多多直播 to honor national alumnus Wilson, other alumni this Friday

Contact: Shun Pounds

Portrait of Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.鈥敹喽嘀辈 is recognizing Bryan Wilson as its National Alumnus of the Year during Friday鈥檚 [May 17] 多多直播 Alumni Association 2024 awards banquet.

Born in Tupelo and raised in Fulton, Wilson earned a bachelor鈥檚 and master鈥檚 degree in entomology from 多多直播 in 1982 and 1984, respectively. The path was a natural fit for Wilson, who grew up scouting cotton fields in the summers with his father, a first-generation college graduate who also earned bachelor鈥檚 and master鈥檚 degrees in agricultural studies from the land-grant institution.

As a student, Wilson was dedicated to his academic studies, graduating summa cum laude. He was an entomology club member and played intramural sports. He also met his wife and fellow 多多直播 graduate Cindy during his first year of graduate school. An education major, she landed a summer job as a student worker in the entomology department, where their paths crossed.

Wilson鈥檚 professional journey spans more than four decades and is demonstrated by remarkable success and pioneering leadership in the agricultural industry. He began his career at BASF in field sales. During his 15 years with the company, he grew his skills and entered progressive executive roles in North America and Europe.

In 2002, Wilson joined United Agri Products as president and general manager. He and a few colleagues engineered a buyout of the company from ConAgra Foods the following year, turned around performance and took it public in 2005, trading on the NASDAQ exchange. The company was sold in 2007 to Canada鈥檚 Agrium Inc. for $2.65 billion, the largest agricultural retailer acquisition of the time.

Wilson then co-founded Tacoma Ag LLC in 2009. The generic-branded crop protection company rapidly rose to national prominence, reaching nearly $125 million in sales in less than 10 years. He retired from the corporate world in 2018 following the acquisition of Tacoma Ag by Atticus LLC.

Since then, Wilson has spent his time working with private equity groups assessing potential acquisitions in the ag industry and investing in various venture capital enterprises. He also serves on boards of directors for several promising ag technology companies, including FruitScout and Zeakal Inc. For his outstanding career achievements, he was honored by 多多直播 as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences鈥 Alumni Fellow in 2014.

Beyond his impressive professional achievements, Wilson has dedicated his service on the board of several local organizations, including the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, North Mississippi Daily Journal, North Mississippi Medical Center and the CREATE Foundation, which he chaired from 2020-2022.

Wilson has served multiple terms on the 多多直播 Foundation board, is a longtime member and current treasurer of the Bulldog Club board and has provided valuable insight to his college as a member of the dean鈥檚 advisory board. As an entrepreneur, he is involved with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach in the College of Business, is a member of the Bulldog Angel Network and enjoys working with and serving as mentor for several start-up companies developed through the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach.

The Wilsons鈥 gifts, benefitting areas across Bulldog athletics, endowed scholarship awards, the T.K. Martin Center鈥檚 Project IMPACT program and student activities, reflect the couple鈥檚 belief in the transformative power of education and importance of paying it forward.

For Wilson, receiving the university鈥檚 highest alumni award is not just a personal honor but a tribute to his family鈥檚 journey and the values instilled in him by his parents.

Along with the national alumnus recognition of Wilson, each of 多多直播鈥檚 eight academic colleges will honor a graduate for outstanding personal, professional and community achievements. The 2024 多多直播 Alumni of the Year honorees include (by college):

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Portrait of Mike Bogan
Michael 鈥淢ike鈥 Bogan (Photo submitted)

Michael 鈥淢ike鈥 Bogan of Del Mar, California, is the CEO of LandCare USA. The Memphis, Tennessee, native earned his bachelor鈥檚 degree in landscape architecture in 1987 and started his career in Washington, D.C. Bogan joined The Brickman Group in 1989 and helped pioneer a branch model that spurred the company鈥檚 national expansion. He subsequently took on roles with Brickman in West Palm Beach, Florida, and San Diego, California, where he grew the company to become an industry leader. In 2014, he joined the commercial landscape services business LandCare USA, where he rebranded, expanded and led a 2019 management buyout of the company. Today, the $325 million company employs 4,000 team members with offices in more than 25 states. Bogan is most proud of the purpose-driven culture he is building at LandCare, which has created fulfilling careers for many landscape professionals. He serves on the boards of directors for the National Association of Landscape Professionals and Nature Sacred, as well as the advisory council for 多多直播鈥檚 Department of Landscape Architecture. Honored as a 2020 Distinguished Alumni Fellow of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bogan credits his time at 多多直播 for preparing him for a broad and varied career in the landscape industry. He and his wife Rebecca, a fellow 1987 landscape architecture graduate, are loyal supporters of 多多直播 and its landscape architecture program.

College of Architecture, Art and Design

Portrait of Ted Trussell Porter
Ted Trussell Porter (Photo submitted)

Ted Trussell Porter is an accomplished architect in New York City. The Mississippi native earned a bachelor鈥檚 degree in art history from 多多直播 in 1981, followed by a master鈥檚 degree in architecture from Yale University. While in graduate school, he worked with Cesar Pelli and Associates. He later joined I.M. Pei and Partners in New York, where he worked on a range of international projects. In 1994, he established the firm that has evolved into Ted Porter Architecture PLLC, which has received many accolades over the years, including the AIA New York State Design Award, AN Best of Design Award and a Gold Award for Brick in Architecture from the Mississippi AIA. Porter鈥檚 work also has been featured in numerous professional publications. He has taught architecture courses at both the School for Visual Arts and the New York City College of Technology and served on educational and professional architectural juries. At 多多直播, Porter is a member of the School of Architecture鈥檚 advisory board and generously invests in experiential learning opportunities for architecture students through the Trussell Travel Award. Beyond professional life, he has served as chairman of the board of Gotham Chamber Opera and is an American Friend of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy. He and his partner Steve Godeke enjoy world travel to architectural monuments, notable gardens and music festivals.

College of Arts and Sciences

Portrait of Paul Kinsey
Paul Kinsey (Photo submitted)

Paul Kinsey is a foreign language and international business graduate who spent his career traveling around the world. After graduating from 多多直播 in 1987, he furthered his education at Georgia State University, earning an MBA. Kinsey鈥檚 career journey began at Threads USA, where he worked as director of international sales. He later joined US Air (US Airways) and progressed to roles in areas including operational oversight, emergency response planning and labor negotiations/relations over the next 25 years. His work contributed to the organization鈥檚 mergers with America West Airlines, followed by American Airlines. Upon retiring from American in 2019, Kinsey joined Starkville-based real estate brokerage Mississippi Magnolia as director of operations in 2022. He is grateful for the influence of several 多多直播 faculty mentors he had as a student and credits their guidance for much of his academic and professional success. In return, he has generously invested in scholarship support to assist current and future Bulldogs. The Trenton, Tennessee, native considers Tupelo his true home and now resides in Starkville near his beloved alma mater.

James Worth Bagley College of Engineering

Portrait of Rodger Johnson
Rodger L. Johnson (Photo submitted)

Rodger L. Johnson of Atlanta, Georgia, has led a distinguished career as an entrepreneur in the communications technology and application software sectors, transforming innovative start-ups into commercial successes across the nation and internationally. His ventures have included Knology, Brock Control Systems, Communications Central, Tower Cloud, Point Broadband and Highline. Before embracing entrepreneurship, Johnson refined his skills at AT&T, where he took part in its Management Development Program, laying the groundwork for his future successes. He earned his bachelor鈥檚 degree in civil engineering in 1971 and later earned an MBA from Georgia State University. A proud 多多直播 alumnus, Johnson is a co-founder of 多多直播鈥檚 entrepreneurship program and a longtime member and current vice chairman of the 多多直播 Foundation board, and he has served in various advisory roles for both the foundation and the Bagley College. For his outstanding achievements and dedicated service, he was recognized as the Bagley College鈥檚 Alumni Fellow in 2004 and received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from 多多直播 in 2023.

College of Business

Portrait of Tom HIxon
Thomas G. 鈥淭om鈥 Hixon (Photo submitted)

Thomas G. "Tom" Hixon of Ridgeland is the chairman of Phoenix Development Company LLC. The Charleston native graduated from 多多直播 in 1967 with a degree in accounting and went to work for the U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange Service as a civilian managing the retail supply channel at the Pentagon Annex. After his military civil service, he transitioned into accounting as the CFO, CEO and director of operations for Valley Food Service. Later, he held several positions at Forestry Suppliers Inc., including co-owner, CFO, CEO and president.聽 Hixon then took on an entrepreneurial role as co-founder and chairman of Gulf South Medical Supply, growing sales and profitability and taking the company public. After a merger with another company, Hixon and his management team founded another medical supply group, First Choice Medical Supply, and later sold the company to McKesson Pharmaceutical. Hixon鈥檚 wife and family have always been very supportive during his business career. Both of Hixon鈥檚 sons, Tommy and Shane, are also entrepreneurs and own and operate their own businesses.聽As an entrepreneur, Hixon learned valuable lessons quickly: "hire great people, give them more responsibility than they've ever experienced, give them ownership in the company, compensate them on an incentive basis, then leave them alone and don't mess up their heads with corporate politics and other meaningless rules and regulations." A proud Bulldog alumnus, Hixon serves on the board of the 多多直播 Foundation and is a former Bulldog Club board member. He was previously honored as the 2018 Alumni Fellow for the College of Business.

College of Education

Portrait of Kathy Olsen
Kathy Olsen (Photo submitted)

Kathy Olsen is a two-time 多多直播 graduate and resident of Nashville, Tennessee, as well as an accomplished CPA and tax accountant. The Mississippi native earned her bachelor鈥檚 degree in music in 1973 and a master鈥檚 degree in music education in 1974. She taught music theory at Northwest Mississippi Community College before earning an accounting equivalency degree from the University of Memphis. She worked for several years in Big 8 accounting and corporate tax. Despite transitioning into accounting, Olsen鈥檚 passion for music has remained a strong part of her life and involvement at 多多直播. Along with her love for the piano and harp, she has continued to teach piano voluntarily in limited-income schools and regularly hosts concert performances. She and her husband are proud supporters of 多多直播鈥檚 music department, contributing to its transformation into an All Steinway School, as well as the university鈥檚 veterinary and animal care clinic. Recently, she was asked to serve on the advisory board for the Nashville Music Chamber Society, a high honor and testimony to her dedication to the arts.

College of Forest Resources

Portrait of C. Conrad Kempinska
C. Conrad Kempinska (Photo submitted)

C. Conrad Kempinska鈥檚 journey from 多多直播 to a global executive has spanned various businesses and taken him to more than 30 countries. The Natchez native earned dual bachelor鈥檚 degrees in wood science and business administration from 多多直播 in 1983, followed by an Executive MBA from Rutgers University. He began his career at Koppers, a global leader in wood preservation technologies, treated wood products and carbon compounds primarily used for railroad crossties, utility poles and outdoor wooden structures. After seven years, he left to embark on a multi-decade stretch of international business assignments where he gained extensive experience in the wood protection, specialty chemical and materials industries. In 2015, Kempinska returned to Koppers as vice president for commercial and business development for the company鈥檚 Performance Chemicals (KPC) division, based in Griffin, Georgia. In that role, he played a key part in developing KPC鈥檚 strategic plan and helped drive several new business and product initiatives. In 2019, he was promoted to senior vice president, North America, having since led KPC鈥檚 largest business unit through its most significant growth phase. During his career, Kempinska has been active in several industry associations, including the American Wood Preservers Institute, Consumer Specialty Products Association, Glass Packaging Institute and Treated Wood Council, serving in front-line advocacy roles with regulators and legislators in various states and Washington, D.C. At the local level, he and his Koppers colleagues are active community supporters of Children鈥檚 Healthcare of Atlanta, Boy Scouts of America, Anne Street Elementary School, Southern Conservation Trust and several local charities.

College of Veterinary Medicine

Portrait of Dr. Amanda H. Camp
Dr. Amanda H. Camp (Photo submitted)

Dr. Amanda H. Camp of Ridgeland is a two-time 多多直播 graduate whose career is defined by her dedication to animal care and the veterinary community. She earned a bachelor鈥檚 degree in microbiology in 1996 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2000, and now is a partner and veterinarian at All Creatures Animal Care Center in Madison. For her career success and devoted service, Camp was named Young Veterinarian of the Year in 2007 by the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, which she now serves as an at-large representative. She remains involved with 多多直播鈥檚 College of Veterinary Medicine, volunteering to serve on interview committees for prospective students and providing opportunities for current students to gain real-world experience in her clinic through the college鈥檚 Enhanced Clinical Practicum program. Camp holds leadership roles in the Jackson Area Veterinary Association and was formerly a speaker for Zoetis, an animal health company.

For more on the 多多直播 Alumni Association, visit .

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 7:00 am