- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By Josh Allen
Managing Editor, eParisExtra!
Her duties will begin on July 9. She replaces Mindy Moree, who resigned in March to accept another executive chamber position in a Colorado community.
Cook is a native of Arab, Ala., and a graduate of Auburn University.
“She has many years of chamber experience, so she will be a great asset to this community,” state Mary Faber of the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.
Melissa grew up in Alabama and graduated from Arab High School. She then went on to complete her college studies at Auburn University.
She is also a 1997 graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management sponsored by the U.S. Chamber’s Center for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia, and a graduate of the Alabama Intensive Economic Development Training Course sponsored by the American Economic Development Council and Auburn University.
She is a graduate of the Basic Economic Development Course sponsored by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech University, and a graduate of the 2010 Leadership Mississippi class.
She is the vice president of the Chamber Division of the Columbus Lowndes Development LINK, a position that she has held since February 2007. Prior to that, she was president of the Arab Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. Cook was public relations coordinator for Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville from 1983 until December 1991.
During her chamber career in Alabama, Cook served on many boards of distinction including the Business Council of Alabama; The Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (serving a two-year term as chairman to transition the organization from volunteer driven to staff driven); the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourism Association; and the Economic Developers Association of Alabama.
In 2002, she was recognized as the Alabama State Chamber Professional of the Year.
While at LINK, Cook has been instrumental in implementing several new programs that have had big results for the organization. She initiated Leadership Lowndes County and brought the concept of a capital campaign to the LINK, whereby they were able to raise over $2 million to be used for furthering economic development efforts.
Another program she implemented is a Young Professionals group for ages 21-40, so that they can enhance their business and networking skills.
Along with numerous other programs she’s helped create and implement, Cook also handles all day-to-day business for LINK, as well as their financials.
Another one of Cook’s accomplishments has been the implementation of all new marketing materials for the organization. These materials have been recognized with many awards, both by the International Economic Development Council and the Southeast Economic Development Council.
Recently, Cook and the Link’s two other vice presidents were featured in an article by Forbes Magazine, highlighting women of power in the economic development world.
She serves as vice president for the board of the Northeast Mississippi Contract Procurement Office, treasurer of the Main Street Columbus board of directors, a member of the Police Chief’s Advisory Council, and is a 2009 graduate of the Citizens Police Academy. She also was on the board of regents for the Institute of Organizational Management sponsored by the U.S. Chamber’s Center for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia.
Cook is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the U.S. Chamber, the Better Business Bureau, the Southeast Economic Development Council, the Mississippi Economic Council and the Mississippi Economic Development Council. She serves as an advisor and mentor for the American Chamber of Commerce public relations committee.
She has two daughters and a son-in-law, who all live and work in Atlanta.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cook’s photo is by Kelly Tippett of The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus.