President MAMA; Director of Program Management PACCAR
Lex Lemmers is Executive at PACCAR and as Director of Program Management responsible for Business development and Engine Program Management at PACCAR Engine Company, a division of PACCAR Inc. He joined the company in 1996 at PACCAR’s European division DAF Trucks in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Mr. Lemmers progressed through increasingly responsible positions to become plant manager for the DAF Engine Plant in Eindhoven and in 2007 Plant manager responsible for build and startup of the PACCAR Engine Company in Columbus MS.
Before joining PACCAR, Mr. Lemmers was the Quality director for Fokker Aerospace in the Netherlands. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Manager Manufacturing Engineering for Fokker Aircraft.
Born in 1960 in Haarlem, the Netherlands, Mr. Lemmers was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering at the University of Alkmaar (the Netherlands). He earned his master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the Warwick University (the United Kingdom).
Mr. Lemmers joined the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association (MAMA) as Board member in 2013 and was elected President of this association in 2017. In his role of President of MAMA he also serves on the board of the regional Southern Automotive Manufacturers Alliance (SAMA) since 2018 currently in the role of President. In addition, Mr. Lemmers joined the Mississippi Manufactures Association as Board member in 2015.
Mr. Lemmers, his wife, and two of their three children reside in Columbus, Mississippi.
Vice President MAMA; vice president manufacturing Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant
Erik Fields is vice president, Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant, Nissan North America, Inc., a position to which he was appointed in June 2019. In this role, Fields is responsible for the operation of Nissan's vehicle assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, including safety, quality, operations, productivity and environmental compliance.
Previously, Fields was director, Production Operations Maintenance, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant.
Fields has served in various roles of increasing responsibility at the Canton plant, including manufacturing program manager and director of engineering.
Prior to joining Nissan in 2007, Fields worked for six years in new model development at Honda of America Manufacturing in South Carolina and Ohio.
Fields holds an MBA from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor's in industrial engineering from Ohio University. He serves as vice president of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association (MAMA).
Treasurer MAMA; Senior Executive Vice President, BankPlus
Gene Delcomyn is the Senior Executive Vice President of BankPlus. Gene has worked at BankPlus for 20 years and has been in the banking and finance industry for over 40 years. A native of Forest, Gene attended the University of Mississippi and graduated from East Central Community College. He has also attended a number of banking schools including Vanderbilt and Northwestern. In the community, he serves as treasurer of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association, as past chairman of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi, and as a member on several boards including the Wilson Research Foundation, Mississippi Home Corp, Barnett Reservoir Foundation, and the Salvation Army.
Secretary MAMA; Associate Director for External Operations, The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME)
Ryan serves as the Associate Director for External Relations for the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) at the University of Mississippi.
Ryan has ten years of experience in manufacturing based education at the college level. His primary responsibilities surround interfacing with members of industry, government, manufacturing based non-governmental organizations, as well as economic development agencies from around the region. He oversees the recruiting of undergraduate students for the CME academic program and assists the CME in its K-12 manufacturing education outreach. He serves as the Secretary for the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturing Association, serves as a member of the Manufacturing Foresight Education and Workforce Working Group partnering with other universities and colleges, and represents the CME on the Education Council for the Manufacturing Institute in Washington DC. He was recently named to Governor Bryant’s Mississippi Defense Industry Task Force as a technical advisor. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Oxford/Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce from 2016 to 2017 and is an adjunct faculty member of the School of Business Administration where he teaches business law. He recently participated in the Leadership Mississippi, leadership development program. Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in International Studies from The University of Mississippi and the Croft Institute for International Studies as well as his law degree from the University of Mississippi.
Executive Director, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS)
Dr. Clay Walden serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) and is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering within the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. Dr. Walden is a nationally recognized leader in engineering engagement and economic development having received awards from the U.S. Department of Commerce, University Economic Development Association, and the Southern Growth Policy Board. Under his leadership, the CAVS has provided direct technical assistance to over 150 companies within the state. These companies have, in turn, reported over $5.9 billion dollars in economic impact and 3,300 jobs either created or saved. He has trained and consulted with over hundred companies across a wide range of industries in the area of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing.
In addition, Walden has been an invited speaker at international, national, and regional conferences including – Computer Assisted Engineering Forum (Tokyo), Southern Automotive Conference , Southeastern Conference Symposium on Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, White House Rural Forum on Innovation and Economic Development, and the White House Rural Forum on Economic Drivers in Rural America.
Walden has authored papers in the areas of technology management, manufacturing, and quality engineering. He holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State University.
Vice President of Administration, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi
Emily K. Lauder was named vice president of administration at Toyota Mississippi in June 2018. The manufacturing facility, located in Blue Springs, produces the Corolla, Toyota’s highest volume selling vehicle in the world. In this role, Lauder is responsible for all areas of administration including human resources, general affairs, safety, environmental, accounting/finance, and production control.
Prior to joining Toyota Mississippi, Emily was the general manager for human resources strategic partnering-manufacturing at Toyota Motor North America in Plano, TX. During her 18-year tenure with Toyota, Emily has served in many capacities including assistant manager and specialist in the accounting and finance department at Toyota West Virginia, and manager of human resources, accounting and finance at Toyota Alabama.
Prior to joining Toyota, Emily held positions as a financial analyst with AEI Resources in Ashland, Kentucky, and multiple accounting and finance positions with Square D Company in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee.
Emily currently serves on the boards of the Community Development Foundation in Tupelo, Mississippi and the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturing Association. During her time at Toyota Alabama she served on the Huntsville/Madison Co. Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and as the Chamber’s Vice Chair for the Workforce and Education Committee, and on the board of directors for Huntsville/Madison Schools Foundation. She is a past President of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum(SAWF) and remains an active member of the SAWF Board.
Emily received a BBA in Finance from Ohio University (Athens, OH) and an MBA in Decision Sciences from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). She and her family live in Tupelo, MS.
Shareholder, Copeland, Cook, Taylor, & Bush
Greg Copeland is the senior founding shareholder at the law firm of Copeland, Cook, Taylor and Bush, P.A. Formed in 1985, the firm currently has over seventy lawyers located in offices in Ridgeland, Biloxi, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Since 1975, Greg has actively handled business matters and litigation in the state and federal trial and appellate courts in Mississippi and other states. His clients have included the State of Mississippi, corporations, insurance companies, various state insurance departments, manufacturers, banks, municipalities, utilities, trade groups, individuals, and civic organizations. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Law. Greg and his wife Dalene reside in Madison, Mississippi.
Assistant Manager, General Affairs, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi
Kevin Burgess was named assistant manager of Human Resources at Toyota Manufacturing, Mississippi in October 2012. Toyota Mississippi produces the Corolla, Toyota’s highest volume selling vehicle in the world. In his role, Burgess is responsible for administrative success including the overall direction, coordination and evaluation of internal communication, business planning and training & development.
Burgess brings 20 years of human resource, strategic planning and project management experience to Toyota Mississippi. Burgess joined Toyota in 2002 as team member relations specialist at Toyota Alabama, Toyota’s first greenfield start-up engine assembly and machining plant. Since that time, he has taken on several roles and initiatives including staffing mobilization at Toyota Texas during the launch of the Tacoma pick-up line.
Prior to joining Toyota, Kevin worked at Mercedes Benz U.S. International in Vance, Alabama. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science, human services and human resources along with a double minor in human resources and leadership from Troy University. Burgess currently serves as a board member for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.
Kevin and his wife, Casey, have two children, Branly-Gray and Drayton. They reside in Tupelo, Miss., where they are members of First Baptist Church.
Executive Director State Workforce Investment Board, Education Policy Advisor Office of Governor Phil Bryant
Dr. Laurie Smith is the Executive Director of the State Workforce Investment Board for Mississippi. For the past seven years she has served as Senior Policy Advisor in Education and Workforce Development to Governor Phil Bryant and Executive Director. Under Governor Bryant’s leadership, Dr. Smith has led numerous legislative efforts to help improve public education in Mississippi. The passage of the Education Works agenda including The Literacy Based Promotion Act, the first funding of Early Childhood Education in Mississippi, Charter Schools, The Special Needs Education Scholarship Account, and an A-F rating system for school districts have all resulted in improved outcomes for students. Dr. Smith testified before the Congressional House Committee on Education and Workforce on strengthening welfare to work polices. Dr. Smith has a Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Mississippi State University, a M.Ed. from Western New Mexico University, and a B.A. from the University of Arizona.
Co-Owner, HOPKINS Advantage, Co-Owner, HOPKINS Construction & Maintenance
Marty Hopkins is the founder and co-owner of Hopkins Construction & Maintenance and Hopkins Advantage. After graduating from McNairy Central High School in 1980, he spent over 30 years in the automotive industry. Marty founded his construction company in 2006 and then formed a second business several years later, servicing the automotive industry and providing facility support services throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Marty joined the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturing Association and served as their Vice-President from 2016 to 2018. Marty and his wife Kelly live in Madison, Mississippi.
Chief Economic Development Officer, Mississippi Development Authority
Mickey has recently been promoted to the position of Chief Economic Development Officer for the Mississippi Development Authority. Before this position, Mickey was the Deputy Director of Economic Development. His responsibilities include supervising the division that recruits new and expanding industry to the state of Mississippi. Prior to this assignment, he served as Director of the Existing Industry and Business Division for several years. He has approximately 20 years of service with the state of Mississippi and prior to this, he worked for 28½ years for BellSouth and AT&T in various management assignments before retiring. Prior to joining the Mississippi Development Authority, he worked briefly for Laws Construction as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Since being in state government, Mickey has served under four different governors; Governors Fordice, Musgrove, Barbour and Bryant.
Mickey is an active member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council and is a Past President of the organization. He is also a member of the Southern Economic Development Council and the Business Retention and Expansion Organization. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Foreign Trade Zone, the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, the Mississippi World Trade Center, the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association and the Senior Advisory Board to the School of Business at Mississippi State University. He has received numerous awards including being named Clinton’s Outstanding Citizen, WLBT Television Spirit of Mississippi Award, Goodwill Industries Volunteer Activist Award and National Telecom Award for Most Innovative Public/Private Partnership for Distance Learning. He is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Jackson and a two time Paul Harris Fellow. He also a veteran and served six years in the Mississippi Army National Guard and Reserves.
President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi
Sean Suggs was named president at Toyota Mississippi in January 2018. Suggs is responsible for all manufacturing and administration functions of Toyota’s Blue Springs plant that produces the Corolla, Toyota’s highest volume selling vehicle in the world.
Prior to his promotion to president, Suggs served as vice president of manufacturing from 2016 to 2017 and vice president of administration from 2014 to 2016 at the Mississippi vehicle assembly plant.
Suggs’ automotive career began in 1998 at Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Ind. where he was hired as a Team Leader. During his 10-year tenure, he served several roles and was named general manager of quality planning in 2008. In this leadership role, Suggs oversaw professional development, vehicle quality and manufacturing quality for current and new model production.
Prior to rejoining Toyota in 2014, Suggs served as director of strategy, administration and human resources from 2011 to 2013 at Nissan’s North American headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. During his five years with Nissan, he also directed production quality at the company’s manufacturing and assembly plant in Canton, Miss. Additionally, Sean is a military veteran, having served in the United States Army for eight years.
In addition to helping shape Toyota Mississippi’s future, Suggs is also building on the advancement of the Toyota Way in the community through personal service. Suggs was appointed by Mississippi House Speaker Phillip Gunn to the state Board of Education, a nine-member board responsible for setting state education policies and standards, in 2017; he also serves on the Mississippi Economic Council’s executive committee; and serves as a board member for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. Suggs also supports several other nonprofit and economic development boards in Northeast Mississippi.
Suggs earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Auburn University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Oakland City College in Oakland City, Ind. in 2000.
Sean and his wife, Janet, reside in Saltillo, Miss., which places him close to his six children and their families.
Senior Business Development Manager, Entergy Mississippi
With more than 15 years of economic development experience, Taurus Wright serves as Entergy Mississippi’s senior business development manager. He is responsible for generating new leads and managing large projects and business-related opportunities for Entergy Mississippi. Taurus serves on the Mississippi Economic Development Council Board, the Transatlantic Business and Investment Council, and the Delta Strong Board.
Taurus has a Community And Area Planning Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Taurus also graduated from the Economic Development Institute from the University of Oklahoma.
Taurus worked at the Mississippi Development Authority as a Senior Project Manager responsible for recruiting business and industry to state of Mississippi from 2001-2004.
Since 2004, Taurus has worked with Entergy MS as a Senior Project Manager and Senior Business Development Manager. Taurus has been responsible for leading several economic development projects that located in the state of Mississippi.
Taurus is married to Keesha Wright and they live in Madison, MS and have one child Autumn.
president, laurel machine & foundry co.
Trent A. Mulloy, 47, is a native of Laurel, MS, and is the fourth generation of his family to work at Laurel Machine & Foundry Company, which was founded in 1904. He currently serves as President of LM&F. He was a founding Board Member of The FirstBanc Shares Inc, holding company of The First, A National Banking Association, which now has $3.06 Billion in total assets and is the 6th largest bank in Mississippi. He is also a current member of the Laurel Advisory Board of The First, A National Banking Association.
Mr. Mulloy is a member of the following professional societies: the Mississippi Economic Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, and The American Foundrymen’s Society, where he has served as the 1st Vice Chair of the Mid-South Chapter. He was elected to the Board of The Mississippi Manufacturer’s Association in 2003 and re-elected to a 2nd term in 2006, and a 3rd term in 2010. In 2011 he was elected to serve on the Executive Board for MMA and served as Chairman.
In 2004, he was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to the Mississippi State Work Force Investment Board and has served on the Momentum WIRED Steering Committee. Trent Mulloy is currently a Board Member of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturer’s Association, being elected in 2006. Trent was also recently elected to serve on the Board of BIPEC and was appointed in 2015 to serve on the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Also in 2015, He was assigned to serve on the board for the Mississippi sector of The Nature Conservancy.
Lt. Phil Bryant appointed Trent Mulloy to the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee for the State of Mississippi in 2013. He has served as a District Committee Member of the Boy Scouts of America for the Pine Burr Area Council. Trent Mulloy has also recently served as a Board Member for the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD) and He was elected to the board of the Jones County Economic Development Authority in 2011 and currently is a Director of The Eastman Memorial Foundation (Lauren Rogers Museum of Art). Mr. Mulloy is also a member of the One Hundred Club of Jones County and a past Board Member.
Mr. Mulloy graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He attends, and is a past Junior Warden, of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Laurel, Mississippi. He is married to Elizabeth Mulloy of Winston-Salem, NC (Sewanee, ’94) and they have two children: Sloan Mulloy (16) and Henry Mulloy (13).