JACKSON After serving as interim director of the Mississippi Development Authority since last May, John Rounsaville has been elevated to executive director of the state economic development agency.

Gov. Tate Reeves made the announcement Tuesday.

“He’s done an exceptional job in his interim capacity,” Reeves said. “He’s earned the respect of Mississippi businesses across the state, because they know he’s pulling for them. And he’s helped us win in the competition for jobs and expansions.”

MDA employs about 300 people.

Rounsaville replaces Tupelo native Glenn McCullough Jr., who was MDA director under former Gov. Phil Bryant from 2015 through January of last year.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work together as we make a positive impact on the state we love,” Rounsaville said in a statement.

“In 2020, our economic development team brought in more than $1.6 billion in new capital investment to the state, 45% more than the prior year – during a global pandemic,” Rounsaville said. “And, keep in mind, that number is not skewed upward by winning a large megaproject. We achieved that number with base hits, not a home run. But, the year was indeed a home run for our state.”

Rounsaville has served in various capacities for state and national leaders, including Rep. Charles W. “Chip” Pickering, former Gov. Haley Barbour and Presidents George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump.

Rounsaville from 1998 to 2003 served as Rep. Pickering’s Deputy Chief of Staff, then joined Barbour’s office as policy advisor from 2004 to 2006. He was then appointed by President Bush as state director for USDA Rural Development from 2006 to 2008. He was vice president of Strategic Services for Waggoner Engineering Inc., from 2008 to 2017.

“Heading into 2021, we’re not letting our foot off the gas,” Rounsaville said. “We’re building a strong future for our children and grandchildren to raise families and find good jobs here in their home state. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside each of you.”

Rounsaville holds various distinctions for his military service, including the Air Force Meritorious Service, Commendation, and Achievement Medals; the Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon; and the Mississippi War Medal. He also currently serves as a JAG and major at the 186th in the Mississippi Air Force National Guard.

He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s and master’s, as well as a Juris Doctor from University of Mississippi.

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