Gates, Others Elected to MEC Positions

JACKSON, Miss. – David Gates, President of the Mississippi Division of Atmos Energy, has been elected as the 2015-2016 Mississippi Economic Council Chair.

Robin Robinson, Director of Organization Development and Corporate Communication at Sanderson Farms, Inc., was elected as 2016-2017 Chair. William Yates III, President and CEO of W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, was elected as 2017-2018 Chair.

Gates has nearly 30 years of experience in the energy business and has been with Atmos Energy since 1991. In 1993, he was named Vice President of Technical Services for the West Texas division, and in 2003 he moved to Kentucky to become Vice President of Operations for the Kentucky/Mid-States division. He was named President of the Mississippi division in 2007. In addition to his primary role at Atmos Energy, he serves as an AtmoSpirit facilitator where he leads culture shaping, team building and leadership development session for employees throughout the company.

Gates has served in a leadership capacity with several community, professional and civic organizations. He is chairman of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership and has served on the board of that organization in several capacities. He has also served in leadership roles with the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Gates recently completed a term as chair of the M.B. Swayze Foundation, which oversees MEC’s STAR Student and STAR Teacher recognition. Gates is a graduate and past chairman of Leadership Mississippi, which falls under the M.B. Swayze Foundation.

In addition to his roles as chairman of GJCP and MEC, Gates is also the chairman of the Mississippi Energy Institute. He was the Energy Committee chairman for Governor Phil Bryant’s Transition Team following the 2011 election. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Mission Mississippi. He has served on the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women event and the Heart Walk in the Jackson area.

Gates and his wife Jill have two sons, Josh and Collin, who are currently attending college.

“MEC is a remarkable organization. For 66 years we have stuck to our foundational principles of being an independent voice for business,” Gates said. “Through research and advocacy, MEC provides the leadership and resources that allow business leaders throughout Mississippi to work together to make a meaningful difference in our state.”

Robinson began her career at Sanderson Farms in 1978 after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. In 2000 she was named Director of Organization Development and Corporate Communication. She serves on the Sanderson Farms Executive Committee, chairs the Wage and Salary Committee and also chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She serves as chair of the Jones County Junior College Foundation. Robinson has served as president of the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees; president of the United Way of the Pine Belt; national president of Business and Professional Women/USA; president of the Mississippi Federation of Business and Professional Women; chair of the American Lung Association Plains-Gulf Region, and has served on the University of Mississippi Southern Mississippi Alumni Association International Board of Directors.  At MEC, Robinson is past chair of the M.B. Swayze Foundation and Leadership Mississippi.

Yates currently serves on the Board of Directors for Trustmark National Bank and Trustmark Corporation.  He is the immediate past Chairman of the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development and is also on the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Business Council.  He is the immediate past president of the board for the United Way of South Mississippi and was the 2013-14 Chairman of the Southeast U.S.-Japan Association Annual Meeting.  Yates serves on the Millsaps College Board of Trustees, the Blueprint Mississippi Advisory Council and the Mississippi Economic Council Board of Directors.

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