JACKSON, Miss.- The Mississippi Transportation Institute (MTI) has honored Mississippi Transportation Commission Commissioner, Dick Hall, with the Owen Cooper Memorial Award. Hall was presented with the award at the 2016 MTI Conference luncheon at the Jackson Convention Center.
The Owen Cooper Memorial Award is given to an individual that has supported and promoted the transportation community in Mississippi in the best way possible. In the past, State Representative John David Penebaker, Gil Charmichael, John Tabb, Tommy Wallace, Rep. Billy McCoy and Senator Thad Cochran have been given this award.
“Commissioner Hall exhibits all of the qualities that this award embodies,” said Ray Balentine, MTI President and Vice President of Michael Baker International. “It was an honor and a privilege to present him with the Owen Cooper Memorial Award at this years conference. Like Mr. Cooper, Commissioner Hall has been a leader and advocate for transportation in Mississippi in further developing economic growth in our state.”
Hall served in the Mississippi Legislature for 24 years and was also the Chairman of the Mississippi Transportation Commission. He was then appointed as the Central District Transportation Commissioner by Gov. Kirk Fordice in 1991 to fill the previous commissioner’s remaining term. He was then elected to his own term and has been reelected four times since.
The award is in memory of Owen Cooper, who had a vision for future transportation needs in Mississippi. He recognized the importance of a first class transportation system in order to grow the state economically.
“Mr. Cooper was one of the early leaders for trasportation in Mississippi and was an advocate for the 1987 Four Lane Highway Program that would positively affect transportation in our state for years to come,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath.”I can think of no one that defines what this award means more than Commisioner Hall, nor can I think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”