(Jackson, Mississippi)—Governor Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of John Palmer, of Jackson, to the Southern Technology Council of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a non-partisan public policy think tank created to develop and advance economic development policies in the Southern region of the United States.
“John is extremely well-qualified for this appointment,” Governor Barbour said. “He has extensive leadership experience, as well as a long history of serving the state. I am confident he will be an asset to this board and will serve the citizens of Mississippi well.”
Palmer is an entrepreneur, telecommunications pioneer, and community leader. He began his career in telecommunications with the purchase of a local radio common carrier in 1965. By 1973, he had developed more than nine regional paging companies throughout the South. That year, he formed Mobile Communications Corporation of America (MCCA). During his 16-year tenure as chairman and president, MCCA grew to become a significant force in the cellular telephone business. In 1989, Palmer sold MCCA to BellSouth but retained certain businesses that became SkyTel Communications, which became a leader in advanced wireless messaging and deployed the first nationwide two-way wireless messaging network. Palmer served as Chairman of SkyTel until its sale to MCI WorldCom in 1999. Palmer was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Portugal by President George W. Bush and held the post from 2001- 2005. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Palmer was Chairman of GulfSouth Capital, Inc. He was also appointed by President Bush to sit on the President’s Export Council as a Private Sector Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and by President Reagan as the Private Sector Trade Advisor to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. A native of Mississippi, Palmer received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Mississippi.