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Chapter History

    Northeast MississippiHuman Resource Association

    Affiliated With

    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

    Chapter 196

    The Northeast Mississippi Human Resource Association was initially supported by Lucian Wood and Vaughn Camp of the Community Relations Association (CRA) in early 1973. CRA is an arm of the Community Development Association that was set up to ensure a satisfactory work climate for Northeast Mississippi to foster its industrial growth. Lucian and Vaughn became aware of “The American Society of Personnel Administration (ASPA)” that was the national organization for Personnel Management which was interested in the development and education of all personnel management professionals. CRA’s “Personnel Club” had been an active and viable organization for years and was geared to ensuring the communication and up to date information of all members relating to any activity that might not be considered good for the community. They believed that being associated with ASPA would be a good compliment to their group and would provide a way to ensure professional development of their members.

    The first meetings were held at the Gaslight Inn Restaurant in Tupelo and the actual Chapter was chartered June 11, 1973 as the “North Mississippi Industrial Relations Association” an affiliate of ASPA. The original officers of the group (showing the regional reach of the group) were: Vaughn Camp of Tupelo, President; Howard Boone Jr. of Aberdeen, Vice President; Wally Porter of Oxford, Secretary; and Richard Reeves of Corinth, Treasurer. The Chapter continued to meet in the evening on a monthly basis to allow for and encourage participation from those outside Tupelo proper. Over the years, the meetings were moved to various locations including The Rex Plaza, Richey’s, Molly Gunn’s, Executive Inn, the Belmarc Restaurant and Woody’s Restaurant, which is housed in the original building of the Rex Plaza.

    The Chapter name was changed to the Northeast Mississippi Human Resource Association (NEMSHRA) in 1989 after ASPA changed their name to The Society For Human Resource Management to better fit the ever changing profession.

    Professional Human Resource Certification was implemented by SHRM and Bob Brinton, SPHR, who joined our Chapter in 1986, received his APS (equivalent to PHR today) certification in 1981. W.O. Jones was the first Chapter member to receive Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification when he attended the SHRM National Conference in 1989 where he sat for and passed the exam. Upon his return he challenged the remainder of the Chapter and a group of Chapter Members started a study group and became certified in May 1990 (Bill Allen, SPHR, Bob Baughn, SPHR, Mike Dillard, SPHR, Bob Brinton, SPHR and Jessie Meeks, SPHR). Since that time our Chapter has been very proactive in encouraging all members to become certified. Rodger Brown, SPHR in conjunction with Itawamba Community College has taught several certification preparatory courses and has had remarkable success with a number of his students receiving either the PHR or SPHR certification. As of December, 2010 the Chapter had 18 members certified as PHR and 11 members certified as SPHR.

    While serving as Chapter President, Mike Dillard, SPHR was also elected to State Council Director and served from 1990 to 1991. During his tenure, he was instrumental in getting the Mississippi SHRM State Council back on its feet. We have had several other past State Council Directors to include W.O. Jones SPHR (1991 to 1992) and Bob Baughn, SPHR. Bob served as State Council Director in 1995 and 1996 and was responsible for conducting the first Mississippi SHRM State Conference in 1996. He served the State Council in various roles including Legislative Director for many years. Bill Allen, SPHR served from 1999 through 2007 as the State Council College Relations Director and Clay Dial served as the District Director – North Mississippi from 2007 – 2010 and Legislative Director from 2011 to present

    The Chapter hosted their first Mississippi SHRM State Conference in 2000 and their second in 2007. Both conferences were very successful. The Chapter’s first local seminar was hosted on August 11, 2004 with additional seminars in 2006 and 2008. Both were well attended by the community and deemed successful.

    The NEMSHRA has been a long time mentor for the University of Mississippi SHRM Student Chapter. In the late 80's or early 90's, Bill Allen, Jessie Meeks, and Rodger Brown went to Oxford and officially designated the Ole Miss student chapter. The growth of the student chapter is dependent upon student involvement and their ability to obtain sponsorship by one of the professors.  Each time the sponsorship has faded, the Chapter has put forth efforts to ensure its continuance.  The Chapter believes strongly in the student chapter and has a Chapter officer dedicated to its continuance.

    A Chapter Scholarship was inaugurated in 2005 to ICC for a high school senior in Tupelo or Lee County and continued through 2008.  The Scholarship was awarded to four (4) recipients before the Chapter decided the scholarship was not meeting the vision set forth in the scholarship objectives.

    We are proud that Chapter Member Bob Baughn, SPHR was selected as the first recipient of the “Jim Wilkins Mississippi Human Resource Professional of the Year Award” in 1999. This award was established to honor the outstanding human resource professional of the year by the Mississippi State Council. Other Chapter members who have received this award are Bill Allen, SPHR in 2001 and W.O. Jones, SPHR in 2003. Rodger Brown SPHR received the SHRM Mississippi State Council “Spirit Award” in 2008 for his participation in local chapter and educational activities.

    NEMSHRA has excelled in all aspects with the Society for Human Resource Management by having received numerous SHRM Superior Chapter Merit Awards as shown on our Home page.  In 2020, our chapter became the first Mississippi chapter to become a 100% dual member, national SHRM member chapter.

    The following dedicated members have served as Chapter President in the year(s) indicated:

    1973-1974 Vaughn Camp

    1979-1980 Bill Allen, SPHR

    1981-1982 Rodger Brown, SPHR

    1988-1989 Mike Dillard, SPHR

    1989-1991 W. O. Jones, SPHR (Began two year terms for Officers)

    1992 & 1993 Jessie Meeks SPHR (Deceased)

    1994 & 1995 Bob Baughn, SPHR

    1996 & 1997 Don Wiygul

    1998 & 1999 Dick Bridges

    2000 & 2001 Lynn Iverson (Deceased)

    2002 & 2003 Bill Allen, SPHR

    2004 & 2005 Bernice Thompson, SPHR

    2006 & 2007 Bruce Clark

    2008 & 2009 Bob Brinton, SPHR

    2010 & 2011 Patsy Brandon, SPHR

    2012 & 2013 Dianne Powell, PHR

    2014 & 2015 Scott Richardson, SPHR

    2016 & 2017 Scott Williams, SPHR

    2018 & 2019 Charlotte Pratt, SHRM-SCP - (Spirit of HR Award - 2019, MS State SHRM Council)

    2020 & 2021 Katie McMillan

    2022 & 2023 Brittany Morris, SHRM-CP - (HR Professional Award - 2023, MS State SHRM Council)