PASCAGOULA -- Paul "Brad" Bradford, Jackson County district manager for Mississippi Power Co., was named incoming chairman for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Thursday during the chamber's annual membership luncheon.
More than 350 members attended the meeting.
Bradford will replace outgoing chairman A. Kelly Sessoms III, who ceremoniously passed the gavel to the new chairman during the luncheon at the Hilton Gardens in Pascagoula.
"It has been an honor for me to have served this year as chairman," Sessoms said. "Your chamber has accomplished quite a bit for Jackson County."
Bradford is a graduate of Delta State University and a registered environmental manager and he began his career with Mississippi Power in 1983.
He said his vision for the coming year includes supporting the chambers's issue management groups.
"I cannot tell you how proud I am to work with five of the best issue management groups chairpersons in our state," he said. "Their plans for the coming year are nothing less than remarkable. The Membership Issue Management Group plans to expand the 'Coffee with the Chamber' programs, held bimonthly, to include new, perspective and current chamber members. They will also publish new chamber information rack cards to be distributed at city halls, county offices and other areas so that new and startup businesses will have access to the information. My vision is the vision of the volunteers."
Pat Drescher, owner of McDonald's Drescher Organization, was the winner of the chamber's biggest award, the Jolly P. McCarty Award of Excellence in Leadership.
Drescher, along with her husband, Bill, opened the first McDonald's in Gautier in 1980.
The Drescher's started a scholarship program for students in all five Jackson County Schools.
"Pat has been a friend of the Jackson County Chamber for more than 25 years," chamber executive committee CEO and president Carla Todd said. "She has chaired this program for the last 25 years and she has turned it into something wonderful."
Jill Compton, marketing and public relations director for Compton and Son Appliance and Outdoor Living Center, was selected by the chamber as its 2015 Ambassador of the Year.