After years of volunteering his time with professional and community organizations on the state and local level, Jobie Melton, CPA, was recently selected as the 2003 winner of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) Public Service Award.
“I got started in public service simply because somebody asked me to,” said Melton, a shareholder in Horne CPA Group, where he is director of the financial institution practice, audit engagement shareholder, and independence compliance shareholder. “It also goes back to my upbringing, where my parents taught me that part of my responsibility as a citizen is to give back to the community. It’s almost an in-born obligation.”
A native of Clarksdale, Melton moved to Natchez when he was three. At the age of 14, the family moved to Tupelo. After earning degrees in statistics/data processing and accounting from Mississippi State University (MSU), Melton spent 16 years working as a CPA in Louisiana, including at Arthur Andersen, before relocating to Jackson.
“I started out majoring in math because I was good at it, but it turned out that I wasn’t as good as I thought, so I ended up changing majors to an information systems-type of curriculum. It required a lot of accounting courses and it turned out that I was really good at it. There was a core of really great teachers at MSU that the folks in my generation still talk about.”
One of Melton’s accounting professors, Bill Simmons, owned an accounting firm in Starkville that he operated after hours and on weekends. Melton, who worked part-time for Starkville Janitorial Service cleaning offices after hours, remembered late night chats with Simmons.
“He would work late and talk to me about my career plans and public accounting as I cleaned his office,” said Melton. “At the same time, I was interviewing for computer jobs and wasn’t finding opportunities as exciting as accounting, so I made the decision, with his help, to stay an extra semester and get the hours I needed to become a public accountant.”
Since then, Melton has served on the board, as chairman of the audit committee and executive committee member of the MSU Foundation, and on the MSU School of Accountancy advisory board as a board member and president. He was named MSU Beta Alpha Psi Alumnus of the Year in 1995.
“Jobie has helped so many students decide their career path and hired as many of them as he could when he was with Arthur Andersen,” said Dora Herring, retired director of the MSU accounting program and former MSCPA president. “He was always willing to come to talk to them or teach a class for us and promote MSU in any way he could.”
Melton and Herring also worked together through MSCPA, where he was president and served as treasurer, vice president and on the board of governors. He has chaired the legislation committee numerous times and has provided testimony on behalf of legislative initiatives by the society. He also currently serves as chairman of the education foundation trustees, and supervised the society’s 75th-anniversary celebration in 1995.
“Jobie was always generous with his time to support and advance the accounting profession in Mississippi with his work there, both as an officer and on the board of directors and helping legislators draft and promote passage of laws, which has helped the profession,” she said.
“Some people just have the class to exude morality, honesty, ethics and confidence to others, and he is certainly one of those.”
Melton has also been active in the Andrew Jackson Council of Boy Scouts of America, serving as vice president in 1988 and treasurer since 1989. An assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 8 at First Baptist Church in Jackson, and treasurer since 1988, Melton received the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award. Melton, who has served as a merit badge counselor, has worked with the troop’s “bear” patrol and has led groups to Philmont Scout Ranch; Ely, Minnesota Canoe Base; and Florida Sea Base.
“I’ve tried to be involved in things I have some interest in and not just be helter-skelter, because we all have opportunities to do more than we do,” said Melton, whose two sons, 10 years apart, have been active in the Boy Scout troop. “As long as I’m able, I’ll always have some involvement with the Boy Scouts.”
A board member of Junior Achievement of Mississippi since 1987, Melton served as vice president of finance in 1992 and chairman in 1993 and has received Junior Achievement Bronze and Silver Leadership Awards. He was also chairman of the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 1994, served as vice president and president of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Association and board member of the Magnolia Speech School and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
At First Baptist Church, Melton is a Sunday school teacher, sanctuary choir member, deacon, finance committee chairman and has been vice chairman and then chairman of the deacons.
Mississippi Business Journal publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA, who has known Melton for many years, said he’s never heard a bad word about him.
“It’s our national pastime to gossip, so when you find someone who has enjoyed a high-profile career and hasn’t been the subject of the gossip mill, it speaks well of that person,” he said. “The Horne CPA Group is one of the largest non-national firms in the country and they have some really talented people there. Jobie fits well with that crowd.”
Tommy E. Butler, shareholder in charge of the Jackson office of Horne CPA Group, said Melton “exemplifies what it means to be a CPA through his commitment to public service.”
“He always is the first to step up when he sees a need, whether it is in support of the youth through his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America or his church and profession through the many committees he serves on,” he said. “We are proud of Jobie and fortunate to have him as a part of Horne CPA Group.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at email@example.com.