The Sun Herald and the Journal of South Mississippi Business have chosen its Top Community Leaders and Top 10 Business Leaders Under 40

April 15, 2013 

The Sun Herald and the Journal of South Mississippi Business have chosen its Top Community Leaders and Top 10 Business Leaders Under 40 who will be added to the prestigious Roland Weeks Leadership Hall of Fame.

Top Community Leaders 2012

Lee Bond of Pascagoula is executive director of finance at Singing River Health Systems. He is a CPA and has strong technical financial experience coupled with a leadership record. He is also a fully licensed general contractor with extensive construction experience and history of quality construction and design performance. He owns and operates a regional general contracting firm, L.L. Bond & Company Inc., which specializes in site work and demolition. Bond graduated from the University of South Alabama with the highest honors of Summa Cum Laude. He has served on the board of directors of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Bacot-McCarty Charitable Foundation and the Audubon Society.

Kevin Coggin is the executive director of Coast Transit Authority. He began his career in 1977 as a diesel mechanic at Kennedy Engine Company and was named to his current CTA post in 2003. He is a volunteer member of the advisory board for the South Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is also a volunteer member of the board of directors of the South Mississippi Contract Procurement Center, which helps disadvantaged business enterprises gain access to government contracts.

Ed Day is president and CEO of Mississippi Power Co. In his 30-plus years with Southern Company, he worked in numerous areas such as nuclear, wholesale power marketing, engineering, procurement and construction. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and a master’s of business administration from Samford University. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program. He serves on the board of directors for INFINITY Science Center, Gulf Coast Business Council, Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, Mississippi Broadband Coalition, Mississippi Main Street Association Leadership Council and the Mississippi Nature Conservancy.

Henry N. Dick, III is senior partner and tax attorney with Page, Mannino, Peresich & McDermott, PLLC. Among his honors, Dick has achieved “AV Pre-eminent” peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was selected by “The Best Lawyers in America” for 2012 and 2013 in the areas of tax law and corporate law. His community outreach involvement includes former president and current board of directors member for Biloxi First, a nonprofit corporation that awards grants to teachers in Biloxi for innovative teaching projects; board attorney for the Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership; board attorney for the Greater Biloxi Economic Development Foundation; and board of directors for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Joe Farruggio is senior vice president of Gaming Operations for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi. Farruggio has more than 30 years experience in the gaming industry, starting as an original dealer at Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey’s first casino in 1978. In addition to his many professional memberships, he was a member of the executive leadership team of the American Heart Association 2012 Heart Walk Campaign; and is currently the board chair of the Biloxi Branch office and the South Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross. He also assists with the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, The Back Bay Mission and the United Way’s Day of Giving at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

Paul D. Guichet is vice present of The Peoples Bank. Prior to his current position, the 30-year banking and financial services veteran served in several executive positions with Hancock Bank and Hancock Holding Company. Among his membership and activities, Guichet is past chairman and current director and chair of the investment committee for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community foundation; current director of Leadership Gulf Coast Board of Trustees; director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber Foundation; member of the Gulf Coast Legislative Reception Committee; senior roundtable member of the National Investor Relations Institute.

Jay Huffstatler is South Mississippi chapter executive with the American Red Cross. After forming and working with long-term recovery committees after Hurricane Katrina, Huffstatler became director of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, directing Gov. Haley Barbour’s Mississippi Recovery Fund projects. A current member of the Gulfport Rotary Club, he is a graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast and has served as member of the Kiwanis Club of Pascagoula, Coast Young Professionals, Public Relations Association of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter and the Southeast Mississippi Home Builders Association. In 2009, he was selected for the Top 10 Business Leader Under 40. He is currently a board member of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce and treasurer of Climb Community Development Corporation. Among the many community groups on which he has served includes Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation, United Way of South Mississippi, United way for Jackson and George Counties and Young Men’s Business Club of Moss Point.

David Hughes is chief executive officer of Community Bank in D’Iberville. The 30-year banking executive has a long list of community organizations on which he has served. Among them include Go Coast 2020, Mississippi Coast Chamber of Commerce (on which he was on the steering committee for the chamber’s formation), Gulfport Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Homebuilders Association, Leadership Gulf Coast and Boys & Girls Club.

Eric Kravette, one of the founders of Coast Young Professionals, is Harrison County president at The First: A National Banking Association. He has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from William Carey University and began in the banking industry in 1995. He is the 2014 president elect for the Mississippi Coast Chamber of Commerce and is a current board member. He is past president of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce and current board member. He’s also board member of the American Red Cross and Greater Biloxi Economic Foundation and is president of Biloxi First (a teacher grant program in Biloxi).

Jack Norris is president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. He previously served as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal, coordinating Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Norris served on the staff of former Sen. Trent Lott in Washington D.C. as projects director and policy advisor. He was recently appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to serve on the Mississippi State Port Authority Board of Commissioners. He also serves on the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Board of Directors. Norris has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi.

Top 10 Business Leaders Under 40

Samantha Abell is the city of Gautier’s city manager/chief executive officer. Prior to her appointment in February 2012, she held the position of Gautier planning and economic development director since June 2010. Abell is a 13-year public administrator specializing in community redevelopment as a planning manager, economic developer, and special projects coordinator. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University in Atlanta with a B.S. in public administration and urban studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She holds a graduate certificate in economic development from Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of the Gautier Rotary Club, Gautier Pride Inc. and the Mississippi Economic Development Council.

Charles (Charlie) E. Beasley is state director of technology transfer with the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology Inc. He is designated a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council in 2012. He earned a bachelor of science in marketing from the University of South Alabama and a master of science in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the economic restructuring chair with Gulfport Main Street Association; co-chair of entrepreneurship with the Gulf Coast Business Council; serves on the Gulf Regional Planning Commission; and board member for Partners for Stennis and the Center of Higher Learning.

Emily Burke is senior marketing coordinator for Biloxi Regional Medical Center, but she has had an impact beyond her professional achievements. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and Leadership Gulf Coast, Burke has been active in community events and activities. Among them: The Biloxi Seafood Festival, Christmas in the City, Grillin’ on the Green and Cruisin’ the Coast. Other community outreaches include the Edgewater Rotary Children’s Health Fair, Biloxi Excel By 5 programs and events, American Heart Association Heart Walk and American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. In 2012, the city of Biloxi honored her as Community Volunteer of the Year.

Mary Sue Caranna is CEO of Monarch Construction and Developments and director of finance and accounting for PSL North America. In addition to being a successful financial executive with more than 14 years of experience in leadership, finance, sales and management, she has taken over many community leadership roles with Leadership Gulf Coast; Coast Young Professionals; Pathways to Successful Living; American Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Jessica M. Dupont is an associate attorney with Heidelberg, Steinberger, Colmer and Burrow, P.A. She was selected chair of the Women in the Profession committee of the Mississippi Bar and president-elect of the Mississippi Women Lawyer’s Association. She received her juris doctor from the University of Mississippi and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Mississippi State. Community activities include the Pascagoula-Moss Point Junior Auxiliary; EMERGE Pascagoula and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce; Toys for Tots; and American Heart Association.

Matthew Grice is supervisor of financial reporting for Mississippi Power Company. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s of accounting, both from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He’s been a CPA since 2002. Among his leadership roles, he has been chair of the board of directors for the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center; president-elect of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce; member of the board of directors for the Kiwanis Club of Gulfport; and is an active member and official with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport.

David Johnson is owner of Snaparazzi Photobooth Company, LLC. He was the 2013 winner of the Knot.com “Best of Weddings” award, presented to the best company in each category based on client satisfaction and is a two-time recipient of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce’s Business Spotlight of the Quarter. Johnson has held many executive positions and chairmanships with the Ocean Springs Rotary Club, the Greater Biloxi Economic Development Foundation, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Coast Young Professionals and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Jonathan Jones is senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Entertainment-Grand Biloxi. In that position, he led the Grand Biloxi team during 2012 to achieve top ranking in Caesars’ Total Service program and achieved Top 10 year-over-year improvement in Caesars Entertainment’s employee opinion (annual) survey. He earned his bachelor of business administration from the University of Mississippi and master of business administration from the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. He is a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council, the Mississippi Casino Operators Association, the United Way of South Mississippi, South Mississippi Humane Society and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

Amber Olsen is owner of Nextaff Gulf, a human resources company. She received her bachelor’s of arts in business management from the University of Montana. Olsen is president of Gulf Coast Human Resource Association; serves as Gulf Coast representative on Mississippi Society of Human Resource Management State Council; is board member of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce; founder and committee member of Women Entrepreneurs (now a program of the MS Gulf Coast Chamber); advisory board member of the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Domestic Violence’s Jackson County Shelter; and vice president of public relations for Ocean Springs Rotary Club.

Sean Tindell is an attorney/real estate broker with Tindell Law Firm, PLLC, Cameron Bell Properties Inc. He is also a member of the Mississippi State Senate, representing the 49th senatorial district. The former Biloxi city prosecutor, private attorney, assistant district attorney began working for Cameron Bell Properties in 2010 as a real estate broker and began Tindell Law Firm in 2012. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and his juris doctor from Mississippi College. He has served in various executive positions in several organizations including the Gulfport Business Club, the Ethics Committee for the MS Bar Association, Optimist Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation Board, Gulfport Main Street Association and the Kiwanis Club of Gulfport.

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