Gazebo Gazette

Governor Tate Reeves announced a series of new appointments at the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Reeves ap- pointed William “Bill” Cork as Executive Director/Chief Economic Development Officer, PJ Waldrop as Chief Operations Officer, and Steven McDevitt as Chief Investment Officer.

“Mississippi achieved record breaking lev- els of economic development in recent years, and we have no plans to slow down anytime soon,” said Governor Tate 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.”

Bill Cork has been the MDA Deputy Director and Chief Economic Development Officer since 2020. In this role he led the teams responsible for Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Recruiting, International Trade, Small and Minority Business, Entrepreneurship, Community Services Support and Aspire Program, Research, and the State Energy Office.

Prior to serving at MDA, 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 En- gineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratories throughout the 1990’s.

Cork earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, with a concentration in economic development and fiscal packaging, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wife of 39 years, Nina, have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

“Serving as part of a record setting and nationally recognized economic development organization over the last three and a half years is already a career highlight,” said Bill Cork. “The invitation to lead this amazing group of professionals, as part of Governor Tate Reeves’ leadership team, is truly humbling. I look forward to serving the great state of Mississippi in this new role and building upon the amazing momentum we are achieving together.”

Paul Jerrod “PJ” Waldrop has served as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Military Affairs since the office’s creation in 2021.

In this role he assisted Governor Tate Reeves with the creation of the Defense Communities Development Council and has led efforts to attract new defense missions to the state as well as strengthen the existing defense missions.

He worked with the Defense Community Development Council, the Installation Commander’s Council, the Mississippi National Guard, and the Mississippi Congressional Delegation on a variety of projects to support our defense economy.

Previously, Waldrop spent 15 years working as a staffer in the United States Senate advising three different senators, including Senator Thad Cochran.

During his time in the Senate, he served as a Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing legislative and operations staff. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Delta State University and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. Waldrop currently lives in Brandon, Mississippi with his wife Rebecca and son Ryland.

Steven McDevitt has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Finance at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) since 2020. In this role he has overseen the agency’s accounting, budget, human resources, purchasing, property and information technology operations. He has also been responsible for the Office of Public Safety Planning which issues grants to local governments throughout the state of Mississippi.

Prior to joining DPS, McDevitt worked 12 years in state government. During that time, he served in multiple financial positions, including Deputy Director and Bond Advisory Director for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration. McDevitt is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Mississippi and holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi College. He currently lives in Madison with his wife Kristin and two children.