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
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:
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.
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.
The 12th Annual Anchor Awards Finalists have been chosen through a public online voting process. There were nearly two dozen businesses nominated for four different awards. The Grit Award for non-profits, the Thrive I Award for businesses with up to 50 employees, the Thrive II Award for businesses with 51-200 employees, and the Pioneer Award for businesses in operation between one and three years. Each award was narrowed down to three finalists after hundreds of votes poured in on social media.
New to this year’s awards will be two additional honors. One will be the President’s Award, chosen by our President and CEO Paige Roberts for outstanding support in the community. The other is the Champion Award, that will go to a business nominated by the public and judged by a panel of qualified professionals. The Champion Award received more than 150 nominations. Those nominations were narrowed down to three finalists by a panel of judges. They judged the finalists on criteria including pandemic relevance, effort above and beyond usual business practices, and community impact.
Each of the other awards were judged by a separate panel of judges on criteria that includes keys to success, impact and involvement, human resources, and reasons for applying.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at this year’s awards ceremony will be limited to finalists and their supporters. The ceremony will be streamed on Facebook LIVE on August 26th.
We want to give a big thanks to our sponsors for this year’s Anchor Awards. Gold sponsors are Chevron, Navigator Credit Union, Merchants and Marine Bank, Mississippi Power, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, and Ingalls Shipbuilding. Silver sponsors are Mississippi Security Police, and Geiger Promotional Products. The finalists are listed below.
CONGRATULATIONS to our 12TH Annual Anchor Awards Finalists!
GRIT AWARD (non-profit)
- FabLab Jackson County
- Habitat For Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast
- Junior Auxiliary of Pascagoula-Moss Point, MS</li>
PIONEER AWARD (in business 1-3 years)
- Amerson One Stop Pest Shop
- CK Creations LLC
- Pascagoula Nutrition
THRIVE I AWARD (up to 50 employees)
- Dixie Glass MS Gulf Coast
- Gibson Electric Motor Sales & Service, Inc.
- Pugh’s Floral Shop
THRIVE II AWARD (51-200 employees)
- Bozo’s Too
- First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Pascagoula-Moss Point
- Gulf Breeze Landscaping, LLC
CHAMPION AWARD (Outstanding performance during the pandemic)
- FabLab Jackson County
- Just For You Embroidery
- Navigator Credit Union
Tune in to our Facebook LIVE on August 26th for the awards ceremony!
The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present our brand new commercial. Please enjoy and share this link as we celebrate our unified community.
Explosion of Excellence 2020Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau
Posted by Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi on Tuesday, May 5, 2020
While graduating seniors in Jackson County are facing an unconventional conclusion to their high school careers, one tradition is being kept alive that provides scholarships to nearly 180 students.
The 30th annual Explosion of Excellence scholarship ceremony was held Tuesday evening in a brand new format for the program. The entire event was live-streamed on the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.
Explosion of Excellence is an effort to provide scholarship funds to the top ten percent of students from each high school in Jackson County. Pat Descher, of the McDonald’s Descher Organization, started the program 30 years ago with the dream of encouraging high school students to go to college and come back to Jackson County to live and work.
179 students each received a $250 book scholarship this year. Out of that 179 students, 20 of them were randomly drawn to receive an additional $1000 scholarship each.
Please find the full list of scholarship recipients below, as well as this year’s contributors.
Congratulations to the Explosion of Excellence Class of 2020
EAST CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
William Alexander Anderson
Natalie Rayne Baxter *
Lauren Quinn Brown
Sydni Lyn Burroughs
Stacy Rene Crawford
Yamiliz Yari Felicie-Robles *
Ashlyn Paige Hinton
Chesie Elyse Killen
Garrett Michael Knotts
Tori Elizabeth Loper
Kiley Elizabeth Martin
Sarah Lauren Rice
Rylee Caroline Sharpton
Madison Brooke Strickler
Sallie Amanda Warren
Sarah Elisabeth Warren
Secora Faye Webb
GAUTIER HIGH SCHOOL
Shandrika Jefferson *
Kathryn McArthur *
Shantel Simmons *
Victoria Taylor *
MOSS POINT HIGH SCHOOL
Ninoshka Munoz Deleon *
OCEAN SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL
Mitchell Bowie *
Rebecca Tatum Cooper
Harold “Todd” Coulter
Hanna Mitchell *
Ivy Oberkirch *
Shaw St. Amant *
Campa Steven *
PASCAGOULA HIGH SCHOOL
Clarissa Sanders *
Keleri Chasteen *
RESURRECTION CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
Meghan Denmark *
SAINT MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL
Tara Bradley *
Sophia Incer *
Vivian Ly *
Victor Thorne *
VANCLEAVE HIGH SCHOOL
Miranda Hines *
* $1000 drawing recipient
Thank you to this year’s Explosion of Excellence contributors
ASB Marketing, LLC in memory of Jim Brooks
Baber Strunk Enterprises
Bienville Animal Medical Center
Bryan, Nelson, Schroeder, Castigliola & Banahan
Children and Grandchildren of Billie and Zelma Lofton in memory of Billie and Zelma Lofton
Cmsgt. Lloyd W. & Ann Hegwood, USAF Retired
Community Connections JC Chapter
Descher, William H.
Dr. Charles and Amy Wilson
Duchess Club of Ocean Springs
East Central High School
Eight D Enterprises, Inc. – DBA McDonald’s
Family Dental Care
Fifteen D Enterprise, Inc. DBA McDonald’s
First Chemical Corporation
Foster’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.
Friendship Civic Club of Ocean Springs
Gayle T. Roberts
Hacienda San Miguel
Hargrove Engineers + Constructors
Hayden and Sandy Dent
Heidelberg Steinberger, P.A.
Home Town Lumber & Supply, Inc.
Jackson County AARP Chapter 1213
Jackson County Board of Supervisors
Jackson County Commercial Properties, LLC
Jackson County Utility Authority
Jana Wamsley Memorial Scholarship in memory of Jana Wamsley
Jerry and Joann St. Pe’
Jerry Lee’s Grocery No. 1
Junior Auxiliary of Pascagoula-Moss Point
Keesler Federal Credit Union
Lee Tracy / Accent Foot Fashions OS, LLC in memory of Kyle Todd
Merchants & Marine Bank
Mike and Bettie Concannon in memory of Melinda Mitchell
Mississippi Export Railroad Company
Mississippi Eye Associates
Moss Point Rotary Club
Nine D Enterprises, Inc. DBA McDonalds
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.
Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce
Omega Protein, Inc.
Paige Roberts in honor of Jim, Anita, & Kaya Brooks
Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association
Propeller Club of Pascagoula
Retired Education Personnel of Jackson County
Robert and Vivian Barr in memory of Patsie Meyer & Claire Kershaw
Rotary Club of Pascagoula
Sarah and William Finnicum
Singing River Electric Cooperative
St. Martin High School
Tuesday Night Bridge Club
United Way of Jackson & George Counties in memory of Jim Brooks
VT Halter Marine, Inc.
Zonta Club of Pascagoula
The Mississippi Arts Commission has awarded a $14,440 project grant to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College fine arts instructors Sandra Cassibry, Brandon Ring, Aaron Mann and Britney Patten for the Arts-in-Motion collaborative project. Project partners include MGCCC’s Perkinston Campus Fine Arts Department, Perkinston Elementary, Stone County Arts Council and The Yellow Brick Project. The grant is provided in part through the National Endowment for the Arts.
Project goals include strengthening MGCCC’s art-based programs, specifically music, through the partnership and programming with local artists; to enhance and utilize local art resources, such as The Community Arts Center, MGCCC Fine Arts Department, the Yellow Brick Project and The Arts Trail more effectively; and to demonstrate the importance and involve students (elementary school, college and community) in a quality arts programming with local artists.
“Presently, Perkinston Elementary School does not offer music or arts classes,” said Sandra Cassibry, visual arts instructor at MGCCC’s Perkinston Campus. “They do not have a certified arts specialist in their school. These students are our future artists and patrons. Without instruction, how can they appreciate or value the importance of art and artists?”
Cassibry said that a discussion between school administration and the college’s Fine Arts Department started several months ago, leading to the grant proposal. “The solution to the school’s problem is really just a block away,” she said. “MGCCC, the Stone County Arts Council (SCAC) and Community Arts Center are located within walking distance of the elementary school. MGCCC has a strong fine arts program, and SCAC has received state/national recognition for visual arts through The Mural Project, storytelling with The Telling Trees and arts integration with the “A to Z” children’s books. There have been various successful visual arts and theatre/storytelling projects implemented in the community. Now, we would like to expand our community art program offerings to include music instruction and expand the resources already available to school children.”
Brandon Ring, Fine Arts Department chair and music instructor at the Perkinston Campus, said the funding will allow them to expand the arts programming and offer music lessons in the Community Arts Center. Additionally, the Arts Trail will provide safe access to the college and the Community Arts Center and provide a space for outdoor lessons, events and/or performances for students at Perkinston Elementary. The Perkinston Campus Fine Arts Auditorium will also provide for larger performances at the end of fall and spring semesters. “Our hope is that these performances will help generate donations and revenue that would help sustain future artists-in-residency programs, scholarships and arts programming,” he said. “Funding would also be utilized to help with cost of music, art supplies, materials, costumes, travel, professional development and advertising of events. Purchases of items in local businesses would help promote a creative culture and economy.”
Ring added that arts are an essential part of education and the community. “This project will help our community create an awareness of the arts, strengthen arts partnerships, emphasize the importance of music and utilize our resources more effectively,” he said. “It will showcase our future artists, the importance of arts education and our existing community arts assets. We hope that one day we will be recognized as an arts destination, an epicenter of arts celebrating this place that we call home.”
We have new dates for the Jackson County Industrial Trade Show! Right now, we’re looking at October 5th and 6th. October 5th would be setup and crawfish boil, October 6thwould be the ribbon cutting and the trade show. We will still be at the Jackson County Civic Center. This email is going to a list of people who have either been vendors in the past, were registered for this year, or are prospective vendors. So, those who were already registered will keep your spots. If any of you who were registered cannot make this date then we will open up your spots for others. So please respond to this email with your plans. If you weren’t registered and are now able to or are now interested, indicate that as well and we will try to work with you.