"Fort Polk is vital to the area. We hope to unite
the installation and the surrounding communities
to care for its soldiers and their families. It's our
-Michael Reese, Fort Polk Progress President
Board of Directors
Michael D. Reese is a native of Vernon Parish, Louisiana and a 1994 graduate of Leesville High School. He obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in finance and commercial banking in 1998 from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, serving as the President of the Student Government, a board member to the Louisiana Board of Regents, and the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission.
He is involved in a number of business operations to include logistics, warehousing, commercial air charter and commercial real estate development. In 2006, Mr. Reese was one of the founders and Chairman of Fort Polk Progress, Inc., an organization that focuses on working with the region of Central and Southwest Louisiana, State of Louisiana and the Congressional Delegation to improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families and support the mission at Ft Polk.
He is a member of the Leesville Lions Club, Association of Defense Communities, where he was awarded with the 2016 Defense Community Leadership award, Association of the United States Army, Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Beauregard Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (2013 Civic Service award), serves on the Board of Directors of Merchants and Farmers Bank, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rapides Foundation ($270 million public health foundation), the Board of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, a charter member of the Louisiana Governor’s Military Advisory Council, and a board member of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.
He is married to Morgan Reese, and they have a 10-year-old son, Greyden, and a 2-year-old daughter, Harlow.
Bryan McReynolds serves as the Parish Administrator for the Beauregard Parish Police Jury, and was recently appointed to the Beauregard Parish Airport Board. Prior to accepting his position with the parish, McReynolds was a founder, owner and senior engineer for an engineering firm where he remains an advisor. McReynolds is a registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana, and holds a specialty contractor's license for hazardous waste treatment or removal.
He has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University and a Master's degree in mathematics from Loyola University. For over 30 years, McReynolds worked in the private sector as an engineer for process operations and environmental remediation. He has designed facilities and managed site investigation to delineate adversely impacted resources including groundwater, sediments and living organisms.
McReynolds and his wife are active in missions to Honduras and Swaziland, Africa. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Kudvumisa Foundation, USA, which works to provide health clinics and economic development opportunities to the marginalized in rural Swaziland.
Avon H. Knowlton is a native and life-long resident of Beauregard Parish, fully invested in the in the economic development of SWLA. Her professional work is focused on ushering prosperity and opportunity into the region. She currently serves as the Director of Economic Development for the City of DeRidder and the Beauregard Parish Police Jury.
Knowlton, along with others, was instrumental in the formation of Fort Polk Progress. She consults and mentors community leaders and many chambers across Louisiana and the United States, working as a facilitator for boards, policy procedures, economic and community development, leadership programs, strategic planning, workforce development and project management. She is dedicated to working for a better quality of life for our military and their families, advocating in Washington and raising awareness for Fort Polk Progress.
She received her Certified Chamber Executive Certification (CCE) from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2012, making her one of only two certified Chamber of Commerce executives in Louisiana. She recently received her Economic Development certification from Southeastern Louisiana University.
She has been married to Edward Knowlton for 28 years and is the mother of Garrett and Dylan and grandmother of Bowen and Boone.
Clarence Beebe has been Mayor of Hornbeck since 2000. He also served as an alderman from 1997-2000 and from 1987-1991.
He has served on the Louisiana Military Advisory Council since 2012, and has been a member of the Louisiana Municipal Association since 1987, serving as an executive board member from 2011-2015 and the District “D” Vice President from 2012-2015
He’s served on the Louisiana Municipal Gas Association Board of Directors since 2000.
He’s been a member of Fort Polk Progress since 2010.
Scott Gammel is the Interim Executive Director of England Airpark.
Leroy D. Cooley is currently serving as Executive Vice President for Merchants & Farmers Bank, and has been in the banking industry for 40 years. He is a graduate of Northwestern State University and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.
Cooley formerly served as mayor of Anacoco, Louisiana, for 12 years. He also served as a member on the Economic Development Committee for the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, the University Parkway Development District Planning Commission, and the Regional Growth Management Team.
Misty Clanton has served the city of DeRidder since 2009 and was recently elected to serve as Mayor.
She was born and raised in DeRidder. Clanton is a graduate of DeRidder High School and has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from McNeese State University.
Clanton’s love for community expands into her volunteer work. She currently serves on many boards and works with many organizations including, Hope Village, the Agape Community Clinic, the Beauregard Prevention Coalition, the DeRidder Rotary Club, and the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce.
She was named the Up and Coming Business Woman of the Year in 2014 and was named the Thomas J. Morris Sr. United Way of SWLA Volunteer of Year in 2015.
Clanton is married to Duncan, who is the Owner/Agent of Allstate - The Clanton Agency in DeRidder. They have two children – Caden and Stella.
Rick L. Allen, a resident of Leesville, Louisiana, is currently serving his second term as the city's Mayor. He was elected in 2014.
He is a residential and commercial general contractor and the owner of businesses in both construction and trucking industries.
Allen is a developer and partner is numerous land developments including property management for commercial and residential rentals. He also owns Leesville Motorsports, a motorcycle and ATV shop, and is also a franchisee for PJs Coffee and Dairy Queen.
He serves on the boards of Fort Polk Progress, Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, Vernon Council on Aging, and is also the District D Vice President of the Louisiana Municipal Association.
James B. “Jim” Tuck has been President of the Vernon Parish Police Jury since 2007. He served as Vice President of the jury from 2004 to 2006, having first been elected to the jury in 1992.
He’s the owner of JB Tuck Heavy Equipment & Construction Company and JB Tuck Equipment & Auction Company. He has served as a past president of the Vernon Parish Police Jury and has also served as vice chairman of the Regional Growth Management Team. He serves on the boards of the Leesville Lions Club, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and Fort Polk Progress.
He also is a member of the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and the Vernon Parish Arena District.
Howard Lewing is the Mayor of Anacoco, Louisiana.