GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Two coast businessmen will now have a say in projects considered for BP settlement funds by the Mississippi Development Authority. Friday, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves named Jerry Levens of Long Beach and Mark Cumbest of Cumbest Bluff to serve on the advisory board to the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund.
That board holds the settlement funds from the 2010 disaster that devastated the coastal economy. The board will assist the state’s economic development agency in supporting projects that will benefit local and state economies.
"The Gulf Coast felt the greatest impact from the oil spill, and I believe this board will help ensure the settlement funds build a prosperous coastal economy and create good-paying jobs for Mississippians," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "I appreciate Jerry’s and Mark’s commitment to serving the Gulf Coast."
"The Gulf Coast continues to recover from the economic effects of the BP oil spill, which is why it is important that we use these settlement funds to the long-term benefit our of region," said. "I appreciate Lt. Gov. Reeves for selecting me to this advisory board."
Levens echoed his appreciation to the lieutenant governor and added, “The projects supported by these dollars can have a far-reaching impact on our Gulf Coast.”
Levens recently retired from the CPA firm of Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Favre, PLLC, and has overseen the firm’s audit and assurance engagements. He currently serves as the Hancock Whitney Corporation’s Vice-Chair of the Board and Executive Committee, and also serves on the Company’s Audit Committee and Compensation Committee. Previously, he served as a director of Hancock Bank from 2008 to 2009.
Cumbest started Cumbest Realty, Inc. in 1975. He is the broker-owner of the company which has offices in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, and Cumbest Bluff in Jackson County. He served on the Governor’s Commission for Restoration, Recovery, and Renewal after Hurricane Katrina as well as GoCoast 2020 after the BP oil spill.
Others on the board include Gov. Phil Bryant’s appointees: Ashley Edwards, Moses Feagin and Becky Montgomery Jenner, and Speaker Philip Gunn’s appointees: Greg Cronin and former Rep. Jim Simpson.