Leadership Jackson County 2020

31 students graduated in the 31st class of Leadership Jackson County after a very challenging, yet successful, year. These students represented a diverse set of leaders from various industries throughout the county. Despite the unconventional nature of most of the sessions being during a pandemic, the class still received the full Leadership experience.

Fortunately, the class was able to participate in sessions that Leadership classes have been experiencing over the last three decades and more. These sessions focused on a wide variety of topics including state government, education, economic development, industry, small business, environment, public safety, and others over the course of nine months.

Throughout the course of the 2020 Leadership Jackson County class, participants received an overview of how each municipality in the county is run from tourism to industry. Due to the pandemic, many of the classes had to be modified to make sure the participants could stay sufficiently distanced and in good health. This change in the format opened up new innovative ways of holding Leadership Jackson County that may influence how the program is run in the future.

The class concluded with a graduation at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pascagoula. Please find the list of 2020 Leadership Jackson County graduates below:

    • Alyssa Acevedo, Keesler Federal Credit Union
    • Chassity Bilbo, City of Gautier
    • Meggan Brown, City of Ocean Springs
    • Courtney Carter, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce
    • Bradley Chennault, City of Ocean Springs fire Department
    • Cheryl Cooper, Navigator Credit Union
    • Melissa Davis, MGCCC
    • Sarah Duffey, Singing River Health System
    • Kelly Dye, MGCCC
    • Rochelle Harris, Moss Point School District
    • Brandi Hilsabeck, Chevron
    • Matthew Hosey, Jackson County
    • Stacy Inlow, Merchants & Marine Bank
    • Katie Hancock, The Citizens Bank
    • Melissa Jarosinski, MGCCC
    • Theresa Jenkins, Charter Bank
    • Liz Johnson, Halter Marine
    • Marcel Kinnard, Mississippi Export Railroad Company
    • Kellie Lamb, Singing River Health System
    • Erin Marks, QuadMed, Huntington Ingalls Family Health Center
    • Angela Massey, Northrop Grumman – Unmanned
    • LaToya McClain, Engineering Supervisor
    • Robert Mills, First Chemical Corporation – Chemours
    • Joaquin Orozco, Ingalls Shipbuilding
    • Lisa Parker, Blacklidge
    • Leigh Rayburn, First Federal
    • Leah Small, Singing River Federal Credit Union
    • John Sullivan, Ingalls Shipbuilding
    • Sonya Vaughn, Jackson County Office of Emergency Services
    • Prentiss Williams, Pascagoula-Gautier School District
    • Lester Wright, Merchants & Marine Bank



2020 Annual Membership Meeting

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce hosted the Annual Membership Meeting for 2020 at the beautiful Pelican Landing in Moss Point. We appreciate everyone who made the event a success this year. We want to say a huge thank you to our outgoing chair, Clayton Legear, and a big welcome to our new chair, Christian Hartley! We were pleased to present Debbie Anglin with the Jolly P. McCarty Award of Excellence for 2020 for her amazing selfless work and leadership. Please enjoy the photo album below:

20th Annual Veterans Day Program

The 20th Annual Veterans Day Program hosted by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce proved that even a pandemic couldn’t hold back the appreciation this community has for its military men and women.
This year’s event was held at Pelican Landing in Moss Point. It brought together service men and women from across Jackson County, including keynote speaker, Christy Wheeler, Retired Commanding Officer of the United States Navy.
The moving ceremony honored and remembered numerous veterans from almost every conflict since World War II.
Please take a moment to browse through the photo gallery below, then scroll down further for the bio of this year’s keynote speaker.


Keynote Speaker

Retired Commanding Officer Christy Wheeler

Commander Christy Wheeler is an Air Force dependent, with overseas tours in Morocco and Spain. Commander Wheeler served on active duty in the United States Navy. Her military career spanned 20 years, culminating in being named Commanding Officer of Naval Station Pascagoula. After retirement, Commander Wheeler returned to Mississippi to serve as a caregiver to her father-in-law. She later accepted a position as Executive Director of the United Way for Jackson and George Counties. After great success fundraising for the United Way, she became City Manager for the City of Gautier just in time for Hurricane Katrina. She excelled in the operational needs of the city’s emergency response and recovery efforts. She is now happily retired again.

Commander Wheeler attended high school and junior college in St. Petersburg, FL. She earned a B.A. in Education from the University of South Florida and later pursued her Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of West Florida.

She began volunteering with the League of Women Voters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast six years ago, assisting with high school voter registration. That transitioned into membership and becoming the VP for Voter Services, then President. She is now Co-President for the State League of Women Voters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Commander Wheeler taught school for 7 years in Florida and was an educational consultant for the Florida Department of Education for several years. She is married to Nick Richards, CAPT USN-Ret and they have three adult children, Larinna Richards-Cothren, Rhiannon Richards, and Dell Lopez.