representing financial institutions. Prior to joining the Jones Walker, Walker served as Executive Vice President and Director of a $250 million community bank in Forest, Mississippi. His experience as general counsel, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and chief investments officer in the financial services sector enhances his ability to provide legal services to his clients. Walker previously served as chairman of the Attorneys Committee of the Mississippi Bankers Association during the 2017-2018 year, and he currently serves as a member of that committee. He has also served as Treasurer and member of the Executive Council of the Mississippi Young Bankers as well as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee and Banking Committee for the Mississippi Society of CPAs. He has been an active Certied Public Accountant in Mississippi since 2001, and currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Mississippi Society of CPAs.


rett Thompson-May received her Bachelor of Arts with distinction from the University of Mississippi and her Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. She has been a practicing attorney for 16 years and has served as General Counsel for the Mississippi Board of Nursing for more than 12 years, currently supervising the Legal and Compliance departments. Thompson-May has been appointed to numerous national and state bar health and nursing related committees, is an adjunct professor and currently serves as co-chair to the National Council State Boards of Nursing Compact Rules Committee. She is an instructor for investigation training for the CLEAR organization and NCSBN BONIT and has been a featured speaker for both National and State health-related Conferences. She is married to attorney William “Bill” May and has two children: Olivia Thompson (15) a freshman at Jackson Prep, and Wright Thompson (17) a senior at Jackson Prep.


Leadership in Law

Jan. 11 - 24, 2020


Mississippi Business Journal

Virginia McBryde Todd Weaver

Keishunna Webster

Baker Donelson

Butler Snow

inger Weaver concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial real estate, economic development, public law and general business transactions. She regularly represents clients in commercial lending transactions, including the structuring and documenting of commercial loans for both lenders and borrowers, as well as commercial leasing transactions and working through underwriting issues in connection with the issuance of title insurance policies. She has served as borrower’s counsel and lender’s counsel in a myriad of different commercial acquisitions and/or financings including office buildings, casinos, multi-family housing developments, assisted care facilities and shopping centers. She regularly represents the State of Mississippi in various loan transactions administered by the Mississippi Development Authority. Weaver earned her undergraduate from the University of Mississippi in 1993 and her juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1996.


eishunna Webster is Senior Counsel in the Ridgeland office of Butler Snow. She is a member of the Tort, Transportation, and Specialized Litigation group. In that role, Keishunna frequently defends common carrier transportation fleets in complex personal injury, catastrophic losses and wrongful death matters. Her clients include some of the nation’s largest trucking companies. Walker has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Mid-South Rising Star in general litigation and was named a Top 40 Under 40 by The National Black Lawyers. Walker is a 2006 cum laude graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal, the Journal of Space Law, and the Moot Court Board. She also received a master’s degree in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in English and German, with honors, from Belhaven College. Walker and her husband, Clarence Webster, who is an attorney, enjoy spending time with their four-year old daughter, Ilana Reed Webster.


Marcus A. Williams

Patrick Wooten

Marcus Williams Law

Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A.

arcus A. Williams is attorney/ owner at Marcus Williams Law, PLLC. His practice areas include personal injury, criminal defense, general litigation and divorce/family law. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of Mississippi. Williams received his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he was elected student body president. Williams is a native of Jackson and remains very active in the community. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc., Magnolia Bar Association, Jackson Young Lawyers, Mississippi Association for Justice and Capital Area Bar Association among many others. He was honored by Super Lawyers as a Mid-South Rising Star. He was recognized in Portico magazine as a member of the ninth annual PORTICO 15 publication, which honors 15 up-and-coming lawyers from around the state. Williams is an active member of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson. He is married to Christin Brunson Williams, who is also an attorney

atrick S. Wooten, the Chief Operating Officer as well as a managing partner of Richard Schwartz & Associates. Wooten has devoted his time to helping children who have been injured in accidents. Additionally, Wooten served the citizens of Mississippi while serving as a JAG Officer in the Mississippi Army National Guard for 24 years, including active duty deployments to the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has also served the legal community by serving on a Committee of the Mississippi Bar Association, the Board for the Mississippi Association of Justice and being a judge for various Mock Trial Competitions. Wooten is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where he majored in Communications and minored in Military Science. Since a young age, Patrick knew he wanted to help others and therefore he became an attorney. Patrick graduated from the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson in 1994. In addition to his law practice, he is very active in his community and church. Patrick is married and has three children.






34 Q Mississippi Business Journal Q Jan. 11 - 24, 2020

Leadership in Law






Michael Adelman, Adelman & Steen LLP

Suzie Baker, Phelps Dunbar LLP Sandra D. Buchanan, Daniel Coker Kenny Bush, The Yates Companies Angela Carpenter, District Attorney’s Office for the 9th District Tucker Carrington, University of Mississippi School of Law Claude F. Clayton, Jr., Clayton O’Donnell PPC Marie Saliba Cope, University of Mississippi School of Law Tara P. Ellis, Balch & Bingham Chip Glaze, Mississippi Bar, Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program Lynne K. Green, Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC Benjamin E. Griffith, Griffith Law Firm Pamela Gunter, Anderson Crawley & Burke, PLLC Dewey Hembree, McGlinchey Stafford Cliff Johnson, University of Mississippi School of Law Whitman B. Johnson, III, Currie Johnson & Myers, P.A. Edward Otis Johnson, Jr., Biggs, Ingram & Solop, PLLC James L. Kelly, Kelly Law Office, PC Dan Kitchens, Kitchens Law Firm, P.A. John Kitchens, Kitchens Law Firm, P.A. Matthew Kitchens, Kitchens Law Firm, P.A. Blythe K. Lollar, Ogletree Deakins Joseph E. Lotterhos, Bennett Lotterhos Sulser David Friederich Maron, Baker,Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Elizabeth Lee Maron, Adams & Reese Leonard “Len” C. Martin, Baker,Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Chan McLeod, Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson and Tardy Wendy R. Mullins, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Krissy Nobile, Office of the Attorney General J. Andrew Payne, Young Wells J. Conner Reeves, J.D., Mississippi State Medical Association Stephanie M. Rippee, Watkins & Eager PLLC Karl R. Steinberger, Heidelberg Steinberger Jeffery A Styres, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Aileen S. Thomas, Jones Walker LLP Lynn Patton Thompson, Biggs Ingram & Solop Robert T. Van Uden, III, Stubblefield Yelverton H. Rodger Wilder, Balch & Bingham Malissa Wilson, Copeland Cook Taylor & Bush Sara Beth Wilson, Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP Robert Wiygul, Walzer Wiygul & Garside LLC

Matt Allen, Brunini Thomas J. Bellinder, Esq., Bellinder Law Firm Walter H. Boone, Balch & Bingham LLP Gregg A. Caraway, Wells Marble & Hurst, PLLC Julie E. Chaffin, Maron Marvel J. Michael Coleman, Hagwood and Tipton Elise Deano, Law Office of Elise Epperson Deano Becky Mae Allen Farrell, Law Office of Becky Farrell, PLLC Patricia C. Gandy, Butler Snow Ralph B. Germany, Jr., Bradley Arant Nick Giallourakis, Forman Watkins & Krutz John T. Givens, Porter & Malouf, P.A. Jennifer G. Hall, Baker Donelson Brian A. Hinton, Anderson Crawley and Burke, PLLC LaToya T. Jeter, Brown Bass & Jeter Kristina M. Johnson, Jones Walker John Martin Lassiter, Burr Forman Edwin Poteat Lutken, Jr., Wise Carter Child and Carraway Jacob O. Malatesta, Hagwood and Tipton Alison O’Neal McMinn, Forman Watkins & Krutz LaToya C. Merritt, Phelps Dunbar LLP Matt Miller, Copeland Cook Taylor & Bush, P.A. Scott Newton, Baker Donelson Tere Richardson Steel, Page Mannino Ellen Patton Robb, Robb Law Offices M. Craig Robertson, Robertson and Easterling Ginger M. Robey, Daniel Coker Horton & Bell, PA Martha Bost Stegall, Michell McNutt & Sam Matthew Thompson, Thompson Law Firm Edward Owens Watson, Jackson State University Clarence Webster, III, Bradley Arant Charles R. (Chip) Wilbanks, Jr., Adams and Reese LLP Ben Wilson, Morgan & Morgan

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