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, serving Forrest, Lamar, and Perry counties. Chad has worked in the private, public, and private non-profit sectors for more than two 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 locally and around the nation 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 26 years and have two sons, Garrett and Brooks, and one daughter, Jordan. Speaking Topics: CACTUS: 12 Steps to Prosperity, The Art of The Deal, Economic Updates, Leadership, Organizational Fundraising, Corporate Culture/Right Fit-Talent
Jan Delancey, CPAVice President, Finance & Administration
Jan Delancey has served as Vice President of Finance and Administration since 2012. Her responsibilities include financial and treasury management, risk management, human resource management and supervision of the administrative and IT functions of the ADP and its related organizations. A native of Laurel, Jan is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, where she received her B.S.B.A. in accounting prior to becoming licensed as a Certified Public Accountant. Jan’s career includes experience in public accounting and 25 years in industry and non-profit accounting, including The University of Southern Mississippi and the USM Foundation. Jan and her husband, James, have been married for 37 years and have two adult children and five grandchildren.
Gwen HicksFinance Director
Gwen Hicks has served as the Finance Director for the Area Development Partnership since 2014. She maintains the financial records and prepares reports for the staff and Board of the ADP and its related organizations. She oversees accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing, payroll, and other financial activities. 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 25 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 two daughter-in-laws and three precious grandchildren.
Dinah DillonOffice Assistant
Dinah Dillon is currently the Office Assistant for the Area Development Partnership (ADP) where she acts as the initial contact for prospective clients, members, and the general public and is responsible for providing administrative support to the entire ADP staff. Dinah attended The University of New Orleans where she majored in Business Administration. Most recently she served as an administrative assistant to the Chief Risk Officer of Risk Management for one of the largest banks in Memphis, TN, where her more than 30 years of experience allowed her to support senior level executives, attorneys, middle managers and their staff and other employees within the bank. She has been extensively trained in the following areas: customer service, conflict resolution, communication, diversity and sensitivity training.
Todd JacksonExecutive Vice President, Economic Development
Todd Jackson 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 of Economic Development. Todd’s focus in this role is to support the recruitment of new investment and jobs to Greater Hattiesburg and work with existing employers on their growth needs in the community. He is responsible for working with private sector businesses and local entities of government on economic development initiatives that support the growth of the Greater Hattiesburg economy. 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, as well as exposure to hands-on engineering practices in a variety of advanced manufacturing facilities. In 2011, Todd was afforded the privilege of moving back home and spent three years in technical leadership roles with a new hi-tech startup company. 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, thoroughly enjoys cheering on his hometown team, the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. He serves as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at Crosspoint Community Church and serves the church and local community as much as possible. In 2013, Todd was honored by his Leadership Pinebelt 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. Todd and his wife, Jennifer, enjoy family time with their two young boys Nolan (9) and Grant (5).
Markus SimmonsProject Manager, Economic Development
Markus Simmons serves as the Economic Development division’s Project Manager at the Area Development Partnership (ADP). In this role, Markus is responsible for business recruitment, retention and expansion, as well as development of available economic development sites for commercial and industrial use. He frequently serves as a liaison between business and local and state government, and a point of contact for business development inquiries. In addition to these duties, Markus serves on the boards of directors for the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and the Midtown Merchants Association.
A native of Petal, Markus attended The University of Mississippi and earned his B.B.A. in Marketing Communication in 2011. Markus began his career as a sales representative for New York Life Insurance Company and worked in housing administration at Southern Miss from 2013 to 2016 while earning his Master of Business Administration. Markus joined the ED Team in 2016 after completing his M.B.A., and plans to complete the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) program by October 2020.
Chelsey EverettResearch 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.
Stancey CollinsCommunity Development Coordinator
Stancey Collins serves as the Community Development Coordinator in the Economic Development division at the Area Development Partnership (ADP). In this role, Stancey is responsible for creating and leading efforts to help entrepreneurs, identifying grant funding opportunities, marketing and administrative duties of the SEMCIC loan program, and assisting in planning and executing educational initiatives and job fairs. 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.
Valencia Williamson, IOMExecutive Vice President
Valencia Williamson is Executive Vice President at Area Development Partnership (ADP) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where she oversees all aspects of the organization’s Chamber of Commerce Division to include membership recruitment/development, retention, marketing/ communications, events, retiree and physician recruitment, along with the ADP’s leadership and professional development programs. Before joining the ADP in 2010, Williamson served as Vice President at Walton Area Chamber of Commerce in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
A graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Williamson has 14 years in the Chamber of Commerce industry and retains an extensive background in organization management, membership development, program implementation, and strategic partnerships. Williamson has completed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management, the True South Economic Development course, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi where she’s pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Williamson serves on the Mississippi Economic Development Council Board of Directors and is actively involved in various organizations locally.
Williamson is an avid tennis enthusiast, and she spends much of her downtime curled up on the sofa with her pups (Jax and Roxy), and enjoying the company of family & friends who affectionately refer to her as “V.”
Niki TillsonCommunications and Events Manager
Niki Tillson currently 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. Niki is a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and grew up in Biloxi. She attended Mississippi State University and received a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She began her career as an intern for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc., which ultimately turned into a full-time position as their Communications and Marketing Specialist. She is excited to continue working for the Chamber of Commerce in Hattiesburg.
Vanessa HensonCommunications & Events Coordinator
Vanessa Henson serves as the Communications and Events Coordinator for the Area Development Partnership. She is responsible for executing all events and assisting in communication efforts. 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!
Ann Scott MilesMembership Director
Ann Scott Miles 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 lives in Hattiesburg with her Labrador Retriever, Caden.
Jayce HenryInvestor Relations Coordinator
Jayce Henry currently serves as the Investor Relations Coordinator 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.