Design, construction collaborative studio takes shape at MSU

October 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Design, construction collaborative studio takes shape at MSU

reviews 10162013_5_web

Watch the video by Leah Barbour where students and faculty discuss the challenges and rewards of collaboration.

By Leah Barbour | MSU Office of Public Affairs

Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design is offering a unique collaborative studio for architecture and building construction science majors.

“It’s the only one of its kind in the country,” said CAAD Dean Jim West. “The architecture students and the construction students are in the same studio with faculty from both groups team-teaching over two semesters.”

The university course offers a special learning opportunity, and collaboration is key to the students’ success, said Tom Leathem, BCS assistant professor.

While the nearly 50 students are working together in the classroom, they will construct two bus shelters for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Neshoba County. The shelters will be delivered to Philadelphia at the semester’s end.

“The students have to work together hand-in-hand the entire time,” Leathem said. “The architecture students are being challenged with learning and executing architecture practices, and the BCS students have to be conscious of the impacts that they could make on the design when they’re trying to execute their construction portion of the project.”

Architecture assistant professor Hans Herrmann said the course offers the perfect opportunity to introduce architecture majors to fundamental building construction and design materials.

“The studio is very much focused on a non-traditional set of issues for beginning students,” Herrmann explained. “Engaging in the study and practical application of the effects of building materials and methods at this level in their education is highly unusual.”

By designing and building the bus shelters together, the students are learning how to make the compromises that will become an integral part of their professional careers, he said.

Several architecture majors said they initially thought the biggest challenge they will face will be to consider the construction aspects of their designs. Likewise, BCS majors anticipated their biggest struggle will be adherence to the design while realizing it with construction materials.

“Architecture and building construction science programs and students are just different,” said sophomore Ryan M. Fierro, an architecture major from Madison, Ala. and the son of Mario and Sheila Fierro. “I know I’m going to leave this studio still having my design sense, but I’ll understand how it will be affected and changed by the construction aspects.”

Finding pragmatic ways to realize the designs will be a challenge, but gaining real-world experience is preparing the entire group for the workforce, said junior building construction science major Brent M. Gaude’ of Natchez, the son of David and Ann Gaude’.

As the class began the project by sculpting clay models of the proposed shelters, differences between architectural and BCS mindsets were obvious, said sophomore Rashidat L. “Mo” Momoh, an architecture major and the daughter of Khadijat Momoh of Cordova, Tenn.

“After the first rounds of models were completed, you could easily tell which ones were done by architecture majors and which ones were done by building construction science majors,” Momoh said. “Even though there was a distinction between the majors, neither was right.

“The architecture majors did not consider how their models would be made out of real-world building materials, and the building construction science majors did not consider how playful and inviting a bus stop should be,” she said.

When the design phase was completed, both students and faculty members critiqued the models, and teams composed of both disciplines were asked to create new models. As the students discover how to learn from one another, they will be better prepared for the workforce, Herrmann said.

“The intent of our work this semester is to form a foundational understanding of integrated project delivery as a way of realizing buildings in the world,” he said.


Fourth-year architecture students visit New York

October 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Fourth-year architecture students visit New York


Field Trip Week for the School of Architecture was held Sept. 22 – 28.

During the week, architecture students visited various metropolitan areas to get exposure to the architecture as well as meet with large firms and see other sites. First-year students went to Dallas, Texas; second-year students traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio; and third-year students visited Chicago, Ill.

Fourth-year architecture students visited New York, New York.

On the trip, students were able to see:
Lincoln Center
Barclays Center
New York Times Building
American Folk Art Museum
Seagram Building
Lever House
Williams Tsien
The New Museum

They also visited the following firms:
Steven Holl
Williams Tsien
and more

In their free time, students were also able to explore on their own. They walked the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the World Trace Center Memorial, walked through Central Park, went to Times Square, saw shows on Broadway and more.

CAAD alumnus working to launch documentary

October 31st, 2013 Comments Off on CAAD alumnus working to launch documentary

Armando Garma-Fernandez and his wife, Vasia, have been working on launching a documentary about a bi-communal environmental and reconciliation movement in Cyprus to convert the captive ghost city of Varosha in Famagusta, Cyprus, into a model for living for Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

“The best phrase for what this project strives for isn’t just green, or just sustainable,” said Garma-Fernandez, a 2006 graduate of the School of Architecture and a 1998 painting and photography Department of Art alumnus. “But actually a phrase from the Hippocratic oath: ‘Do No Harm.’ I cannot take credit for this,” he said. “I first heard the oath in reference to the built environment in one of Professor Berk’s classes, and it has stuck with me ever since. That is what this project strives for and more. Not only is it striving for ‘Doing no Harm,’ but it also seeks to repair and heal.”

To read more about the project and see how you can help, visit

Garma-Fernandez worked as an architect in New York City from 2006 through 2012, mostly in renovation and restoration. He is currently doing video production work with his wife, also an artist and filmmaker.

Competition offered at ‘What is Eco?’ exhibit reception

October 30th, 2013 Comments Off on Competition offered at ‘What is Eco?’ exhibit reception

Rebecca Dunn Bryant,   managing principal and senior consultant at Watershed (right), discusses her exhibt, "What is Eco?"

Rebecca Dunn Bryant, managing principal and senior consultant at Watershed (right), discusses her exhibit, “What is Eco?”

Rebecca Dunn Bryant, AIA, LEED AP, presented on sustainable architecture during the reception for the “What is Eco?” exhibit.

Bryant is the managing principal and senior consultant of Watershed, a firm out of Fairhope, Ala., that partners with architecture and engineering teams, building owners, developers and contractors to create green building solutions tailored to the specific climate and culture of the deep south.

“It’s so important to put down roots wherever you are,” said Bryant, who recently returned to her home state of Alabama after moving to Colorado to study sustainable design and social ecology and later working in San Francisco and Houston.

Bryant discussed the importance of stepping away from the checklist sometimes when building for LEED certification.

“Look at what’s around,” she said, adding it’s also important to consider how materials will age and if they can be reused as well as considering how the culture can influence architecture.

“Maybe we can create buildings that not only score off the charts with LEED but that the design helps you feel connected to the space.”

Design Challenge
Bryant wrapped up the discussion by issuing a design challenge open to all students in the College of Architecture, Art, and Design.

Four semi-finalists’ work will be posted on her blog, and the nearly 3,000 architects, contractors and other professionals who view the blog will be asked to vote on a winning project.

The winner will receive a solar backpack.  For more information, contact Alex Reeves at

“What is Eco?” was presented by the MSU chapter of Tau Sigma Delta and was curated by Alex Reeves.  See the full lineup of TSD exhibits.

TRASHION Show, Junk 2 Funk Sale set for Nov. 6

October 29th, 2013 Comments Off on TRASHION Show, Junk 2 Funk Sale set for Nov. 6

The MSU Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) in the School of Architecture will hold the annual NOMAS TRASHION Show with MSU’s Fashion Board on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Giles Hall.

The show will exhibit student fashion designs made completely of recyclable materials that were once considered trash. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.

This year’s TRASHION Show will also showcase the second annual JUNK 2 FUNK sale.  Students in the College of Architecture, Art, and Design will have work for sale in the gallery in Giles Hall immediately before and after the TRASHION Show.  A portion of the proceeds will go to NOMAS.

Many of the items will be made from reclaimed or recycled materials, such as paper from books, old prints, newspaper, bass wood, wood from old projects, glass, film, rocks, paper clips, nuts and bolts, zippers, yarn, bottles, can caps and wire.

NOMAS is the student arm of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Students participating seek to enhance the educational experience of its members by fostering diversity within the School of Architecture and the community.

The Fashion Board is an organization the involves the creativity of MSU students in modeling, set design, hair and make-up, model direction, music, fashion, styling and the overall production of fashion shows.

Click here for more information about the JUNK 2 FUNK Sale.

See photos from last year’s event.

Read the story on MSU’s website.

Architectural processes addressed in report by architecture professor, others

October 28th, 2013 Comments Off on Architectural processes addressed in report by architecture professor, others

David Perkes

David Perkes

By Leah Barbour | MSU Office of Public Affairs

The more they get together, the happier architects and their public-service clients will be, according a new report co-written by a Mississippi State University architecture professor.

David Perkes, director of MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, is one of four authors who recently released “Wisdom from the Field: Public Interest Architecture in Practice: A Guide to Public Interest Practices in Architecture.” The study is a result of a $100,000 Latrobe Prize awarded to the group by the American Institute of Architects in 2011.

Based on detailed interviews with 50 organizations from Washington state to Rhode Island, Perkes’ section, “The Partners’ Perspective,” highlights ways architects can apply public interest practices to achieve the practical needs of organizations.

Though geared toward architects, interns and students, the full report also may be beneficial to community developers, municipal officers, funding entities and non-profit organizations, among others, Perkes said.

“Public interest work doesn’t happen without partners, and I chose to develop the partner section of the report because I knew that I could highlight the value of collaboration,” he said. “I have a good understanding of the importance of partners from our own work in the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, as well as work the College of Architecture, Art and Design has been doing for years in the Carl Small Town Center.”

Established in response to 2005’s massive Hurricane Katrina, MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is a professional service and outreach program of the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design. It, like the Carl Small Town Center, provides design services, landscape and planning assistance, and educational opportunities and research to organizations and communities. For more, visit and

Perkes said his research suggests six major consistencies that foster positive working relationships between architects and public service organizations. They include practical knowledge of the partner’s work, design expertise that advances the partner’s mission, a flexible practice approach, community design skills, effective collaboration and community commitment.

“I identified some practical skills that an architect can focus on to be successful at public interest work, and I certainly learned a lot and found specific examples that I have been able to use to teach architects about how they can be more useful to partners,” he said.

In putting together so comprehensive a document, Perkes credited the expertise and hard work of his three colleagues. They include Roberta M. Feldman, University of Illinois at Chicago professor; Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University in Oregon; and Bryan Bell, executive director of the Raleigh, N.C-based Design Corps.

Perkes also expressed appreciation for support provided by the AIA, and the research team continues working together to create other publications for the national organization.

“We have hundreds of hours of interview information, of which we were only able to use a fraction in the AIA report,” Perkes said. “As a team, we see our research as the beginning of an archive of case studies of key practices that are setting the direction of public interest work.

“We expect to continue to take a role to promote and educate around this topic,” he said.

The full report is available at

AIA Mississippi hosts Design Awards Celebration

October 22nd, 2013 Comments Off on AIA Mississippi hosts Design Awards Celebration

Mississippi Celebrates Architecture is an annual program of events presented by AIA Mississippi. The program, which consists of a Design Awards Celebration, a Public Outreach & Exhibition and an Educational Symposium, promotes and celebrates the role of architecture in Mississippi’s culture.

Design Awards Celebration
On October 17, AIA Mississippi hosted the Design Awards Celebration in Jackson to honor recipients of the Design Excellence Awards and Community and Membership Awards, as well as newly licensed architects.

The AIA Mississippi Design Awards program encourages design excellence and elevates the quality of architecture by recognizing and honoring works of distinction by its members and bring to public attention outstanding examples of architecture and design. The awards presented this year were reviewed and selected by a jury of prominent architects and educators.  Behzad Nakhjaven, AIA was the jury chair and is the Chair of Auburn University’s Architecture department.  Dan Bennett, FAIA, Dean Emeritus of Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and Randal Vaughn, AIA, architect from Atlanta, Ga., rounded out the jury team.


The following Design Excellence Awards were presented:

Classroom Building - State Fire Academy Pearl, MS Photographer:  Eric Hudson

Classroom Building – State Fire Academy
Pearl, MS
Photographer: Eric Hudson

Honor Award-State Fire Academy Classroom Building
Burris/Wagnon Architects, P.A. (Jackson, MS)
Building Owner- State of Mississippi
Jury Comments- At first glance the complexity of this building is not recognized, but later like an onion is peeled back, it reveals very sophisticated and contemporary design ideas.  The link with existing is clever.  The architects employed a complex use of design layering that respects the original but uses those ideas in a fresh approach.  The detail of the new building is subtle and thoughtful.  The more you look the more you are impressed with the solution, the moves they made, the planes, the use of columns/beams – a simple vocabulary.  The use of natural of light unites the buildings, the spaces and renders the materials in an exceptional way.

Entrance Pavilion, McCoy Federal Building, Architect: Schwartz | Silver Architects and CDFL Architects

Entrance Pavilion, McCoy Federal Building, Architect: Schwartz | Silver Architects and CDFL Architects

Honor Award-Dr. A.H. McCoy Federal Building
Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Architects & Engineers, P.A. (Jackson, MS) and Schwartz/Silver Architects, Inc. (Boston, MA)
Building Owner- General Services Administration
Jury Comments- This project took a site that has been problematic in its urban contrast and uses a major sculptural element to bring a successful resolution of building to urban site.  The architects took a suburban building and brought it to urban context.  The sculptural aspects this new structure brings to the city is very special and successful.  The detail/technical ability of taking a sculptural idea and carry it out brings a transformational statement to the urban area.  The unity of the visual idea is impressive in the relationship of the exterior to the interior volumes.

Restored Historic Entrance of Bolivar County Courthouse in Rosedale, MS Belinda Stewart Architects, PA Photo  by Will Jacks

Restored Historic Entrance of Bolivar County Courthouse in Rosedale, MS
Belinda Stewart Architects, PA
Photo by Will Jacks

Honor Citation- Bolivar County Courthouse Restoration
Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A. (Eupora, MS)
Building Owner- Bolivar County
Jury Comments- The level of technical expertise and incredible care in the restoration is commendable.  This is not an overly ambitious project, but it is a very successful project.  The level of modesty and self-control exercised by the architect clearly demonstrates a respect for both the building and the community.

Exterior of the restored historic depot in Collins, MS Belinda Stewart Architects, PA Photo by Ken Murphy

Exterior of the restored historic depot in Collins, MS
Belinda Stewart Architects, PA
Photo by Ken Murphy

Merit Award- Collins Depot
Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A. (Eupora, MS)
Building Owner- City of Collins
Jury Comments- The architect understood clearly what to remove and what to keep.  This is a critical component of this type of restoration and renovation project.  The architects gave the integrity of original building back to the city.  They understood the building in its context and brought it back for a new use but with its former grandeur.  The addition of the plaza extends the proactive use to the exterior and creates a good urban space.

17-Haiti Chapel Publicity Photo

Merit Award- Haiti Chapel (Unbuilt Project)
Dean & Dean Associates/Architects (Jackson, MS)
Client- But God Ministries
Jury Comments- The use of the courtyard as a transition entry sequence works very well to bring people into the worship space.  The materials are smart and locally indigenous and allow for local labor usage.  The architecture of the chapel fits comfortably into the locale.  The place of worship has a quality of newness and spiritual hope and uplift.  It is a quiet but inspiring space.

22-MSU Master Plan

Merit Award- Mississippi State University Master Plan
LPK Architects, P.A. (Meridian, MS) and Sasaki Associates, Inc. (Boston & Shanghai)
Client- Mississippi State University
Jury Comments- This master plan takes a campus that lacked organizing elements and transforms the entries and organizes the overall plan using existing and new green spaces, visual elements, and circulation to provide visual order.  Uses issues of sustainability to further reinforce that order.  The cultural landscape and natural landscape combined are successful in providing hierarchy to the planning.
Watch the video about the MSU Campus Master Plan.

Midtown Affordable Housing, Phase 1 Jackson, Mississippi View from community park to new shifted duplex units. Photo credit: Timothy Hursley

Midtown Affordable Housing, Phase 1
Jackson, Mississippi
View from community park to new shifted duplex units.
Photo credit: Timothy Hursley

Midtown Affordable Housing, Phase 2 Jackson, Mississippi View of new walk-up courtyard apartment building. Photo credit: Mark Howell

Midtown Affordable Housing, Phase 2
Jackson, Mississippi
View of new walk-up courtyard apartment building.
Photo credit: Mark Howell

Merit Award- Midtown Housing Phases I & II
Duvall Decker Architects, P.A. (Jackson, MS)
Building Owner- Jackson Housing Authority
Jury Comments –The architect developed a level of site planning that provided a successful solution to unite and create a neighborhood instead of individual houses as was the existing condition.  They had a vision for a higher density urban environment and were successful in realizing this new urban context.  The walk-up units created level of scale that is appropriate while addressing safety/security.  There was an overall understanding of the total neighborhood while maintaining an appropriate scale of units and their shared space.  The project adds a streetscape and a positive scale and density to the neighborhood.  The site plan has a strong 3D understanding.


The following Community & Membership Awards were presented:
Education Commendation- David W. Mockbee, Esq.
Nomination Text- David has taught us all through his courses in the MSU School of Architecture 5th Year program.  He continues to teach us with his generous offering of continuing education seminars, and finally, his service to many of us as exceptional legal counsel.  David knows he is ultimately working for the betterment of the profession of architecture.

Friend of Architecture- The Honorable David W. Baria, Mississippi State Representative, District 122
Nomination Text- David Baria is committed to improving Mississippi’s communities, liveability, and standards for architecture.  His vision for Mississippi as an innovator in placemaking hearkens back to the fundamentals of our communities, where hardworking people use resources modestly, remain self-sufficient, and assist their neighbors in times of need.  He has introduced legislation to encourage better environmental performance in state buildings to reduce energy demands and lower the operations costs for citizens in the state.  He is devoted to the use of Mississippi products in building for economic development.  He has been a champion of renewable energy in Mississippi.  He has led the fight to reduce insurance costs if homeowners make their buildings more wind-resistant.

Presidential Citation- Shannon Gathings, Associate AIA
Awarded at the discretion of the AIAMS President, Anne Marie Decker, AIA, for the exceptional work performed on behalf of AIA Mississippi.  Shannon Gathings lead the communications and graphics efforts of the Annual Convention, Website Redesign, Quarterly Newsletter, Associate Outreach and so much more.  She encouraged and worked collaboratively with committee members to produce excellent member-generated content presented with professionalism and clarity.

Sambo Mockbee Membership Award- Haiti Chapel (Unbuilt Project)
Dean & Dean Associates/Architects (Jackson, MS)
Client- But God Ministries
AIA Mississippi membership reviews all of the design award entries and votes to select the Sambo Mockbee Membership Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award- Robert V.M. Harrison, FAIA, FCSI, Emeritus Architect
Awarded to an individual AIAMS Architect Member that has made a significant contribution to society during their lifetime. This is the highest award bestowed by AIAMS for outstanding service to community, city, state, and civic groups for the general betterment of society.
Nomination Text- Robert V.M. Harrison has advanced the role of architecture, the architectural profession and the public’s understanding of these through his dedicated and exceptional leadership in the areas of community knowledge and advocacy.  His dedication in community affairs, his leadership in education/sharing knowledge, and his commitment in advocating the role and value of architects to the public have had local, regional and national impact.  Through Bob’s many accomplishments, Mississippi is a better place to live and the architectural profession is a better place to work.


AIA Mississippi is the professional organization of Mississippi’s Architects, the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  AIA Mississippi strives to meet the needs of its members, advance communities and make the world a better place for all to live, work and play. They view thoughtful planning, ongoing discussion and sharing of ideas among members and key constituents as critical to their success.

Jennifer Bonner presents Harrison Lecture

October 21st, 2013 Comments Off on Jennifer Bonner presents Harrison Lecture

Jennifer Bonner 10182013_1 Jennifer Bonner 10182013_4

Jennifer Bonner, assistant professor at Georgia Tech and director of Studio Bonner, presented the second Harrison Lecture for the semester on Oct. 18.

In Bonner’s presentation, “Misbehaving in Architecture (And Other Nonsensical Devices for Practice and Teaching),” she showed several images of architecture “misbehaving.” Bonner discussed “misbehaving” to not mean breaking building codes or being irresponsible but to mean doing unexpected things. Some examples she gave included leaving a ceiling unfinished in a nice building, using the look of an enlarged composition notebook as the skin of a building in an Atlanta suburb and the using concrete cinder blocks for a house in an upscale neighborhood.

The architect also discussed what a post-2008 practice might look like and gave several examples of what her firm had done in recent years.

She finished up the lecture with examples of some of her work.

Bonner received a bachelor of architecture from Auburn University and a master of architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she was awarded the James Templeton Kelley Prize for the top graduating project. Her undergraduate thesis project, the Cedar Pavilion, was designed and constructed at the Rural Studio in Perry County, Ala. She has received numerous awards including an AR Award for Emerging Architecture in 2005 and has exhibited at institutions in London; Istanbul; Washington, D.C.; Austria; Barcelona; and Cincinnati. Previously, Bonner has taught design studios and seminars at Woodbury University, Auburn University, the Architectural Association and Lund University. Her research and work has been published in journals including Architectural Review, Architectural Record, Wallpaper, a+t, DAMn, Art Papers and GSD Platform. Her professional experience includes work in the offices of Foster + Partners and David Chipperfield Architects in London.

Second-year architecture students travel to Ohio

October 17th, 2013 Comments Off on Second-year architecture students travel to Ohio


Field Trip Week for the School of Architecture was held Sept. 22 – 28.

During the week, architecture students visited various metropolitan areas to get exposure to the architecture as well as meet with large firms and see other sites. First-year students went to Dallas, Texas; third-year students visited Chicago, Ill.; and fourth-year’s trip was to New York, New York.

Second-year architecture students visited Cincinnati, Ohio, with professors Emily McGlohn and Alexis Gregory.

The trip included an extensive tour of the University of Cincinnati’s campus by architecture professor Patrick Snadon, which included buildings by Thom Mayne, Michael Graves, Frank Gehry and Peter Eisenman.

Students also experienced the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art by architect Zaha Hadid in downtown Cincinnati.

Exploration of the city was encouraged, and students visited other sites such as Art Deco’s Carew Tower, Findlay Market, Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream – all landmarks of Cincinnati.

School of Architecture alumnus to chair EMBDC

October 17th, 2013 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus to chair EMBDC

Bob Luke

Bob Luke

By Terri Ferguson Smith / Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —   Despite a heavy hit to the local economy this year, business leaders are optimistic that Meridian and Lauderdale County can win new industries and businesses.

At the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation’s annual luncheon on Tuesday, outgoing chairman C.D. Smith said with the closing of Handy Hardware and subsequent loss of 100 jobs, it had been a rough year; but that it balanced out with CertainTeed Corporation’s announcement in June that it will reopen here and by 2016 should employ about 110 new positions.

Addressing the room full of business women and men at MSU-Meridian, keynote speaker Jeff Conley advised them about their priorities, saying they could learn a lesson from young people characterized as Generation Y’ers.

“They are not defined by work. Work is what you do. It’s not who you are,” Conley said. “No career success is worth family failure.”

Conley, based out of Dallas, Texas, runs the Jeff Conley Corporation, a management consulting firm.

Smith passed the gavel to Bob Luke of LPK Architects who said he moved his family here in 1986 when he heard of Meridian’s potential.

“We’re still hearing about potential here,” Luke said.

Luke outlined a starting point, saying first the community must define the success it wants to achieve; next establish priorities; and then work and speak with one voice.

“We have to decide what success should look like,” Luke said.

Luke said it was important to talk about the rough times while working for better times.

“We don’t want to sugarcoat things. We want to be real candid with people. There were so many successes, but we also want to be honest. It was really a tragedy to lose Handy Hardware,” Luke said. “We can’t do anything about that. That’s just the economy and the way life works.”

Creating successful partnerships and working together will move the community forward, he said.

“We have so much opportunity, so much talent with the people, the work force, the work ethic that we have, let’s work together as a team — city, county, public, private, everybody together with one voice,” Luke said.

Asked to describe his vision for success, Luke said quality of life is key.

“We all want to be safe, we want to be secure, we want to have good infrastructure, good roads, things like that,” Luke said. “We want to have entertainment opportunities. We want to have good food, good restaurants.To do all these things we’ve got to grow. We have to grow our tax base. We have to support things that generate that growth. That’s what success looks like to me.”

Wade Jones, executive director of EMBDC, said Luke’s vision will serve the community well.

“He understands the importance of defining that vision, redefining the mission of the organization, developing the strategic plans and executing those plans to get the desired results,” Jones said. “He understands that in order to get those results, we often need to make changes. That may be in the way we market ourselves, that may be in the way we present our material, that may be in the way we package our financials to be more competitive in the economic development ring. With Bob it’s a holistic approach. It’s about all aspects of growing this community.”

Luke has been an architect for more than 30 years. A native of Philadelphia, he attended East Central Community College and is a graduate of Mississippi State University.

Luke is the managing principal of LPK Architects and his experience ranges from large healthcare facilities to historic renovations. Over the last several years, he has provided design and planning expertise for Mississippi universities with the most recent project being the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium.

He has been married to Kathy Chester for over 39 years, has three children all whom are MSU graduates.

Tony Pompelia was awarded the EMBDC’s annual Small Business Leadership Award on Tuesday.
Founder and managing partner of Leading Edges, Pompelia is  a graduate of Mississippi State University and has held held key marketing positions with McKee Foods Corporation in Chattanooga, Tenn. and Earthgrains, Inc. in St. Louis, Mo. He also held the position of executive vice president of Townsend, Barney & Patrick, a regional marketing firm in Birmingham.

In June 2000, Pompelia returned home to Meridian and starting Leading Edges.  Since that time Leading Edges has grown to serve local and regional accounts and has 16 employees.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation and a member of the Meridian Community College’s Foundation Board. Pompelia is a past board President of the Meridian Community College Foundation Board and a past Chairman of the Board for the United Way of East Mississippi.

He has been a part of the Meridian Public School’s Study Buddy program and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer for the Mississippi State Meridian Campus’s School of Business.

A Rotarian, Pompelia’s  company offers their services to local non-profits through a national, philanthropic initiative known as CreateAthon. He and his wife Sharon are active in NorthPark Church and together they have two children and three granddaughters.

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