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.

Bob and Kathy Luke honored at library dedication, reception

October 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Bob and Kathy Luke honored at library dedication, reception

Bob and Kathy Luke of Meridian stand with Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Design (right), at the Bob and Kathy Luke Library Dedication and Reception on Monday night [Oct. 7] in Giles Hall.  (Photo by Beth Wynn | MSU Office of Public Affairs)

Bob and Kathy Luke of Meridian stand with Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Design (right), at the Bob and Kathy Luke Library Dedication and Reception on Monday night [Oct. 7] in Giles Hall. (Photo by Beth Wynn | MSU Office of Public Affairs)

Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design formally dedicated the Bob and Kathy Luke Library in Giles Hall on Monday [Oct. 7].

Robert E. “Bob” and Kathy Chester Luke met while students at the university: Kathy Luke graduated in 1979 from the College of Education, and Bob Luke is a 1980 graduate of the School of Architecture.

The couple credits MSU with providing the education and skills that have allowed them to compete in their respective careers, and they proudly carry their pride in their alma mater wherever life takes them, they said. When the Lukes were considering how to give back to MSU, the couple immediately thought of the School of Architecture Library, a place they often visited as students.

“This is a great honor and something that Kathy and I believe in,” said Bob Luke. “There was a dream and a passion that our instructors at Mississippi State shared with us, and that dream and passion still exists today,” he said.

The Lukes’ gift allowed for numerous improvements to the library. Once just a resource for the School of Architecture, it has been expanded to include the art collection from Mitchell Memorial Library and is now an inclusive library for the entire college. Other improvements include new furnishings, reupholstered furniture, new carpeting and signage.

CAAD Dean Jim West said the library is continually expanding. Most recently, Jacob Gines, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, began work to catalog the holdings and add a special collection of sustainable materials.

“Projects such as the special collections continue to make the library a valuable resource for our students,” said West. “The Bob and Kathy Luke Library and all of the written and visual collections it holds will continue to be a major intellectual resource for the students and faculty of the College of Architecture, Art and Design.”

Not only have the Lukes’ donations benefited the newly dedicated Bob and Kathy Luke Library, they also have contributed to scholarships and athletics.

As managing principal architect of LPK Architects PA in Meridian, Bob Luke and the company have played a defining role in the MSU’s architecture on campus, West said. The firm has designed seven new MSU residence halls, the MSU Campus Master Plan, the new Leo W. Seal Jr. Football Complex and the renovation and additions to Davis Wade Stadium.

“This is a better place because of Bob Luke and his firm,” said Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president. “Their legacy will be felt for many years to come and many generations to come.”

In addition to university leaders, including Gilbert, West and Michael Berk, director of the School of Architecture, other members of the university family, as well as the local community, attended the ceremony.

Bob Luke, a Philadelphia native, has more than 30 years of professional experience as an architect and community leader. A registered architect in Mississippi and Alabama, he is an active member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, where he served as president. He also has been active with the American Institute of Architects, where he was named a Fellow in 2010. Additionally, he was selected that year as Alumni Fellow for MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Kathy Luke taught business education for several years in South Carolina and Mississippi, and she served as supervisor of instruction for Meridian Naval Air Station Yeoman “A” School. She was president of the Meridian Junior Auxiliary and worked with her husband at his firm for 15 years as office manager and later as CFO. She currently serves on the MSU Meridian Dean’s Council.

See the story on MSU’s website.

See the story on WCBI’s website.

Read the story on WTOK’s website.

Architect delivers update on Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center

October 10th, 2012 Comments Off on Architect delivers update on Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center

(Article By Terri Ferguson Smith /  The Meridian Star)

MERIDIAN —  A long-awaited project to build the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center in Meridian is a step closer to becoming a reality. It still has a ways to go, but conceptual drawings of the center, to be located on property at the corner of 22nd Avenue and Front Street, were revealed Tuesday (Oct.9) to members of the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.

Bob Luke, an architect with LPK Architects in Meridian, presented an update on the project that began in 2001 when the Mississippi State Legislature enacted Senate Bill 2666, establishing the center.

Meridian was chosen for its home and in 2005 the Legislature passed a bill approving a local food and beverage tax of up to 2 percent in Meridian to help fund the project. The bill was subject to approval by Meridian voters in a referendum; however no referendum has ever been called, so the tax has not gone into effect. That particular legislation is only good for this project and cannot be used for any other project, Luke said.

In 2006, the state issued $4 million in bonds to get the project going. Last year and this year, The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center Board of Directors purchased the property and tore down the existing buildings there. The property is now project-ready, Luke said.

A professional design team is now in the process of completing the project’s design and drawings. Those are expected to be completed by the summer of 2013.

The work that has been done so far has been funded by the $4 million from the state, Luke said, but now the project is entering another phase — fundraising.

“They are interviewing private fundraisers to solicit private funds for this project,” Luke said. “There is a lot of potential money on the table that will allow us to do something good.”

Luke told EMBDC members that between $30 million to $40 million is needed to construct the center.

“They are now trying to raise construction dollars,” Luke said. “When we met with the governor a couple of weeks ago, he was very excited, very supportive. He said, ‘Alright, let’s get going. Let’s make this thing happen.’ That means we’ve got to get public money. We obviously need to start in Meridian.”

Gov. Phil Bryant asked them to add a recording studio to the center, so they have included one in the plans, Luke said.

Typically, museum projects get about half their funding from public dollars; and about half from private sources, he said.

Money will come from outside of Meridian and Lauderdale County as well.

“This is not a Meridian project. It’s located in Meridian. We’re the beneficiaries, but it’s statewide,” Luke said. “But we can’t go to Jackson and ask for state money unless we put our money where our mouth is first.”

As to the question of what the city and county will be asked to contribute, Luke said no dollar amount has been discussed.

“The city and county are both being supportive and they’re both talking about how they can participate,” Luke said. “I don’t think anybody has issued an official request, nor have they provided any in-depth support other than conceptually they support the project and are trying to work with us. The county has made it clear that they will do whatever they need to do to step up to the plate. The same with the city.”

Mayor Cheri Barry said the city is 100 percent in favor of the project, but it’s too early to name an amount the city could give to the project.

“I think that the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment (board) has ample time to look at it and determine how they are going to move forward with fundraising,” Barry said. “When the timing is right, I think you’ll see this community coming together in support of this project. We’re still in hard times and it would be premature to say what we can do at this point.”

Joe Norwood, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, also serves on the Entertainment Center Board of Directors.

“Specifically, I can’t say what the county can do,” Norwood said. “We’ve been dealing with this for years and there is support from this Board of Supervisors to see this project through.”

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