Four area Middle Tennessee State University alumni business leaders were recognized recently with special awards from the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at the university.
The awards were presented at a special reception Oct. 27 in advance of the 2022 Leadership Summit: Innovative Leadership at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
• The Young Professional of the Year Award was presented to MTSU alumnus Megan Bynum, owner and a certified financial planner at Harvest Wealth Group LLC. The award recognizes someone who, at a relatively young age, has already been a role model whose accomplishments are outstanding and an inspiration to others—but who also has the potential to rise to even greater heights.
Bynum graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA.
• The Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award was presented to alumnus Chuck McDowell, founder and CEO of Wesley Financial Group LLC, who also recently founded Wesley Mortgage, the official mortgage provider of the Tennessee Titans. The award is presented to an individual whose achievements are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American system of free enterprise.
“Award recipients are role models whose business, professional, and personal achievements stand out for all to see and emulate,” Jones College Dean David Urban said. “Chuck believes in promoting the entrepreneurial spirit in young people; he has contributed his time, talent, and treasure to enhance our undergraduate program in business innovation and entrepreneurship.”
• The Jones College Exemplar Award was presented to Lori Williams, controller for Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. This award goes to a graduate of the Jones College whose personal and professional behavior set an excellent example for current students and alumni.
A seasoned accounting professional and CPA, Williams has over 35 years of experience in financial management and leadership. Williams received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from MTSU.
• The Spirit of America Award was presented to Jeff Ballard, a Middle Tennessee native who joined Delta Dental of Tennessee as chief financial officer in 2015 and moved into his current position as president in 2022. The award commemorates the extraordinary accomplishments of the late Ambassador Joe M. Rodgers in business, government, education and charitable endeavors.
A CPA, Ballard earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from MTSU.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)