The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) recently announced its future leadership and the recently elected officers include the following:
- William A. “Lex” Taylor III, President and Chairman of the Board of The Taylor Group of Companies, Inc., as MEC’s 2019-2020 Chair.
- Anthony L. Wilson, President and CEO of Mississippi Power, as MEC’s 2020-2021 Chair.
- Augustus L. (Leon) Collins, Chief Executive Officer for MINACT Inc., as MEC’s 2021-2022 Chair.
- Rebecca Wiggs, Attorney at Watkins & Eager, as MEC Treasurer. Wiggs will also serve as treasurer of the Mississippi Economic Council’s subsidiaries, the M.B. Swayze Foundation and the Public Education Forum of Mississippi.
“I am excited to serve as MEC Chair for 2019-2020,” said Taylor. “Our organization has a long-standing history of speaking as the unified voice of business in our state, and I am proud of all we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 70 years. As we look toward the future, I am excited to help lead our organization in developing and executing a long-term strategy for creating positive change in Mississippi.”
Taylor has been involved all of his life in the family-owned business, Taylor Machine Works. He learned all aspects of the heavy lift equipment industry before entering into the company’s management trainee program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in General Business from Mississippi State University in 1977. He worked as a Systems Coordinator and as the Assistant to the President of Manufacturing. In 1982, he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager and was elected President on July 14, 1982. Elected to the Board of Directors in 1981, Taylor was named Chairman of the Board in July 2008. Under his leadership, Taylor Machine Works has followed a course of diversification resulting in the formation of The Taylor Group of Companies, Inc.
Taylor is on the Board of Directors for the Business & Industry Political Education Committee, Mississippi Manufacturers Association, College of Business Advisory Board Mississippi State University, and Winston Medical Foundation. He is Past Chairman of Mississippi Manufacturers Association, Mississippians for Economic Progress, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
Taylor and his wife, Margaret, have three children.
Wilson has worked his entire professional career for Mississippi Power and the Southern Company system, starting in 1984 as an engineering cooperative education student in Biloxi. He moved to Georgia Power in 2002 and held several executive leadership positions before returning to Mississippi Power in 2015.
An advocate of economic development, education and wellness, Wilson serves as the Chair of the Gulf Coast Business Council board of directors, the Mississippi Aquarium Foundation and the 2019 American Heart Association Heart Walk for Harrison and Hancock counties. He is Vice Chair for the Mississippi State University Foundation and he also serves as a director on the Mississippi Energy Institute board.
Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is also a graduate of the Oxford University Advanced Management Program.
A native of D’Iberville, Wilson and his wife Tonya have three daughters.
Prior to accepting his current job, Collins was the Adjutant General of Mississippi and served as the Commanding General of both the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard. He commanded a force of more than 12,275 Citizens Soldiers and Airmen.
Collins served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield/Storm as well as commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2006. Collins was promoted to brigadier general on May 10, 2005 while in Iraq, making him the first African American to attain the rank of general officer in the history of the Mississippi National Guard.
Following his deployment to Iraq, Collins was assigned as Director of Mobilization, United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, GA. He held that post from February 2006 until October 2007.
In 2007, Collins was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to serve as one of the three Commissioners for the Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Commission. He held that post until July 2010 when he accepted a position with MINACT Incorporated where he served as the Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning.
When Governor Phil Bryant took office in January 2012, he appointed Collins the Adjutant General of Mississippi. He was promoted to the rank of Major General on March 14, 2012.
Collins received an Associate of Arts Degree from Northeast Mississippi Junior College, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Jackson State University, a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the United States Army War College and has completed studies at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as the Harvard Business School.
Collins has received numerous awards and honors over his career.
Wiggs practices law with Watkins & Eager PLLC which she joined in 1985. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she completed mediation training with the American Arbitration Association and mediation.org. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and is also a member of the North Carolina Bar. Her experience spans from general product liability and medical malpractice to labor and employment, consumer finance and appellate advocacy.
Wiggs served MEC previously as chair of its M.B. Swayze Foundation. She is a member of Leadership Mississippi Class of 1995. The Mississippi Women Lawyers Association named her its 2016 Lawyer of the Year and she received the Mississippi Bar’s Lawyer Citizenship Award in 2012. She serves on the Governing Board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest Divinity School.
Wiggs and her husband, Mark, live in Jackson.