Scott Waller has been named Interim President & CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council effective May 1, in preparation for the planned retirement of 19-year CEO Blake Wilson on June 16, after a 47-year career, 37 in association work.
A native of Shubuta and a graduate of Mississippi State University, Waller is in his 11th year on staff at MEC, serving most recently as executive vice president & COO, focusing specifically on driving MEC’s legislative agenda, targeting communications and generating grassroots outreach on behalf of the MEC membership. He pioneered MEC’s popular Legislative Scrambler program and played pivotal roles in managing various Blueprint Mississippi research projects, most recently MEC’s transportation infrastructure initiative. Prior to joining MEC, he was business editor of The Clarion-Ledger and spent a 20-year career in journalism, serving in staff positions in Greenville, Columbus, Jackson and Hilton Head, SC and as owner and publisher of the Madison County Journal.
Waller is respected among Chamber leaders in America, serving as vice chair of the Policy Center of the Council of State Chambers. He is a graduate of the four-year U.S. Chamber Institute for Organization Management, where he earned the professional designation – IOM – recognizing his development as a chamber leader, and serves on the board of regents of the U.S. Chamber Institute in Athens, GA, where he is a lecturer. He is also a member of the national board of regents of the U.S. Chamber Institute program.
An Eagle Scout, Waller is a member of the executive board of the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America and a former scout leader. He is active in both the Rotary Club of Jackson and St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Madison, where he lives with his wife, Kim, a Rankin public school teacher. Their son, Shane, also a Mississippi State graduate and Eagle Scout, is in post-graduate studies at George Washington University.
“Scott has both the experience and background needed at this time of transition to serve as Interim CEO of MEC, as the board and leadership of the organization focus a multi-month approach on determining the strategic direction that will best solidify the next 20 years for this important organization,” said Robin J. Robinson, 2016-17 chair of MEC and director of organization development and corporate relations at Sanderson Farms. “We are grateful for Blake Wilson’s contributions over these nearly two decades – and for his commitment to both building a strong team and providing them the professional staff development needed to be well-positioned to serve both our membership and the state in the years to come.”
“Blake Wilson came to Mississippi from Florida and Delaware, but truly embraced and celebrated the spirit that makes Mississippi great,” said William G. Yates, III, 2017-18 MEC chair and president and CEO of Yates Companies. “We appreciate his innovative programming and use of technology to grow our reach, but also his commitment to MEC’s legacy. It is with this legacy in mind that, working with Scott and the team, our board and leaders will focus in the coming months on our strategic direction for the future.”
“MEC plays a vital role in the public policy fabric of Mississippi,” said Wilson. “The organization’s accomplishments are directly attributable to the tremendous involvement and hard work of our volunteers since our founding in 1949 – and the innovative and unselfish contributions of my predecessors, Bob Pittman, who directed this organization for 33 years and MB Swayze, who was the founding director. It has been a privilege to be a part of MEC’s legacy in making a meaningful difference for Mississippi and to work with such a great group of volunteers and staff who are committed to assuring MEC’s positive contributions.”
“I am excited about the future of MEC, and I am honored to have an opportunity to play a role in helping shape it,” said Waller. “MEC is a vibrant organization that is squarely focused on the future but mindful of the vision established by our founders: the ‘voice of business,’ rooted in research, focused on policy rather than political endorsement and funded through our membership. I am looking forward to contributing to this legacy and to working with the thousands of volunteers who contribute so much to the future of our state.”
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