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Glenn McCullough

Mississippian Glenn McCullough Jr. gets nod as new MDA chief

Glenn McCullough / Photo by Thomas Wells from DJOURNAL.COM

Glenn McCullough / Photo by Thomas Wells from DJOURNAL.COM

By TED CARTER

An executive search that never left Mississippi has led to the appointment of Glenn L. McCullough Jr., former mayor of Tupelo and chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority board, as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

Speaking to luncheon guests at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual meeting, Gov. Phil Bryant said he kept the search within the state to prevent the top MDA job from becoming a revolving door. The last two directors – Brent Christensen, who was brought in from Florida, and Gray Swoope, whom Mississippi hired from Arkansas – left within a few years of taking the post.

Bryant wanted a Mississippian and after considering a half-dozen in-state candidates, he selected  McCullough, an economic development pro Bryant believes will stay put.

“He’s not looking for the next big thing,” Bryant said of the 60-year-old McCullough, whom Bryant said achieved record levels of capital growth and investment while the TVA, a federally run electrical co-op that serves Mississippi and six other states and works to foster economic development within the Tennessee Valley region.

» READ MORE: In a story on April 16 the MBJ reported that McCullough had already been offered the job.

McCullough will receive the same salary as Christensen, who will depart as MDA chief on June 1 to head the Greensboro Partnership in North Carolina. Christensen received about $180,000 from the state, a sum that fits within a state-mandated cap, and about $50,000 in additional salary from private sector contributions.

In brief remarks after his introduction at the MEC luncheon, McCullough said he is honored by the opportunity to work with a talented team at the MDA that “is moving on up.”

In a press statement issued just ahead of Thursday’s announcement, McCullough pledged to help “ratchet up the success the state is already experiencing.”

Mississippi has tremendous resources — “from our workforce and our training programs to our partnerships with regional and local economic developers and our higher education network,” he said.

“I look forward to showcasing these strengths to local companies and international corporations.”

McCullough’s appointment was reported in an April 16 Mississippi Business Journal story. Sources had told the MBJ that McCullough had accepted an offer from Bryant.

In Thursday’s press statement, Bryant said McCullough “shares my passion for economic development, and he has a proven record of achieving results.

“He can build a consensus and get things done. We have great momentum in Mississippi, and Glenn will take that success to the next level.”

McCullough is chairman and CEO of  GLM Associates LLC and a partner in Ardillo, McCullough and Taggart LLC. Both are Tupelo business consulting firms.

He will step down from the Mississippi College Board, according to Bryant, who said a search for McCullough’s replacement will begin right away.

President Bill Clinton named McCullough to the TVA board in 1999. President George W. Bush named him chairman of the board, a position he held from July 2001 to May 2005.

The Tupelo resident and Mississippi State alum won election as mayor of the northeast Mississippi city in 1997 and served in that capacity until he joined the TVA board two years later.

He lost in a Republican runoff in 2008 for the U.S. House of Representatives’ 1st Congressional District.

Blake A. Wilson, president of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state’s chamber of commerce, called McCullough “an excellent choice to position Mississippi for the next generation of economic development success, building on the strong base that has already been established over the last three years.”

Wilson said he thinks McCullough can “focus the MDA’s marketing programs with laser precision” and deploy resources wisely to boost workforce development, existing business and industry expansion and tourism.

McCullough holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University. He and wife Laura have two sons and one granddaughter and are members of Lee Acres Church of Christ.

 

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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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