Finalists for the 2018 Daily Journal Top 40 Under 40 have been announced. The honorees will be recognized and the winner will be selected during a ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 25. This year's event sponsor is BankPlus.
Below are this year's finalists:
Paul Mize – A commercial lender and first vice president with BankPlus in Tupelo, Mize administers a large commercial loan portfolio and managing general operating functions in his area of the bank. Selected by Mississippi Business Journal as one of Mississippi’s Top 40 Under 40 business professionals in 2012, a graduate of MEC’s Leadership Mississippi in 2016. Active at First United Methodist Church, Mississippi Methodist Senior Services, Traceway Retirement Community, Boy Scouts of America, United Way Kiwanis and several other organizations.
Molly Lovorn is director of programs and membership for CDF where she organizes and orchestrates all aspects of CDF events. She also works with members network to help their business grow. Active with Tupelo Lee Humane Society, NEWMS, United Way Groundswell Board, Doniphan Dance Project Board, FUMC Flower Guild, ACCE Chamber, Early Childhood Education PTA 2017- Advisory committee), Joyner PTA, Joyner Elementary Advisory Council and Tupelo Young Professional/Toyota YP.
Lindsay Brett –She was 2018 administrator of the year for Lee County Schools, NAACP Jack Reed Sr. Racial Relations Award winner (2018), Create Teacher of Distinction (2011), Teacher of the Year at Tupelo Middle (2007, 2010), multiple grant recipient (Toyota, AEE, EXPECT, Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi University for Women), Inspirational Teacher Award, and multiple Innovation in the Classroom awards. Keynote speaker at national leadership conferences. Youth minister for 10 years among many other volunteer activities.
Lynsey Vanstory – Executive assistant to Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton, Vanstory serves on the Homeless Task Force, Mayor’s Outreach Task Force, was appointed to the Regional Rehab Center Board and is a member of the BNI- Lee County Chapter. She was Appointed by Judge Jacqueline Mask to sit on one of six steering committees throughout the Mississippi for the Families First Initiative. She also volunteers in numerous events within the city.
Michael Monroe moved from Jackson, Mississippi to Tupelo six years ago and is a dentist at Main Street Dentistry, with specialities in treating children and performing oral surgeries and root canals. He is a volunteer at the Tree of Life Free Clinic. A member of the American Dental Association and the Mississippi Dental Association, he also is a board member, along with his wife, of Regional Rehab.
Jon Bramlett – As corporate human resource manager, Bramlett oversees all human resource-related functions for JESCO Inc. and JESCO Maintenance Corp. He was a Top 50 Under 40 Business Leaders 2018 by the Mississippi Business Journal. He's the governmental affairs director for NEMSHA, serves on the District Workforce Council at ICC, and is imovled with several other organizations including CDF and Lee County Schools.
Kim Dill is an account executive with Tellesouth Communications/Supertalk Mississippi Power 101. She has helped raise more than $315,000 for Palmer Home for Children during the annual radiothon this year, and she's also helped raise more than $20,000 for Sanctuary Hospice. Also active in Kiwanis Club, Regional Rehab, Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi, Lee County Chapter of Mississippi State Alumni Association and American Red Cross and Create Foundation.
Hannah Maharrey has many years experience with nonprofit organization and community coordination and collaboration. She coordinated the Homelessness Prevention and Outreach program for the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and Families First For Mississippi. She was a Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Mongolia from 2009-11. Serves on city's Homeless Task Force and active with Red Cross, Tupelo-Lee County Hunger Coalition, United Way and many other organizations.
Grant Meyer – The director of community planning for the Community Development Foundation, Meyer coordinates the Lee County Council of Governments, plans and coordinates development of Lee County’s four primary industrial parks and serves as a planning consultant to nine municipalities. A member of Natchez Trace Parkway Association, Tupelo Kiwanis Club, Mississippi Economic Development Council, Tupelo Young Professionals, Faith Haven and several other groups and organizations.
Jesse Bandre – A computer engineer, Bandre is director of North Mississippi operations for Exceed Technologies. A graduate of the Jim Ingram Community Leadership Institute in 2015, CDF Ambassador of the year 2013-14, Rotarian of the year 2016-17, President of the year for Rotary District 6800 2015-16 and a five-time Paul Harris Fellow as well as 2018 Dance like the stars contestant. Also active with United Way, Tupelo Downtown Main Street Association and many other organizations.
Elizabeth Gable is owner of Endville Bakery and Catering. As director/franchisee of the National League of Junior Cotillions, she teaches 5-8th grade students manners, etiquette and ballroom dance. She was a Top 40 under 40 finalist in 2017 and an Influential Women Nominee 2016 and 2017. She's involved in several organizations including Tupelo Women's Club, Regional Rehab, Tupelo Lee Humane Society and others.
Claude Clayton is owner/manager of Core Cycle & Outdoors. He is Pro National Champion Jet-Ski Racer. Deeply involved in the community. For one example, last December he and two other small business owners in Tupelo, loaded up two truck loads of winter coats and toys. They rode around giving coats to homeless, handed out gift cards from some local restaurants and then dropped off toys at the North Mississippi Birthing project.
Josh West is CEO and co-founder of Blue Delta Jean Co., an apparel design and manufacturing group specializing in custom jeans based in Tupelo. He and his wife, Jill, have taught Sunday school at First Baptist Church for the past six years. West serves on the CDF board and the Union County Airport Authority. He is a former economic developer with Three River Planning and Development District.
Stewart Rutledge is a real estate developer in Oxford. Rutledge has been awarded national honors for several of his residential communities. He is a licensed attorney with practical experience including construction law, real property, intellectual property, municipal planning and health care. Rutledge has served as in-house counsel for the largest home healthcare provider in the state, served on the Secretary of State's Business Laws Study Group and on state and federal juvenile justice committees.
Robin McKinney is the communications director for United Way of Northeast Mississippi, McKinney manages its marketing advertising, web, social media, print materials, publicity, special events. She is co-founder of Groundswell, a United Way Young Leaders organization, focused on community service, learning opportunities and networking for young adults in Northeast Mississippi. She's also co-founder of Volunteer Northeast Mississippi.
Hunter Aycock is director of business development at the Community Development Foundation. He specializes in the planning, organizing, monitoring, managing, and evaluating of economic development project activities. Aycock is a graduate of the TVA Rural Leadership Institute and Valley Workforce Institute. He is Vice President of Young and Emerging Leaders with MEDC and was a Top 40 Under 40 finalist last year.
Tyler Camp is the special assistant to the president of Itawamba Community College, where he's also been the director of development and community relations specialist. A top 10 finalist for Top 40 Under 40 last year, the Mantachie native is active in several community organizations and events.
Nina Strother is director of communications for Itawamba Community College, leading a department that oversees marketing, public relations, media relations, sports information, graphic design, photography, videography, social media content creation, copywriting and event planning for community engagement activities. She was Influential Women nominee in 2018 and has won numerous awards for her PR work.
Jon Riley is plant manager for Hyster-Yale in Sulligent, Alabama, where the facility designs, engineers, manufactures, sells and services a comprehensive line of lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally. A mechanical engineer, Riley also involved with workforce development, team building and public speaking.
Derek Markley – The executive director of the University of Mississippi campuses in Tupelo and Booneville, Markley also is assistant professor of leadership and counselor education. He's a volunteer youth soccer coach and is active in several organizations including CDF and CREATE.
Carol Ann Padgett is controller at the Community Development Foundation, where she serves as a financial adviser to the organization. She's also responsible for administering human resource functions at CDF. Active in several nonprofit organizations, including treasurer of Sanctuary Hospice Junior Auxiliary.
Adam Gore is sports information director, covering and promoting 10 sports at Itawamba Community College. He's also director of media relations for ICC. Gore also is the voice of ICC athletics and is a radio personality for Mississippi Radio Group's Miss 98.
Blakley Young – The digital sales manager for WTVA, Young manages 11 account executives. She was named one of the Top 50 Leading Businesswomen in Mississippi from the Mississippi Business Journal and was a Top 40 Under 40 nominee in 2017.
Justin Brock is senior vice president of Brock and Credille Insurance, owner of JC Brock LLC and chairman of Medicare Coach. LLC. He runs Brock and Credille's sales and marketing and trains more than 900 Medicare insurance specialists nationwide. A U.S. Marine for eight years before returning to the family business, Brock received two Naval Achievement Medals, the Board of Governors of the Marine Corps Association Exceptional Marksmanship Award, three Good Conduct Medals and multiple Meritorious Masts while in the Marine Corps.
Tiffany Stone: A universal banker for BankPlus, Stone opens checking accounts, does teller transactions and consumer loans, manages a branch, etc. She has more than a decade of banking experience. She was Mrs. Mississippi 2017, and is active with Catch Kids, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Boy and Girls Club. She's participated in numerous community events as well.
Lindsey Hines is Saltillo Main Street Director, a position she's had for three years. A self-described advocate for the city, she works with city leaders and plans events that enhance the quality of life in Saltillo. Active in the Saltillo Jr. Women's Club and Saltillo Events Committee among other organizations, Hines hopes to begin a Main Street program for juniors and seniors to help educate them on the importance of being involved with their hometown.
Chasity Jernigan is a fitness influencer, body positive motivator and fitness and fashion blogger whose Goa is to "encourage other plus-size women to embrace fitness and work out because they love their body not because they hate their body." She is active in the community and also serves alongside her husband of 13 years in pastoring.
Daniel Mejia has been pastor at Soma campus for The Orchard for six years and also is the founder of Liga de Futbol en Tupelo, a soccer league for adults in Tupelo. He is national coordinator and founder for Fundacion Ecuatoriana Elohim and active in several organizations in his native Ecuador. He is a Tree of Life interpreter and a King's Castle evangelizer in Ecuador, as well as a Book of Hope interpreter for several teams.
Anthony Golding is principal of Houlka Attendance Center, a school of 500 students. He taught at Tupelo Middle School for four years before being named to the post in July 2017. The was named three times as a Tupelo Public Schools Teacher of Distinction. He also is a recipient of a Pi Kappa Phi Top Thirty Under 30 Alumnus Award for distinguished achievement in the field of education.
Bill Dickerson is a relationship officer with Renasant Bank. Deeply involved with the Community Development Foundation, Dickerson is a CDF ambassador, a member the the Tupelo Young Professionals and a participant in the CDF's annual Reach campaign. He's served with the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters and is also a Rotary Club member and on the board of Keep Tupelo Beautiful.
Belle Naugher is executive director of the Gumtree Museum of Art and the Gumtree Festival. This is the third year she's been nominated for Top 40 under 40. She's a founding member of Tupelo Rocks and the "Off the Wall" downtown mural projects. Volunteers in several organizations, including the Link Centre, Keep Tupelo, Downtown Tupelo Ain Street Association, Tupelo Arts Council and others.
Albine Bennett is director of communications for the CREATE Foundation, where she also is the coordinator of the annual Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo. She is involved in several community nonprofit organizations and volunteers for many other groups. She is a Top 40 under 40 finalist for the second consecutive year, and she was a finalist for the Influential Women Awards.
Sadie Smith – A Realtor at Tommy Morgan Inc. Realtors, Smith was a multi-million-dollar producer from 2015-17. She was named 2015 Rookie of the Year. A member of several organizations including several Realtors' groups; BNI - Lee County, Tupelo Young Professionals, Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic Tupelo Junior Garden Club, CDF and Hope Church Youth and Children’s Ministries. Also has participated with Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Club, Eight Days of Hope and Tupelo Junior Auxiliary, among others.
Tommy Abney is the vice president of employee benefits for Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, where he oversees corporate employee benefits counseling and sales. He was a Jim Ingram Community Leadership Institute 2015 graduate. Activities include Down on Main Summer Concert Series, Tupelo Community Forward Festival, The Orchard Church and Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
Prudence Hatchett is a behavioral specialist/counselor, and is responsible for creating, building and maintaining a behavior program for the Special Education Department and Alternative Program for Pontotoc County School District. She created, built and maintains the online behavior training system for the school district. In 2018, she had her first book published with Amazon titled, “Behavior is Not a Destination, It’s a Process.”
Steven Blaylock is executive director of philanthropy for North Mississippi Health Services, focusing on implementing key philanthropic activities to support 24 counties in North Mississippi. NMHS Employee Recognition Award winner (2007 and 2010), CDF Jim Ingram Leadership Institute graduate, Leadership Mississippi graduate. Volunteer work includes Autism Center of North Mississippi, Brewer United Methodist Church, CDF, Families First of Mississippi & Family Resource Center, Regional Rehab.
Roxie Clayton is owner of Vow Fitness, artistic director of Doniphan Dance Project, adjunct faculty of dance at University of Mississippi and dance teacher at North MS Dance Centre. Teaches dance, choreography and composition to students as young as 3 to college-age students. While living in Washington, D.C., her choreography was commissioned at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Was named one of the Influential Women in North Mississippi. Also active with Boys and Girls Club, Junior Auxiliary of Tupelo and teaching artist at surrounding public schools.
Ty Lambert is chief data analytics officer for Bancorpsouth, overseeing the company’s data analytics operations across its nine-state footprint. He is a published author and contributor to RMAJournal, a nationally distributed risk management magazine for banking professionals. Appointed adviser for American Banker 2014-2015 and currently serves as an appointed advisor for the Center for Financial Professionals. Active with First Baptist Church of Tupelo and has worked with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Shipman Sloan – A landscape architect working with a wide range of project types from high end residential to commercial, recreational and municipal work, Sloan started his own firm in January 2017. Among his projects in which he was involved are the Main Street Enhancement Project, Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Wall replica, Ballard Park Sports Fields additions, Gumtree Park, Aquatic Center and Fairpark Plaza. Active with several organizations including Boys & Girls Club, CDF, Downtown Main Street Association, Boy Scouts and others.