Class Notes


James Teaford (B.S. forestry, ’72) has published “10 Square Chains: An Ecological Potpourri of Nature Notes,” a thought-provoking e-book about nature and its mysteries.

Taylor Machine WorksLouisville-based Taylor Machine Works was chosen to represent Mississippi at the White House’s Made in America event in Washington, D.C. One of its “Taylor Big Red” high capacity lift trucks was displayed on the South Lawn with other products produced in the United States. The company was founded in 1927 by W.A. Taylor Sr. and continued to thrive under the leadership of his son, W.A. “Bill” Taylor Jr., who attended MSU. It is now led by its third generation of Taylors including CEO William A. “Lex” Taylor III (B.S. general business, ’77) and president and chief operations officer Robert D. Taylor (B.S. business administration, ’90). Photo: Michael Cravens, Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Spencer Pope, TMW Sales Engineer, Robert Taylor, TMW Chief Operating Officer, and Donnie Woodruff, TMW Director of Sales, standing in front of the forklift displayed on South Lawn of the White House.

Ron AllenMarcus MalloryJim McAlexanderLuke YeatmanBankFirst Financial Services’ board of directors approved new titles for four Mississippi State alumni. Madison-based Ron Allen (B.S. agricultural economics, ’77) is now executive vice president, chief credit officer. Based at the company’s Columbus headquarters, Marcus Mallory (B.S. banking and finance, ’89) is now executive vice president, chief banking officer; Jim McAlexander (B.S. finance, ’80) is now executive vice president, chief retail and operations officer; and Luke Yeatman (B.S. accounting, ’07) is now chief financial officer.



Mark W. Gibson (B.S. forestry, ’81; M.S. forest ecology, ’85) is a forester, national resources manager and base environmental department director with the Navy in Pensacola, Florida. He retired from the Navy Reserve as a captain in 2015 after serving for 39 years, including two tours as a unit commanding officer and three senior staff tours at the Pentagon. L-R: Rep. Gregg Harper stands with Gibson congratulating him on his retirement from the Navy.

Terry Abel (B.S. nuclear engineering, ’82; M.S. mechanical engineering, ’83) was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest honor the agency presents to non-government individuals. This award recognizes his work as the education chair for the Huntsville National Space Club, which has reached more than 34,000 students through almost $464,000 in scholarships.

John Scott (B.S. accounting, ’82) has been elected to the board of directors of HORNE LLP, an accounting firm based in Starkville.

Teresa Palacios Smith (B.A. communication, ’83) is now vice president for diversity and inclusion at HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates the real estate brokerage franchise networks of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Real Living Real Estate and Prudential Real Estate.

Dr. BurckelDr. Adrian
Mississippi State alumni now hold the top two executive positions at McNeese State University in Louisiana. Daryl Burckel (Ph.D. accounting, ’86) was named the president of the university in July, while Mitchell Adrian (Ph.D. management, ’96) provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management. In addition to their shared Bulldog lineage, both are also McNeese state alumni.

Editor and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat Jim Prince (B.B.A. general business administration, ’87) received the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence, the state’s highest editorial writing award, from the Mississippi Press Association. His winning entry “Change of venue injustice” criticizes a judge’s decision to grant a change of venue for three former county employees accused in an overtime scandal.

Doug Wert (B.B.A. marketing/pro-golf, ’89) was named PGA Junior League regional manager for the Mid-Atlantic, tristate and western New York sections of PGA of America. He is director of gold at Cider Ridge Golf Club in Oxford, Alabama.



Bobby Waldrup (B.S., M.S. professional accountancy, ’90, ’92) was named associate dean for academics at Loyola University’s Sellinger School of Business. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education and expertise in forensic accounting and financial fraud, he is a professor of accounting and former chair of the department of accounting

Cindy Simpson (B.S. interior design, ’96) has been named to the board of directors for Gensler, the world’s largest architectural design firm. With more than 15 years of experience with the company, she serves as principal and co-managing director of its Dallas, Texas, office and was recognized as one of the 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Dallas and Fort Worth for 2017.

Tim Basel (B.B.A. marketing, ’98) was named Professional of the Year by the Gulf States PGA. He is the head golf professional at Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison.



Drew Mattox (B.S. accounting, ’02) was named a partner at EKS&H, the largest, nationally recognized Colorado-based audit, tax, technology and business-consulting firm. With 12 years of public accounting experience, he co-leads the organization’s automotive niche.

Greg Bufkin (B.B.A. ’02) and his wife, Andrea, have founded El Roi Ministries to help meet the needs of the families of individuals in treatment for addiction.

Sheena Reeves (B.S., Ph.D. chemical engineering, ’06, ’11) was named part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers “35 under 35 list,” which recognizes the accomplishments of young professionals from a range of chemical engineering specialties. She is a professor at Jackson State University.

Lauren Black (B.S. marketing, business information systems, ’07; MBA, ’08) was named to the inaugural Forbes list of “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors.” She is a certified financial planner at Philips Financial and a financial adviser with Raymond James Financial Services of Starkville.

Richard Rhett (B.S. mechanical engineering, ’08) and Juli Rhett appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a show that strives to connect entrepreneurs with investors. Founders of Sierra Madre Research, the couple appeared on the show with the company’s innovative hammock tents and earned a deal from Richard Branson, who agreed to give them $175,000 for 15 percent of the company.



Eight Mississippi State alumni received the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship, valued at $30,000 per year for medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. They are Richton native Leah Burch (B.S. medical technology, ’12), Lily Fran McCrory (B.S. biological sciences, ’17) of Lexington, Jenni Kate Miles (B.S. biological sciences, ’17) of Kosciusko, Jordan Jackson (B.S. biochemistry, ’17) of Wheeler, Hannah Whitlock (B.S. biological sciences, ’17) of Pontotoc, Haley Hobart (B.S. biochemistry, ’17) of Hollandale; Jaslyn Langford (B.S. biological sciences, ’17) of Calhoun City, and Haley Jenkins (B.S. microbiology, ’17) of Starkville.

Aaron Ferguson (B.S. geosciences, ’14) earned the prestigious Milken Educator Award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize, for excellence as a science and business teacher in the Academy of Business at Oxnard’s Pacifica High School in California. He is the second Mississippi State graduate to receive this honor in recent years.

Linda Merry (B.S. geosciences, ’16) participated in Miami University’s Earth Expeditions Louisville-in Belize during which she studied coral reefs, manatees, howler monkeys, jaguars and other wildlife while learning about sustainable communities in the country. She is a technical assistant at Berkshire Community College of Massachusetts.



Elizabeth “Libby” Blades Bailey, Sept. 25, 2017, to Elisha Blades Bailey (’07) and Matt Bailey of Jackson.

Tatum Grace Berkery, Sept. 18, 2017, to Thomas Berkery (’06) and Jana Berkery (‘05) of Starkville.

Lyla Joyce Sanford, August 16, 2017, to Janna Sanford (’10 ’16) and Sean Sanford (’11) of Starkville, MS.