Message from the Dean

Bob WoodThe Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council welcomed twelve new members at its spring meeting in February. The Council provides strategic guidance for the College and serves as an advocate for the College with internal and external constituents.  In existence for over thirty years, the group has recently begun efforts to be more involved in the direction of the College and increase membership across the region.  The Council is chaired by Janet Hayes, COO and CMO of Leavell Investment Management in Mobile; the Vice-Chair is Edward “Bubba” O’Gwynne III, Market President for BB&T in Mobile. 

New members joining the Council include:

  • Celia Mann Baehr is the President and CEO of the Mobile Symphony. Baehr is a MCOB alum (MBA) and is a Certified Financial Planner.
  • Wiley Blankenship serves as President and CEO of Coastal Alabama Partnership, an organization focused on identifying, prioritizing and addressing regional challenges and opportunities.
  • Joe Denton is the Chief Financial Officer of Infirmary Health System in Mobile. Another USA alum, he is a CPA and has over thirty years in the healthcare industry.   
  • Jay Dorris is President and CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality, which owns casino and hotel properties across the southeast. The organization is strongly committed to support of local charitable causes. 
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Freeman is President of Long’s Human Resource Services. She is a second-generation member of the Council.  Her father, Tom Damson, was a founding member of the council.      
  • Al Hutchison serves as President and CEO of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. A recent transplant from Virginia, Mr. Hutchison and the CVB are key external constituents of the Mitchell College.
  • Andy Newton is President and CEO of Southern Light of Mobile. The company is a leading provider of fiber optic cable in the Southeast.
  • David Padgett is President of Davison Fuels & Oils in Mobile. The company is one of the largest distributors of fuel and lubricants in the Southeast and provides technical expertise and products to service the automotive, commercial, and industrial and other specialty markets.
  • Rhett Ross serves as President and CEO of Continental Motors Group, Ltd. Continental Motors, Inc. is a recognized world leader in the development of aviation products; their engines power over half of general aviation aircraft in use around the world. 
  • Tim Shearer is Managing Director of PwC Advisory Services in Atlanta. He has extensive consulting experience in the United States and Europe.
  • Frank Southall is Vice President and Controller and Principal Accounting Officer of Ruby Tuesday in Maryville Tennessee. A USA alum, he was a senior manager with Ernst & Young.
  • Bill Stejskal, a Mitchell College of Business alum, serves as the Senior Vice President Human Resources at SMS Holdings in Nashville. Before joining SMS Holdings, Bill worked in human resources and logistics management for Kroger.

These new members join a dedicated group of current members some of which have served the Council and College since its inception.  Our current members include Alan Alexander (Helmsing Leach Attorneys at Law), Alexis Atkins (Budweiser Busch), Gavin Bender (Bender Real Estate Group), Tom Corcoran (Fort Dodge Animal Health (ret.)), Tom Damson (Long’s Human Resource Services (ret.)), Gilbert Dukes, III (Coale, Dukes, Kirkpatrick, & Crowley), Lori Harper (Ingalls Shipbuilding), Cedrick Hatcher (The PNC Financial Services Group), Donald Keeler (Austal), Alan Ladd (Thomas Batré), Russell Ladd, III (Thomas Batré (ret.)), Jim Lauder (Global Index Advisors), Bruce McCrory (Kiker Corporation), Chris Melton (The White Oak Group), Abraham Mitchell (Mitchell Brothers), Melissa Morrissette (LLB&B), Vaughn Morrissette (ret.), Bill Sisson (Mobile Chamber of Commerce), Tim Smith (Smith, Dukes & Buckalew), and David Trent (Airbus).


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