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Governor Reeves announces new...

Governor Reeves announces new leadership at MDA

By: Frank Corder - December 14, 2023

Bill Cork will lead the Mississippi Development Authority as Executive Director. Laura Hipp Mayer, who had been serving as the Interim Executive Director at MDA, has moved to the Institutions of Higher Learning.

Governor Tate Reeves announced on Thursday that William “Bill” Cork was taking the reins at the Mississippi Development Authority, after serving at the state agency as the Deputy Director and Chief Economic Development Officer since 2020.

Cork will serve as Executive Director/Chief Economic Development Officer for MDA.

Reeves also announced that P.J. Waldrop will serve as Chief Operations Officer and Steven McDevitt as Chief Investment Officer.

“Mississippi achieved record breaking levels of economic development in recent years, and we have no plans to slow down anytime soon,” said Governor Reeves. “We are committed to expanding our economy, driving further growth, raising wages, and bringing in more jobs for the people of Mississippi. This team will be key to accomplishing that mission, and I have the utmost confidence in them.”

Prior to serving at MDA, a release from the Governor’s office notes that Cork’s 30-year economic and industrial development career included roles as the CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, the CEO of the Texarkana, Texas Regional Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of TexAmericas Center, New Boston TX and owner of his own consulting and real estate companies. Cork also led sales operations for Sempra Energy Solutions and ICF Consulting after working on military base redevelopment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratories throughout the 1990’s. 

Waldrop has served as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Military Affairs since the office’s creation in 2021 while McDevitt has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Finance at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) since 2020.

Cork replaces Interim Executive Director Laura Hipp Mayer. Since 2021, Mayer led MDA having been appointed by Reeves following the resignation of John Rounsaville.

Laura Hipp

Mayer has moved on to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, taking a position as the Assistant Commissioner for External Relations. In the role, Mayer will provide strategic leadership in government relations and communications on behalf of the IHL Board of Trustees. She will also serve as the legislative liaison for the university system and supervise communications efforts.

“Laura has been an incredible asset to Mississippi,” said Governor Reeves of Mayer. “During her tenure, we’ve brought in a record amount of new private capital investment to the state. Her work has helped to bring more jobs and more businesses to Mississippi. I’m incredibly thankful for her service to the state and wish her all the best as she steps into this new role.”

During her time at MDA, Mayer oversaw more than $7 billion in new corporate investments in Mississippi and a record $7 billion in tourism spending for 2022. She also represented the state domestically and internationally, including at the Southeastern United States–Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) alliance, the Southeast U.S./Japan Association, and industry trade shows.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: frank@magnoliatribune.com