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MS Automotive Manufacturers Association chief steps down

After a surprising move by Ken Barlow to step down as president and CEO of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association (MAMA), MAMA’s basic mission is still intact, but there’s still work to do before the organization moves “aggressively into the future.”

Those were the words of Dr. Ray Grubbs, chairman of the MAMA executive committee and professor of management at Millsaps College.

“We still have the intent to be supportive of the automotive manufacturers of the state,” Grubbs said. “The people who are still on the board are still firmly committed to providing this forum to facilitate business, the interest and the contribution of the automotive industry to the State of Mississippi.”

Barlow, founder of the MAMA and president of the Jackson-based DelKen Group, a human resource consulting firm, said his reason for stepping down as president and CEO of MAMA was because the demands in his life were just too great.

“It was just too much to balance the DelKen Group with the association,” Barlow said. So after about 14 months as president and CEO of MAMA, Barlow left his post as president of the association. This way, Barlow says, someone who has more time for the association will be able to push it forward into its second year.

Grubbs said as of now there are no specific plans for MAMA, and that it could take as long as 90 days or more to find a replacement for Barlow.

“We’ll proceed deliberately,” Grubbs said. “We’re going to make sure Nissan and our membership are pleased with the choice. There’s no need to make hurried decisions.”

In the meantime, however, MAMA will continue to meet regularly and has plans to add a significant number of board members to the association. MAMA currently has four board members — Cecil Harper, a Jackson CPA, Patrick Hopkins with the Marsh Insurance Group in Nashville, Andrew Davis with the Dana Corporation, and Grubbs.

And as for Barlow, he plans to continue working with MAMA to help ensure continued growth.

“I would hope that Ken would remain on the board,” Grubbs said. “After all, he had the original vision to put this organization together.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.


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