At the September 11th meeting of the Southern Rail Commission, four new commissioners and new officers were instated.
Ashley Edwards is the Executive Director of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission which operates The Port Bienville Shortline Railroad, Port Bienville Industrial Complex, Stennis International Airport, and the Economic Development Authority for Hancock County. Previously, Ashley served as Executive Director of Governor Phil Bryant’s Office of Recovery, where he was responsible for overseeing the closeout of Mississippi’s Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Ashley also served as Deputy Director of Governor Haley Barbour’s Office of Recovery and Renewal, where he was a member of the team responsible for coordinating the State of Mississippi’s long-term recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
Jack Norris is President of the Gulf Coast Business Council – a regional private, non-profit corporation. The Business Council engages top business executives to be the united voice on public policy issues and projects important to the economic vitality of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Previously, Jack served in the office of Governor Haley Barbour as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal, coordinating Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts for the Governor’s Office. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Jack served on the staff of former Senator Trent Lott in Washington DC.
Patrick Sullivan is President of the Mississippi Energy Institute, a private, non-profit business created to support research and energy policy to foster economic growth in Mississippi. Prior to his work at the Mississippi Energy Institute, Patrick served both as Policy Advisor and as Executive Director of Recovery and Renewal for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Serving as Policy Advisor to the Governor since 2006, he had oversight of issues pertaining to energy, transportation, environment, agriculture, natural resources, and economic development. In July 2010, he was named Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Renewal, which is the primary entity responsible for coordinating disaster assistance, overseeing state-level response and assistance for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the April 2011 tornado disasters, and the 2011 Mississippi River flood.
Blake Wilson is the Mississippi Governor’s Designee. Wilson is President & CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, serving as only the third executive of the State Chamber of Commerce in over 60 years. He came to MEC in 1998 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce where he served as Executive Vice President directing membership, marketing, government affairs and grassroots legislative activities. Previously, Blake was Executive Director of Associated Builders & Contractors' in his native Delaware and prior to that, spent nearly 10 years with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. Before entering the association business, he spent nine years as a newspaper editor and reporter.