Chad Newell serves as President of the Area Development Partnership (ADP) in Hattiesburg, MS, a position he has held since December 2009. The ADP is the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization for Greater Hattiesburg, MS.
Chad has worked in the private, public, and private non-profit sectors for nearly three decades in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. He has led teams in facilitating projects that resulted in the investment of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs created across the Southeastern United States.
Chad is keenly focused on servanthood leadership, hiring right fit talent, and creating an intentional corporate culture that drives results. He serves on numerous boards and advisory councils and is an active leader at Venture Church in Hattiesburg.
Chad, a native Mississippian, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Mississippi State University and earned a Master’s degree in Economic Development from The University of Southern Mississippi. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for 28 years and have two sons, Garrett and Brooks, and one daughter, Jordan.
Todd JacksonExecutive Vice President, Economic Development & Chamber of Commerce
Todd spent the first ten years of his career as an Engineer in advanced manufacturing facilities around the country and is now utilizing that background to serve the Area Development Partnership as Executive Vice President, providing leadership to both the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Divisions. Much like the mission of the ADP, Todd’s focus every day is continually improving the quality of life in the region through economic progress. The ADP team is a group of talented hard-working professionals that work on a wide array of programs and projects to positively impact the community and Todd plays a vital role in that progress.
The first seven years of Todd’s career were spent in the engineering ranks of GE Plastics in New York, Indiana, and Alabama as a part of GE’s Operations Management and Leadership Program. This unique experience afforded him the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills in the manufacturing sector across many different advanced manufacturing facilities. In 2011, Todd had the privilege of moving back home and spent three years in engineering leadership roles with a new hi-tech startup company, which eventually introduced him to the field of economic development and the great work of the ADP.
A native of Poplarville, Mississippi, Todd is a 2004 graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, and since moving to Hattiesburg, has also developed a love for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. In 2013, Todd was honored by his Leadership Pine Belt Class with the Susan Walker Community Leadership Award for exemplifying outstanding leadership and commitment to the enhancement of Greater Hattiesburg. He is also a graduate of the 2018 Leadership Mississippi class. Outside of work, Todd serves as a Deacon at Crosspoint Community Church, and is very involved with the United Way of Southeast MS through his service as a volunteer, Board Member, and Chair of the Board in 2021. Todd and his wife, Jennifer, enjoy adventures with their two young boys Nolan (12) and Grant (8).
Gwen HicksChief Financial Officer
Gwen Hicks was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in 2022, after serving as the Finance Director for the Area Development Partnership since 2014. She oversees all financial and administrative functions of the ADP and related organizations, and reports to the board of directors. A native of Hattiesburg, Gwen is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, where she received her B.S.B.A. in accounting. She began her career with almost 10 years in banking, including employee benefits and special trust accounts administration. Gwen has 28 years of experience, both in profit and non-profit accounting. Gwen and her husband Ron, enjoy spending family time with their three grown sons, and have been blessed with three daughters-in-law and five precious grandchildren.
Chelsey EverettMarketing & Research Director, Economic Development
Chelsey was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2001 where she graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Public Relations and Marketing from The University of Southern Mississippi in May of 2013. After completing her undergraduate studies, Chelsey entered the Economic Development and Tourism Master’s program in Spring of 2014. Throughout her graduate career, Chelsey served as President of the Student Economic Development Association, Research Assistant to the Director of the Trent Lott National Center, and as an economic development intern for Stone County Economic Development Partnership. In Fall of 2014, Chelsey was selected as one of 12 graduate students elected into the first (annual) 2015 graduate student hall of fame for her capstone project on Adventure Tourism Impact Study in Covington County.
After graduating from the Master’s Program in 2014, Chelsey came onboard at the Area Development Partnership as Research Manager where she managed numerous research initiatives focused on job creation/retention, workforce development, and business recruitment for the Economic Development Team. Since her beginning at the ADP, Chelsey has now grown into a Research Director role and has recently been recognized for her achievements as one of Mississippi Business Journals Top 50 under 40 business leaders in the state for 2019. In 2017, the Southeastern Economic Development Council (SEDC) recognized Chelsey and the ADP Team for excellence in research and marketing, awarding them two top awards in the economic development marketing for the Southeastern United States.
When not at work, Chelsey is an avid reader, a master of power tools and woodworking, and a loving mom to her four-legged child (Keely). She is a proud member of CrossPoint Church, where she also serves as Media Director.
Jade SumrallProject Manager, Economic Development
Jade serves as the Project Manager for the Economic Development team where she is responsible for managing a variety of economic development projects including business recruitment, business retention and expansion, and site development.
Jade is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Master’s degree in Economic Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She also obtained a certificate in professional selling from USM.
Prior to joining the ADP, she worked as an Economic Research and Policy Analyst for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber where she conducted research to support workforce development, business development, education, and small business efforts.
During graduate school, Jade worked on a variety of economic development projects as a graduate assistant for USM’s Trent Lott National Center. She served as President of the Student Economic Development Association and sat on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the College of Business and Economic Development. Jade also completed a graduate fellowship at St. Tammany Corporation where she focused on land and site uses for business recruitment efforts.
Jade is from Ellisville, MS. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her labradoodle, Gus. She is an active member of West Ellisville Baptist Church.
Colby BennettCommunity Development Manager, Economic Development
Colby Bennett received her Master’s degree in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. Colby earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi with a major in Integrated Marketing Communication, a minor in Business Administration, and a Media Sales and Management specialization.
As a Graduate Research Assistant, Colby has worked on several projects related to economic development in Mississippi. These projects include an MS workforce funding alignment assessment, a market feasibility study for an Accelerator/Business Incubator in Jackson County, and updating The University of Southern Mississippi Economic Impact Study.
Colby’s economic development interest includes community revitalization, where strategies are created to generate jobs in underdeveloped regions. Her interests also include downtown revitalization and real estate planning. In a role as Community Development Manager, Colby can pursue these interests and assist in the economic growth of the greater Hattiesburg area.
Kaitlyn SmithCommunity Development Coordinator, Economic Development
Kaitlyn serves as the Community Development Coordinator for the Economic Development team, where she is responsible for aiding the Community Development Manager with all Education, Military, and Legislative efforts.
Kaitlyn is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During her pursuit of an undergraduate degree, she worked in various roles for the Southern Miss Athletics Department, including athletic marketing, football recruiting, administrative assisting, and donor relations.
Kaitlyn is also a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, TN, earning a Master’s degree in Sports Administration. During graduate school, Kaitlyn worked as an athletic marketing graduate assistant where she served as the lead game producer for Belmont volleyball and basketball games, where she took the lead on scriptwriting and enhancing their social media presence.
Before joining the ADP, she worked as an Administrative Support Specialist for the Southern Miss Athletics Department. She provided expert administrative assistance through the precise handling of day-to-day office needs and special projects.
Kaitlyn is a Hattiesburg, MS native. She is an active member of Temple Baptist Church and a Delta Gamma alumna. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new places with her husband, Dax Smith, and their two dogs, Winnie and Woods.
Vanessa HensonCommunications & Events Manager, Chamber of Commerce
Vanessa Henson serves as the Communications and Events Manager for the Area Development Partnership. She is responsible for the implementation of all Chamber marketing strategies, communications, and public relations activities along with overseeing the planning and coordination of the organization’s monthly and signature events. Vanessa is a native of Prentiss, MS and grew up in Hattiesburg. She attended the University of Southern Mississippi and received a B.A. in Communication. She began her career working with both national and local non-profits. Vanessa served as the Community Relations Director for Christian Services, Inc. where she designed and implemented all marketing and communications efforts. While there, she also managed, THRIVE a program that connected the undeserved population with access to pro bono legal counseling and financial education. Passionate about connecting people and resources, Vanessa values the opportunity to serve members through her time with the Chamber!
Stancey CollinsCommunications and Events Coordinator, Chamber of Commerce
Stancey Collins serves as the Communications and Events Coordinator as part of the Chamber of Commerce division at the Area Development Partnership. In this role, Stancey is responsible for coordinating logistics and executing all events for the organization as well as assisting in communication efforts. Stancey previously worked as a Marketing Associate for Jones Companies and YAK ACCESS. She received her B.S.B.A in Healthcare Marketing from The University of Southern Mississippi and was an active member of Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity where she served as the Public Relations Chair. She is from Columbia, MS.
Ann Scott MathisMembership Director, Chamber of Commerce
Ann Scott Mathis currently serves as Membership Director for the Area Development Partnership’s Chamber of Commerce division. She is responsible for all membership recruitment activities as well as maintaining relationships with existing members. As the Membership Director, she is dedicated to bring a better quality of life and build a better community for the Greater Hattiesburg area by uniting individuals and businesses. Ann Scott attended The University of Mississippi and received her B.P.S in Legal Studies and Political Science. Ann Scott began her career working as a Paralegal in the Hattiesburg area. She then changed career paths and became a Marketing Representative for Grace Healthcare, a medical equipment company. Ann Scott and her husband, John, live in Hattiesburg with their children Charley (13) and John Miles (2).
Jayce ChamblissInvestor Relations Manager, Chamber of Commerce
Jayce Chambliss currently serves as the Investor Relations Manager for the Area Development Partnership’s Chamber of Commerce division. Jayce is responsible for membership retention activities, increasing membership value and maintaining engagement amongst members and the business community of the Greater Hattiesburg Area. A native of Hattiesburg, Jayce attended Mississippi State University where she received her B.A. in Public Relations. During her time at MSU, Jayce was a member of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. After graduation, she accepted an internship at Walt Disney World, where she worked and took marketing and leadership courses in Orlando, FL. Although she loved living in Orlando, Jayce is very glad to have returned home with her friends and family in Hattiesburg.