Thursday, December 14, 2023

MDA Gets New Leadership

Lord Protector Tate Reeves issued the following statement.

Governor Reeves today announced a series of new appointments at the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Governor Reeves appointed William “Bill” Cork as Executive Director/Chief Economic Development Officer, PJ Waldrop as Chief Operations Officer, and Steven McDevitt as Chief Investment Officer.

“Mississippi achieved record breaking levels of economic development in recent years, and we have no plans to slow down anytime soon,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We are committed to expanding our economy, driving further growth, raising wages, and bringing in more jobs for the people of Mississippi. This team will be key to accomplishing that mission, and I have the utmost confidence in them.”

Bill Cork has been the MDA Deputy Director and Chief Economic Development Officer since 2020. In this role he led the teams responsible for Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Recruiting, International Trade, Small and Minority Business, Entrepreneurship, Community Services Support and Aspire Program, Research, and the State Energy Office.

Prior to serving at MDA, Cork's 30-year economic and industrial development career included roles as the CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, the CEO of the Texarkana, Texas Regional Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of TexAmericas Center, New Boston TX and owner of his own consulting and real estate companies. Cork also led sales operations for Sempra Energy Solutions and ICF Consulting after working on military base redevelopment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratories throughout the 1990's.

Cork earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, with a concentration in economic development and fiscal packaging, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wife of 39 years, Nina, have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

“Serving as part of a record setting and nationally recognized economic development organization over the last three and a half years is already a career highlight,” said Bill Cork. “The invitation to lead this amazing group of professionals, as part of Governor Tate Reeves’ leadership team, is truly humbling. I look forward to serving the great state of Mississippi in this new role and building upon the amazing momentum we are achieving together.”

Paul Jerrod “PJ” Waldrop has served as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Military Affairs since the office’s creation in 2021. In this role he assisted Governor Tate Reeves with the creation of the Defense Communities Development Council and has led efforts to attract new defense missions to the state as well as strengthen the existing defense missions. He worked with the Defense Community Development Council, the Installation Commander’s Council, the Mississippi National Guard, and the Mississippi Congressional Delegation on a variety of projects to support our defense economy.

Previously, Waldrop spent 15 years working as a staffer in the United States Senate advising three different senators, including Senator Thad Cochran. During his time in the Senate, he served as a Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing legislative and operations staff. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Delta State University and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. Waldrop currently lives in Brandon, Mississippi with his wife Rebecca and son Ryland.

Steven McDevitt has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Finance at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) since 2020. In this role he has overseen the agency’s accounting, budget, human resources, purchasing, property and information technology operations. He has also been responsible for the Office of Public Safety Planning which issues grants to local governments throughout the state of Mississippi.

Prior to joining DPS, McDevitt worked 12 years in state government. During that time, he served in multiple financial positions, including Deputy Director and Bond Advisory Director for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration. McDevitt is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Mississippi and holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi College. He currently lives in Madison with his wife Kristin and two children.


Anonymous said...

Bill Cork is a solid choice. Laura Hipp joined MDA as marketing head and stepped up to the role of director when her predecessor had to "resign." She did remarkable things for MDA and the state - history was made under her leadership - and she will continue to do great things for Mississippi at IHL. Bill Cork is an excellent appointment and will also continue to do great things for Mississippi as he carries the torch to bring new investments and jobs to Mississippi with the MDA team. No need to look nationally when great leadership is right here at home. Congrats to Bill and Laura as they step into their new roles.

Anonymous said...

A complete worthless agency that pounds their chest at their record # of poultry plants and sawmills

Anonymous said...

6:53am I see you are one of the haters. Please move to the Eden you think other states are so you can be mugged by reality. That is all.

Anonymous said...

MD - Another political patronage agency. Do they have conferences in Paris or just the redneck riviera?

Anonymous said...

lol @ 12:20. A loyal state employee

Anonymous said...

Indeed, this is just a political patronage 'agency'. As useless as MDWFP and 90% of the boards that suckle at the public teat.

Tate has found his niche and will hit full stride in January.

Anonymous said...

I'll kiss your grits if Anon @ 12:20 is not an employee of the agency.

Meanwhile - PERS

Anonymous said...

This coming from a state employee, it is a worthless agency, and they spend lots and lots of money. I am sure these 2 fine folks will do a good job of spending it. The only thing they really have to do is maintain the welcome centers and they do a crappy job of that.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea who 'maintains' our state welcome centers. They exist only on interstate highways, to my knowledge. As if you don't have to piss on 'state routes' going east-west and north-south.

There are several between Jackson and Memphis - I'm guessing four on each side of interstate 55. At any given time at least one and sometimes three of the four on either side have 'out of order' signs posted, often for a week or more.

Anonymous said...

Just what do the po’-ass rural little counties have to do to get in on some of this “record breaking levels of economic development in recent years”?

Anonymous said...

That's another top DPS executive who decided to leave. What's that #4?

Anonymous said...

@11:22 have a literate work force that wants to work and will actually show up for work.

Anonymous said...

MDA was Phil Bryant's travel agency.

Anonymous said...

@1:42 understands business 101. You are exactly correct.

Anonymous said...

@12:08......get your popcorn out. It is getting a little too hot in the kitchen at DPS HQ.

Anonymous said...

Someone has to ensure that there is sufficient tourist brochures and TP at the welcome centers. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Anonymous said...

@8:36 AM - Not too far off. But I left years ago when it was incredibly toxic with no real economic developers/leaders at MDA. Back in middle of McCullough days. It was a bad environment during that leadership and decisions he made with hiring were awful. Lots of people left jobs they liked and had been at for years. Will always support the agency and its work, could not stay with those in charge at the time. I think this will be a good decision for MDA. Bill Cork knows his stuff.

Anonymous said...

How many people in MDA actually worked in a large multi-national corporation outside MS to understand the investor perspective?

Anonymous said...

McDevitt is a lazy hack changes jobs every two years after doing nothing

Anonymous said...

It may be a name change, but there still won’t be any leadership there. If any agency needed some legislative oversight, it is MDA. The amount of taxpayer dollars that are laundered through that agency is insane.

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