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Mississippi DOT Announces New Chief of Staff, State Safety Engineer, Roadway Design Director, and Assistant Chief Engineers

Jeff Ely
Jeff Ely
Jeff Ely
Jeff Ely
Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas
Chris Nail
Chris Nail
JACKSON, MS — The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently announced the promotions of Jeff Ely, Mark Thomas, Chris Nail, Colby Willis Kimmel, and Jim Willis.

Ely was promoted to the position of Chief of Staff. He has been with the agency since 2002.

“I am excited to have Jeff in the role of Chief of Staff,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “His years of experience and extensive knowledge of the agency make him the perfect choice to be in this position. I look forward to working with him to keep MDOT functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Ely began with MDOT as an Engineer in Training in 2002 and went on to lead MDOT’s Planning Division in 2012. In January 2019, he was appointed Assistant Chief Engineer, having served over both Pre-Construction and Operations. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering.

Thomas will assume the role of State Safety Engineer. He began his career with the agency in 2012 as an Engineer in Training in the Traffic Engineering Division. After working as a Safety Engineer for seven years, he was promoted to Assistant State Safety Engineer with the Highway and Rail Safety Division in 2019. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 2009.

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Nail was promoted to the position of Roadway Design Division Director. He came to MDOT as an Engineer in Training at the Newton Project Office in 1996. In 2005, he was promoted to Resident Engineer of the Newton Project Office and served in the position until 2015. He worked as the Assistant District 5 Local Public Agencies Engineer from 2015 to 2017. He was promoted to District 5 Preconstruction Engineer in 2017. Nail graduated with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Mississippi State University in 1996 and a Master of Science in civil engineering from Kansas State University in 2009.

Kimmel has been promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer - Preconstruction. Since 2011, Kimmel has worked in the Roadway Design Division and currently serves as the Assistant Roadway Design Engineer. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and is involved with the Mississippi Engineering Society and WTS Mississippi organizations, where she has served in several leadership roles.

Willis has been promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer - Operations. He began his career at MDOT in the Planning Division and was promoted to State Safety Engineer in the Traffic Engineering Division after two years. In October 2019, Willis was named the Highway Safety Division Director. He received his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Mississippi State University in 1998.

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