Brian Pugh | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Brian Pugh

Photo courtesy Brian Pugh

Photo courtesy Brian Pugh

Mississippi Business Journal recently named Jackson State University alum Brian Pugh, executive director of the Stennis Center for Public Service, as Top Person of the Year for Mississippi's Top 50 Under 40 Business Leaders for 2020.

The Top 50 Under 40 list recognizes 50 Mississippi business leaders under the age of 40 each year who have made significant contributions to Mississippi's overall economic progress, a release from JSU says. Of the 50 finalists, MBJ narrows that group down to the top 10 selects the Top Person of the year from those 10 finalists.

Pugh has held his position with the Stennis Center since 2019. Located in Starkville, Miss., the Stennis Center for Public Service provides training for college students and congressional staff members to prepare for public service careers. As executive director, Pugh directly manages all staff at both the Starkville office and the Stennis Center in Washington, D.C. He also oversees the agency's annual budget as well as development and implementation of programs to promote public service leadership.

He previously served as deputy executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, as fiscal policy adviser and director of finance for the Mississippi Governor's office and as a legislative budget analyst for the state Legislative Budget Office.

Born in Gulfport, Miss., Pugh graduated from Harrison Central High School and enrolled at Mississippi State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science in 2007. He received a master's degree in public policy and administration from Mississippi State in 2008 and later received his doctorate in public policy and administration from Jackson State University in 2014. After graduating from JSU, he served as an adjunct professor in the university's College of Public Service until 2018.

Pugh began working with the Stennis Institute of Government at MSU as a graduate research assistant in 2007 and took a position as a program assistant for the Stennis Center for Public Service in 2008. In 2009 he became a budget analyst for the Mississippi Legislature, managing state agency budgets for the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Development Authority.

In 2014, Pugh took a job as fiscal policy advisor and director of finance in the office of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, where he represented the governor’s office on the Mississippi Bond Commission’s working group committee and briefed the governor on budget and finance matters affecting state agencies. Pugh became deputy executive director and deputy state fiscal officer for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration in 2016 and remained there until taking his current position with the Stennis Center.

Pugh serves as a lecturer and public service instructor for the Shackouls Honors College at MSU. He is also a member of the Mississippi Home Corporation Board, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation and Mississippi KIDS COUNT.

His wife, Dominique Pugh, is a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission. The two have been married for 11 years and have two children, Robin and May.

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