Governor Parson Announces 19 Appointments to Various Boards and Commissions,

JUNE 5, 2024

Jefferson City — Today, Governor Mike Parson announced 19 appointments to various boards and commissions and filled two county office vacancies.

Steve Ahrens, of Jefferson City, was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Mr. Ahrens currently serves as president and CEO of the Missouri Propane Gas Association. He previously served as designated principal assistant for the Missouri Office of Administration and as director of the Publications Division for the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. Mr. Ahrens holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from Missouri State University.

Victoria Babb, of St. Peters, was appointed to the Missouri Community Service Commission.

Ms. Babb currently serves as community resource director for Cunningham Recreation and runs the Play 4 ALL division. She previously served in the National Civilian Community Corps and Americorps St. Louis Partners. Ms. Babb is a board member of the St. Charles Community College Foundation and the Center for Autism Education. Ms. Babb holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science, economics, and public policy from Stephens College.

Winston Calvert, of University City, was appointed to the Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District.

Mr. Calvert manages a private consulting firm providing solutions to the complex challenges business and nonprofit leaders face. He also serves as director of the Boy Scouts of America’s Greater St. Louis Area Council and Heat Up St. Louis Inc. Mr. Calvert has worked as an attorney at Armstrong Teasdale LLP, as chief executive officer of Community Impact Network, and as chief of staff to the St. Louis County Executive. Mr. Calvert holds a Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Music from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.

Ed Elder, of Kansas City, was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

Mr. Elder currently serves as president of Colliers in Kansas City. He previously served as treasurer for the Kansas City Missouri Police Foundation and is a board member of the Kansas City Area Development Council, University of Kansas Cancer Funding Partners, and United Way of Greater Kansas City. Mr. Elder holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Kansas State University.

Dr. Tawni Ferrarini, of St. Charles, was appointed to the State Board of Education.

Dr. Ferrarini currently serves as professor of economic education at Lindenwood University. She previously served as professor and director of economic education and entrepreneurship for Northern Michigan University. Dr. Ferrarini has been a member of the National Association of Economic Education since 2000 and has numerous peer reviewed publications. Dr. Ferrarini holds a Ph.D. in economics and a Master of Arts in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.

Reverend Darryl Gray, of St. Louis, was appointed to the Missouri Workforce Development Board.

Reverend Gray currently serves as a pastor at Greater Fairfax Baptist Church and as a consultant at Gray and Gray Associates LLC. He further serves as a political advisor for the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and as chair of the St. Louis Detention Facilities Oversight Board. Reverend Gray holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Benedict College and completed two years of study toward a Bachelor of Theology and Religious Studies and a Masters of Science in divinity from McGill University.

Tracy Henke, of Chesterfield, was appointed to the Missouri Workforce Development Board.

Ms. Henke currently serves as deputy executive director and COO of St. Louis Regional Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMICSTL). Her extensive career spans roles such as chief policy officer and president of Chamber/STL at Greater St. Louis Inc., legislative director for former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, and various leadership positions within the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Henke holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Dr. Daniel Isom, of St. Louis, was appointed to the Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District.

Dr. Isom currently serves as vice president of safety, security, and crisis management for Ameren. He previously served as interim director of public safety for the City of St. Louis in 2021 and as police commissioner for the City of St. Louis from 1988-2013. Dr. Isom holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He further holds a Master of Arts in public administration from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Tammy Kirchner, of Memphis, was appointed as the Scotland County Clerk.

Ms. Kirchner currently serves as interim Scotland County Clerk. She previously served as deputy county clerk. Ms. Kirchner holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Lyda Krewson, of St. Louis, was appointed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Ms. Krewson previously served as mayor of the City of St. Louis from 2017-2021 and as an alderman for the City of St. Louis from 1997-2017. Ms. Krewson holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science in education, psychology, and special education from Truman State University.

Dudley McCarter, of Clayton, was appointed to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Mr. McCarter has served as a principal of Behr, McCarter, Neely & Gabris, P.C. since 1992 and as a member of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education since 2019. Mr. McCarter also served in the United States Army Reserves from 1972 – 1980, receiving an honorable discharge at the rank of captain. He previously served as president of the Missouri Bar Association and is a current fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Mr. McCarter further serves on Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital’s Foundation Board. Mr. McCarter holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Emmet Pierson, Jr., of Kansas City, was appointed to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

Mr. Pierson currently serves as president and CEO of Community Builders of Kansas City. He further serves as a board member of the University of Missouri – Kansas City Board of Trustees and the Illinois Facilities Fund. Mr. Pierson previously served as owner and principal of North 40 Development LLC., and served two terms as commissioner of Port KC. Mr. Pierson holds a Bachelor of General Studies in human biology from the University of Kansas.

Jerel Poor II, of Bonne Terre, was appointed to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Mr. Poor currently serves as circuit judge for the 24th Judicial Circuit. He previously served as a technical assistant and attorney at JEDMED Instrument Company in St. Louis. Mr. Poor holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University and a Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University.

Dr. Thomas Prater, of Springfield, was appointed to the State Board of Education.

Dr. Prater currently serves as a partner physician at Mattax, Neu, and Prater Eye Center in Springfield. He is a member of the Missouri State Medical Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He previously served on the Springfield City Council representing Zone 2. Dr. Prater holds a Doctor of Medicine from Washington University’s School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Southern Methodist University.

Ronda Schell, of Kansas City, was appointed to the Missouri Parole Board.

Ms. Schell has served as a special agent with the FBI since 2004. She has worked on several investigations and projects from bank robberies and human trafficking to high profile counterterrorism investigations, including evidence identification in trial preparation for Saddam Hussein. Ms. Schell holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a Master of Forensic Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.   

Jason Schott, of Ste. Genevieve, was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Mr. Schott currently serves as chief deputy for the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department. He further serves as president of the Eastern Missouri Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates and as a board member of the Ste. Genevieve County 911 Tax Emergency Services Board, the Ozora TIF Commission and the Ste. Genevieve City Business TIF Commission. He previously served as president of the Ste. Genevieve County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Schott holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Lindenwood University.

Louise Secker, of Joplin, was appointed to the Missouri Community Service Commission.

Ms. Secker currently serves as a realtor for the Carlin Team at Keller Williams Realty, Inc. She previously served as development director for Lafayette House in Joplin. Ms. Secker is a board member of the Joplin Regional Community Foundation and the Jasper County Court Appointed Special Advocates. Ms. Secker holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Westminster College.

Whitney Smith, of Des Peres, was appointed to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Ms. Smith served 11 years with the Boeing Company in St. Louis. She holds a Master of Arts in Russian studies from the European University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Miami University.

Dr. Tony Taylor, of Raytown, was appointed to the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Dr. Taylor currently serves as owner of Practical Project Solutions LLC., and as a member of the part-time adjunct faculty pool for Avilla University, Baker University, MidAmerica Nazarene University, University of Phoenix, and the University of Saint Mary. Dr. Taylor holds an Associate of Arts in computer science from Longview Community College, a Bachelor of Science in management and computer information systems from Park University, a Master of Business Administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University, and a Doctor of Management in organizational leadership and information technology from the University of Phoenix.

Jessica White, of Mayview, was appointed as the Lafayette County Clerk.

Ms. White currently serves as logistics coordinator, dispatch manager, and driver pay manager for She further serves as secretary and treasurer for the Mayview Fire Protection District and as president of the Mayview Fire Ladies Auxiliary. Ms. White holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations from the University of Central Missouri.

Kimathia Wright, of Maryville, was appointed to the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Ms. Wright currently serves as chair of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) KC Adult Wellness Center. She previously served as office assistant for Metropolitan Community College – Longview. 


What is cloud computing: Its uses and benefits

Group of white spheres on light blue background

Group of white spheres on light blue background

With cloud computing, organizations essentially buy a range of services offered by cloud service providers (CSPs). The CSP’s servers host all the client’s applications. Organizations can enhance their computing power more quickly and cheaply via the cloud than by purchasing, installing, and maintaining their own servers.

The cloud-computing model is helping organizations to scale new digital solutions with greater speed and agility—and to create value more quickly. Developers use cloud services to build and run custom applications and to maintain infrastructure and networks for companies of virtually all sizes—especially large global ones. CSPs offer services, such as analytics, to handle and manipulate vast amounts of data. Time to market accelerates, speeding innovation to deliver better products and services across the world.

What are examples of cloud computing’s uses?

Cloud computing came on the scene well before the global pandemic hit, in 2020, but the ensuing digital dash helped demonstrate its power and utility. Here are some examples of how businesses and other organizations employ the cloud:

  • A fast-casual restaurant chain’s online orders multiplied exponentially during the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, climbing to 400,000 a day, from 50,000. One pleasant surprise? The company’s online-ordering system could handle the volume—because it had already migrated to the cloud. Thanks to this success, the organization’s leadership decided to accelerate its five-year migration plan to less than one year.
  • A biotech company harnessed cloud computing to deliver the first clinical batch of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Phase I trials in just 42 days—thanks in part to breakthrough innovations using scalable cloud data storage and computing to facilitate processes ensuring the drug’s safety and efficacy.
  • Banks use the cloud for several aspects of customer-service management. They automate transaction calls using voice recognition algorithms and cognitive agents (AI-based online self-service assistants directing customers to helpful information or to a human representative when necessary). In fraud and debt analytics, cloud solutions enhance the predictive power of traditional early-warning systems. To reduce churn, they encourage customer loyalty through holistic retention programs managed entirely in the cloud.
  • Automakers are also along for the cloud ride. One company uses a common cloud platform that serves 124 plants, 500 warehouses, and 1,500 suppliers to consolidate real-time data from machines and systems and to track logistics and offer insights on shop floor processes. Use of the cloud could shave 30 percent off factory costs by 2025—and spark innovation at the same time.

That’s not to mention experiences we all take for granted: using apps on a smartphone, streaming shows and movies, participating in videoconferences. All of these things can happen in the cloud.

Learn more about our Cloud by McKinsey, Digital McKinsey, and Technology, Media, & Telecommunications practices.

How has cloud computing evolved?

Going back a few years, legacy infrastructure dominated IT-hosting budgets. Enterprises planned to move a mere 45 percent of their IT-hosting expenditures to the cloud by 2021. Enter COVID-19, and 65 percent of the decision makers surveyed by McKinsey increased their cloud budgets. An additional 55 percent ended up moving more workloads than initially planned. Having witnessed the cloud’s benefits firsthand, 40 percent of companies expect to pick up the pace of implementation.

The cloud revolution has actually been going on for years—more than 20, if you think the takeoff point was the founding of Salesforce, widely seen as the first software as a service (SaaS) company. Today, the next generation of cloud, including capabilities such as serverless computing, makes it easier for software developers to tweak software functions independently, accelerating the pace of release, and to do so more efficiently. Businesses can therefore serve customers and launch products in a more agile fashion. And the cloud continues to evolve.

Circular, white maze filled with white semicircles.

Cost savings are commonly seen as the primary reason for moving to the cloud but managing those costs requires a different and more dynamic approach focused on OpEx rather than CapEx. Financial-operations (or FinOps) capabilities can indeed enable the continuous management and optimization of cloud costs. But CSPs have developed their offerings so that the cloud’s greatest value opportunity is primarily through business innovation and optimization. In 2020, the top-three CSPs reached $100 billion in combined revenues—a minor share of the global $2.4 trillion market for enterprise IT services—leaving huge value to be captured. To go beyond merely realizing cost savings, companies must activate three symbiotic rings of cloud value creation: strategy and management, business domain adoption, and foundational capabilities.

What’s the main reason to move to the cloud?

The pandemic demonstrated that the digital transformation can no longer be delayed—and can happen much more quickly than previously imagined. Nothing is more critical to a corporate digital transformation than becoming a cloud-first business. The benefits are faster time to market, simplified innovation and scalability, and reduced risk when effectively managed. The cloud lets companies provide customers with novel digital experiences—in days, not months—and delivers analytics absent on legacy platforms. But to transition to a cloud-first operating model, organizations must make a collective effort that starts at the top. Here are three actions CEOs can take to increase the value their companies get from cloud computing:

  1. Establish a sustainable funding model.
  2. Develop a new business technology operating model.
  3. Set up policies to attract and retain the right engineering talent.

How much value will the cloud create?

Fortune 500 companies adopting the cloud could realize more than $1 trillion in value by 2030, and not from IT cost reductions alone, according to McKinsey’s analysis of 700 use cases.

For example, the cloud speeds up design, build, and ramp-up, shortening time to market when companies have strong DevOps (the combination of development and operations) processes in place; groups of software developers customize and deploy software for operations that support the business. The cloud’s global infrastructure lets companies scale products almost instantly to reach new customers, geographies, and channels. Finally, digital-first companies use the cloud to adopt emerging technologies and innovate aggressively, using digital capabilities as a competitive differentiator to launch and build businesses.

If companies pursue the cloud’s vast potential in the right ways, they will realize huge value. Companies across diverse industries have implemented the public cloud and seen promising results. The successful ones defined a value-oriented strategy across IT and the business, acquired hands-on experience operating in the cloud, adopted a technology-first approach, and developed a cloud-literate workforce.

Learn more about our Cloud by McKinsey and Digital McKinsey practices.

What is the cloud cost/procurement model?

Some cloud services, such as server space, are leased. Leasing requires much less capital up front than buying, offers greater flexibility to switch and expand the use of services, cuts the basic cost of buying hardware and software upfront, and reduces the difficulties of upkeep and ownership. Organizations pay only for the infrastructure and computing services that meet their evolving needs. But an outsourcing model is more apt than other analogies: the computing business issues of cloud customers are addressed by third-party providers that deliver innovative computing services on demand to a wide variety of customers, adapt those services to fit specific needs, and work to constantly improve the offering.

What are cloud risks?

The cloud offers huge cost savings and potential for innovation. However, when companies migrate to the cloud, the simple lift-and-shift approach doesn’t reduce costs, so companies must remediate their existing applications to take advantage of cloud services.

For instance, a major financial-services organization wanted to move more than 50 percent of its applications to the public cloud within five years. Its goals were to improve resiliency, time to market, and productivity. But not all its business units needed to transition at the same pace. The IT leadership therefore defined varying adoption archetypes to meet each unit’s technical, risk, and operating-model needs.

Legacy cybersecurity architectures and operating models can also pose problems when companies shift to the cloud. The resulting problems, however, involve misconfigurations rather than inherent cloud security vulnerabilities. One powerful solution? Securing cloud workloads for speed and agility: automated security architectures and processes enable workloads to be processed at a much faster tempo.

Learn more about our Cloud by McKinsey and Digital McKinsey practices.

What kind of cloud talent is needed?

The talent demands of the cloud differ from those of legacy IT. While cloud computing can improve the productivity of your technology, it requires specialized and sometimes hard-to-find talent—including full-stack developers, data engineers, cloud-security engineers, identity- and access-management specialists, and cloud engineers. The cloud talent model should thus be revisited as you move forward.

Six practical actions can help your organization build the cloud talent you need:

  1. Find engineering talent with broad experience and skills.
  2. Balance talent maturity levels and the composition of teams.
  3. Build an extensive and mandatory upskilling program focused on need.
  4. Build an engineering culture that optimizes the developer experience.
  5. Consider using partners to accelerate development and assign your best cloud leaders as owners.
  6. Retain top talent by focusing on what motivates them.

How do different industries use the cloud?

Different industries are expected to see dramatically different benefits from the cloud. High-tech, retail, and healthcare organizations occupy the top end of the value capture continuum. Electronics and semiconductors, consumer-packaged-goods, and media companies make up the middle. Materials, chemicals, and infrastructure organizations cluster at the lower end.

Nevertheless, myriad use cases provide opportunities to unlock value across industries, as the following examples show:

  • a retailer enhancing omnichannel fulfillment, using AI to optimize inventory across channels and to provide a seamless customer experience
  • a healthcare organization implementing remote heath monitoring to conduct virtual trials and improve adherence
  • a high-tech company using chatbots to provide premier-level support combining phone, email, and chat
  • an oil and gas company employing automated forecasting to automate supply-and-demand modeling and reduce the need for manual analysis
  • a financial-services organization implementing customer call optimization using real-time voice recognition algorithms to direct customers in distress to experienced representatives for retention offers
  • a financial-services provider moving applications in customer-facing business domains to the public cloud to penetrate promising markets more quickly and at minimal cost
  • a health insurance carrier accelerating the capture of billions of dollars in new revenues by moving systems to the cloud to interact with providers through easier onboarding

The cloud is evolving to meet the industry-specific needs of companies. From 2021 to 2024, public-cloud spending on vertical applications (such as warehouse management in retailing and enterprise risk management in banking) is expected to grow by more than 40 percent annually. Spending on horizontal workloads (such as customer relationship management) is expected to grow by 25 percent. Healthcare and manufacturing organizations, for instance, plan to spend around twice as much on vertical applications as on horizontal ones.

Learn more about our Cloud by McKinsey, Digital McKinsey, Financial Services, Healthcare Systems & Services, Retail, and Technology, Media, & Telecommunications practices.

What are the biggest cloud myths?

Views on cloud computing can be clouded by misconceptions. Here are seven common myths about the cloud—all of which can be debunked:

  1. The cloud’s value lies primarily in reducing costs.
  2. Cloud computing costs more than in-house computing.
  3. On-premises data centers are more secure than the cloud.
  4. Applications run more slowly in the cloud.
  5. The cloud eliminates the need for infrastructure.
  6. The best way to move to the cloud is to focus on applications or data centers.
  7. You must lift and shift applications as-is or totally refactor them.

How large must my organization be to benefit from the cloud?

Here’s one more huge misconception: the cloud is just for big multinational companies. In fact, cloud can help make small local companies become multinational. A company’s benefits from implementing the cloud are not constrained by its size. In fact, the cloud shifts barrier to entry skill rather than scale, making it possible for a company of any size to compete if it has people with the right skills. With cloud, highly skilled small companies can take on established competitors. To realize the cloud’s immense potential value fully, organizations must take a thoughtful approach, with IT and the businesses working together.

For more in-depth exploration of these topics, see McKinsey’s Cloud Insights collection. Learn more about Cloud by McKinsey—and check out cloud-related job opportunities if you’re interested in working at McKinsey.

Articles referenced include:

  • “Six practical actions for building the cloud talent you need,” January 19, 2022, Brant Carson, Dorian Gärtner, Keerthi Iyengar, Anand Swaminathan, and Wayne Vest
  • “Cloud-migration opportunity: Business value grows, but missteps abound,” October 12, 2021, Tara Balakrishnan, Chandra Gnanasambandam, Leandro Santos, and Bhargs Srivathsan
  • “Cloud’s trillion-dollar prize is up for grabs,” February 26, 2021, Will Forrest, Mark Gu, James Kaplan, Michael Liebow, Raghav Sharma, Kate Smaje, and Steve Van Kuiken
  • “Unlocking value: Four lessons in cloud sourcing and consumption,” November 2, 2020, Abhi Bhatnagar, Will Forrest, Naufal Khan, and Abdallah Salami
  • “Three actions CEOs can take to get value from cloud computing,” July 21, 2020, Chhavi Arora, Tanguy Catlin, Will Forrest, James Kaplan, and Lars Vinter

Group of white spheres on light blue background



Tombigbee EPA’s goals are to bring safe, reliable, and affordable power to our CUSTOMERS in a courteous and timely manner.

The purpose of Tombigbee Electric Power is to provide:

  • The highest quality of customer service.

  • A safe workplace for our employees.

  • Fair and constant application of policies.

  • Economical rates.

  • Reliability.


Comprehensive IT Solutions for Local Businesses

We’re ready to do whatever it takes to keep your system running smoothly. To do this, we’ll provide you and your staff with reliable, high-quality IT support. Whether it’s a new cyber-security threat or a run-of-the-mill tech question, we have your back. You can count on that. It’s not just about preventing hardware issues and resolving everyday concerns. We want to see your business grow; we want to see you and your staff do big things, and we want to help you foster a healthy reputation within the local community. Whatever we can do to make that happen for you, we’ll do it.


Skip to content