Randy Thomley figures he’s on the downhill side of Christmas for his business. And holiday shoppers who haven’t picked out a Christmas tree this year will probably see Thomley in the near future.
Thomley, who owns and operates the Thomley Christmas Tree Farm and Gift Shop in Oak Grove, believes more than half of his business is done by Dec. 1. When the temperatures drop, so do the trees.
“Some people, because of leaving town early or going offshore, will get their trees early, he said.
The saying goes, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” For Elizabeth Porter, an attorney with a private practice in downtown Hattiesburg, her career has not only been a way for her to stay in the city she loves, but also a way to get closer to a lost loved one.
“I’ve always loved Hattiesburg,” Porter said.
Porter was named Best Attorney in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting. See January’s issue of Signature for an update on voting in the 2017 competition.
She served as Forrest County Junior Miss and Hattiesburg Miss Hospitality.
Everyone has a unique story about what brought him or her to the Hub City and what has kept them here. Keenon Walker, an advocate for downtown Hattiesburg and supporter of the Spectrum Center, credits the diversity of the city for keeping him here through the years.
Walker has lived in Hattiesburg for 11 years. He is an Orange Grove native, moving to the Hub City from the Gulf Coast in 2005, just before Katrina hit, to attend The University of Southern Mississippi.
“And I’ve just kind of been here ever since,” Walker said. “I love this town. It’s so much fun.”
Sophomore English major Caroline Bradley is the Student Government Association president for the Hattiesburg campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. Bradley is an Honors College student and Emerging Leader recipient from Lucedale. She has a lot of plans and goals as the new SGA president.
Dr. Suzanne McKee-Waddell’s long history of working with exceptional students made her the clear-cut choice to serve as interim director of the Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi.
During her 30-year career, McKee-Waddell has served in numerous educational roles in Mississippi. She has held various facilitator roles in the elementary, middle, and academically gifted classrooms of the state’s educational system, while also teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on the university level.
Bradley Myers of Hattiesburg comes by his beard honestly. In a family filled with facial hair, he followed the tradition of previous generations.
However, as his beard got longer and he saw a need, Myers decided to develop a beard oil that would tame those unruly whiskers. So, for the past two years, he has been mixing the concoction and selling 1-ounce bottles of Professional Beard Oil in the Hub City area.
After living in New Jersey, Florida and Georgia, Catherine Lott made her home in Hattiesburg. A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, she has worked for the past four years with the DuBard School.
Before beginning at Southern Miss, Lott interned with the Area Development Partnership while finishing her degree. Once she graduated, she wanted to stay on at ADP and work as an event planner. At the time, a position like that was not available. However, one was created for her and she became the special event coordinator and worked on events like Hubfest.
It has always been said that if you pick a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Tom Colt knows this to be fact as he calls his job with Rock 104 nothing but fun. That fun has landed him the Best of the Pine Belt ‘Best Radio Music DJ’ designation for 2016.
Colt stumbled into journalism with a desire to do radio. He never longed to be a reporter, simply to work for a radio station. And a journalism degree seemed like the way to go.
There are many words to describe Cathy Eaker – mother, daughter, volunteer, designer and writer, just to name a few. However, there is one name she did not realize she would claim again – Hattiesburger.
Eaker lived in Hattiesburg up until she reached junior high. From seventh grade on she spent in Tennessee with her parents. However, they always planned to move back to Hattiesburg after retiring, which was something she did not expect herself to do.
She decided to follow them back to her hometown three years later so that her son, Caden, could grow up knowing them.