Picayune Chamber of Commerce elects new board members
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Every year, the Picayune Chamber of Commerce elects new officials for their Board of Directors for three-year terms. Recently, the Chamber swore in six new board members.
This was the first year the Chamber used electronic voting, instead of paper ballots, which Nuria Arias, executive director of the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce, said was a great decision.
“We had more participation for the voting and it was very fast and easy,” Arias said.
When the voting was done, a separate party tallied the results, she said.
Misty Toruno was elected as secretary and member of the Chamber programs committee. Toruno moved to Carriere in December of 2001 and has worked for the past 12 years as executive assistant to the administrator at Highland Community Hospital, according to information from the Chamber. Toruno is also the current president of the Mississippi Association of Healthcare Administration Professionals.
Clyde Dease, Jr., president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and a retired NASA scientist, currently serves as a Board member and is chair of the Chamber Bylaws committee.
For the past 35 years, Dease has held increasingly responsible positions at NASA, starting out in the NASA Earth Resources Laboratory developing satellite sensors and applications for utilizing the data collected from the satellites to perform a variety of land and environmental studies, information from the Chamber states.
As the nation was shifting their focus to space travel, Dease joined a rocket engine flight certification team.
He was also the project lead for the first-ever Electronic Health Records System at the Stennis Space Center.
Dease is part of multiple organizations, including vice president of the Maroon Tide National Foundation and member of the Rotary Club of Poplarville.
He steers the “Excel By 5” program at Picayune and Pearl River Central schools, which he serves as a catalyst for improving the health, education, social and economic vitality of the community, information from the Chamber stated. Dease previously served as a national chair of the NASA Metrology Working Group for federal agencies.
Tony Smith, owner of Stonewall’s BBQ and Catering, was chosen as a board member and member of the Chamber Bylaws Committee. Smith was a state senator for district 47 from 2012 until 2016 and was previously on the Picayune School Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2012. Smith attended Pearl River Community College and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Kristen Black, who has been the executive administrative assistant to John Ferrucci, general manager for the Silver Slipper Casino, since 2015, is one of the newest members of the Chamber Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Chamber programs committee. Earlier this year, the Boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast selected Black as Volunteer of the Year, information from the Chamber states.
William “Bill” Cruse is also a new Board member and member of the Chamber Bylaws Committee. The Picayune native graduated from Picayune Memorial High School in 2001 then graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in chemistry in 2005, after transferring from PRCC, information from the Chamber states.
Four years later, Cruse graduated from the Mississippi College School of Law in 2009 and was certified to practice law that same year. Cruse is currently an attorney, assisting clients to navigate major life transitions successfully, information from the Chamber states.
Adrienne Penley is also a new Board member and member of the Chamber Programs Committee. She found her love for dentistry while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan with the U.S. Navy. During her service, she had the opportunity to volunteer as a dental assistant with the American Red Cross. In 2010 she graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, information from the Chamber states. Four years later, in March, she started Penley Family Dentistry in Picayune, her hometown.
Returning Board members are William Kenneth McDonald, Board president; Ray Hart, vice president; Dawn Lambert, treasurer; Richard Byron Hill, chair of the Chamber Programs Committee; Terry Farr, Board member; Tina Stockstill, Board member; Suzan Wilson, Board member; Derek Turnage, Board member; Nikhil Ajmera, Board member and Tara Kellar Tebo, Board member.