Gil Lackey – Chairman of the Board
Gil Lackey focused primarily on writing humor stories for magazines until just a few years ago. When he became president of the Cumberland Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Lackey began writing just to fill the pages of the monthly newsletter.
He subsequently started publishing how-to pieces in regional outdoor magazines. “After about six months, I had already exhausted my knowledge of the outdoors,” Lackey says. “Fortunately, my familiarity with “How Not To” seems to be boundless, so that has become my bread and butter.”
Lackey has served as president of the Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association and is currently the SEOPA second vice president. “The SEOPA family has been an incredible resource for helping me grow as an outdoor writer,” Lackey says.
Lackey enjoys trail cameras, fly fishing, bowhunting and underwater photography, but his true passion is conservation. He is a self-proclaimed grammar geek and he holds the dubious distinction of having won several carp fly fishing tournaments. Lackey and his wife Elizabeth are the proud parents of one-year-old twins who provide a continuous stream of fodder for Gil’s humor writing.
David Hawkins – President
David Hawkins, a Mississippi native, began his outdoor writing career in 1990 with a weekly newspaper column in the Scott County Times. That weekly column led to a position as sports editor. In 2003 Hawkins left the Times and became editor of the Spirit of Morton, another weekly newspaper. He joined the monthly state-wide magazine Mississippi Woods and Waters in 2005 as editor. Later that year Hawkins accepted a position with Mississippi Outdoors as associate editor of the bi-monthly magazine.
Hawkins’ credits over the years include: Mississippi Outdoors, Mississippi Sportsman, Mississippi Woods and Waters, Mississippi Lands and Lodges, Crappie, Camping Life, Cabela’s Online, Rifle and Shotgun Sport Shooting, Mississippi Game and Fish, Mississippi Digital Daily, and more than a dozen newspapers. Hawkins is an avid freelance writer, photographer and speaker and is launching two websites: the “Southeastern Outdoor Journal” and “Outdoors by David Hawkins.”
Hawkins joined SEOPA in 1992 and currently serves as first vice president and chairman of the conference and nominations committees.
Bobby Dale – First Vice President
Dale is the former chief medical officer for the Delta Health Alliance and former medical director for the Emergency Department at North Mississippi Medical Center, a Level Two Trauma center, in Tupelo. He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1974 and is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Dale writes an outdoor medical column for Delta Wildlife and occasional features for other outdoor magazines. He published a children’s book in 2009 and three turkey hunting books since then.
Dale joined SEOPA in 2007 and has enthusiastically attended conferences and served a term on the board of directors. He and his wife Martha grew up in Tupelo. They have two married daughters, two grandchildren, five “rescue” dogs and a cat.
Alan Clemons – Second Vice President
Alan Clemons has been writing and photographing interesting things for 30 years, starting with his hometown weekly newspaper when he was a senior in high school. He has lived and worked in Huntsville, Ala., since 1988 at two newspapers, and began freelance writing in 2001 for magazines, websites, and newspapers. Clemons has hunted and fished throughout North America, enjoys just about anything outdoors and pursues other interesting stories related to food, golf, and travel whenever possible. He is a SEOPA past president, has served as a committee chairman or on the board of directors since 1997, and is curmudgeonly. Clemons is married to the former Shannon Jones of Montgomery and they have two children, ages 18 and 16, two dogs, a cat, and a few voices in their heads as the college years approach for both youngsters.
Kevin Tate – Secretary
Kevin Tate is vice president of Media Productions for Mossy Oak, in West Point, Miss. He works with an in-house team of professionals who produce more than 100 episodes of original broadcast television per year, airing on Outdoor Channel and Pursuit.
Tate has been with Mossy Oak since 2000 and is also past Chairman of the Board of the Professional Outdoor Media Association. He produces a weekly outdoors page for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo. He and his wife Amy have two children, Avery and Walker.
Richard Hines – Director (2017)
Richard Hines is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in stream fishing as well as waterfowl and small game hunting, with credits in books as well as in state and regional magazines. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, and he recently retired from US Fish and Wildlife and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources after 39 years. He is a Boone and Crockett Measurer Emeritus, and he currently serves as vice president of the Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA).
About serving on the board, Richard said, “I feel honored that SEOPA has asked me to serve such an outstanding group of professionals dedicated to the outdoors and to our nation’s natural resources. I look forward to working with the board and membership in providing additional insight that will further improve and continue building the organization.” Richard has been a member of SEOPA since 2007.
Josh Honeycutt – Director (2017)
Almost five years ago, Josh Honeycutt applied for and received OJEFA’s Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award for SEOPA conference scholarship. He attended the 2012 conference in Johnson City, Tenn., and has never looked back. One of the next big milestones in his career includes service on the SEOPA board of directors.
“SEOPA was a huge part in helping jump-start my career,” Honeycutt said. “Since then, I’ve striven to help pay it forward by serving others in the organization. I take pride in helping people as others have helped me.”
Honeycutt is an avid outdoorsman who grew up hunting the river bottom of south central Kentucky. During deer or turkey season, you’ll find him high in an oak tree or sitting up against one. And he enjoys spending that time in the outdoors with his wife Kathryn, as well as the rest of his family and friends.
His passion for the outdoors led to a career as an outdoor writer, photographer and videographer. Josh currently serves as the associate editor and deer hunting editor for Realtree.com. He’s also worked for the National Wild Turkey Federation and his work has been published in nearly 50 publications and websites including: Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, North American Whitetail, Whitetail Journal, Game & Fish, Fur-Fish-Game, and more. He takes pride in being a member of SEOPA, what he considers the foremost outdoor communicators’ association in the country.
“Although I’m happy to serve SEOPA as a member of the board, I wish it had been under different circumstances,” Honeycutt said. “Wade Bourne’s passing came as a shock to many, including myself. Losing a colleague, a friend, is never easy, but the memories we carry live on.”
President David Hawkins and the rest of the SEOPA officers and board members have every confidence in Josh’s ability to serve SEOPA despite his apprehension about stepping into Wade Bourne’s seat.
“I’ll never be able to fill Wade’s shoes,” Honeycutt continued. “They’re too big to fill, but I’ll certainly take pride in doing my best for SEOPA, and honoring Wade’s legacy and memory every step of the way. Here’s to you, Wade. Godspeed.”
Tammy Sapp – Director (2017)
Tammy Sapp has worked as an outdoor writer, photographer, and communications professional throughout her 29-year career. She worked for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for more than a decade before accepting the challenge to grow the communications department for the National Wild Turkey Federation. Her career also has included private sector work as Bass Pro Shops corporate communications director. Today, she coordinates communications and marketing efforts for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hunting and game management division. An avid hunter, angler, paddler and recreational shooter, Tammy has a passion for conservation and sharing our outdoor traditions.
“I look forward to working as part of a team to carry on SEOPA’s tradition of being the organization known for fostering communications excellence while making people feel like they are part of a warm and wonderful family,” Sapp said. She joined SEOPA in 2000 and served on the board in 2006-2007.
Pam Swanner – Corporate Director (2017)
Pam Swanner has more than thirty years of leadership experience in the tourism industry throughout Alabama and the Southeast. As director of Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org) – a public/private sector non-profit organization – Swanner leads an association dedicated to fostering economic development in Alabama’s 23-county black belt region through the marketing and promotion of the vast outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, birdwatching, and others, and supports the marketing efforts of those representing the many cultural and heritage amenities.
Previously, Swanner has served as project manager for the Alabama Birding Trails development commissioned by Alabama Tourism Department; field researcher for Randall Travel Marketing, Charlotte, N.C.; vice-president of Marketing – Greenville, S.C. Convention & Visitors Bureau; executive director – Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and ten years in the hotel industry.
Mike Giles – Director (2018)
Mike Giles is a Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff Member as well as an accomplished outdoorsman, award-winning wildlife photographer and author who has spent a lifetime in the outdoors. He is a Life Member of The National Rifle Association and the Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society.
Giles has been a columnist for The Meridian (Miss.) Star newspaper since 1992 and a regular contributor to the Mississippi Sportsman and various magazines with credits in Mississippi Outdoors, Louisiana Sportsman, Mississippi Woods and Waters, Mississippi Game and Fish, NWTF’s Wheeling Sportsmen and others.
As a gifted inspirational speaker, Giles promotes positive interaction with youth in the outdoors and urges people to “Imagine the Possibilities” and make a difference in our world.
His first book, Passion of the Wild, is about people overcoming challenges and obstacles in life and excelling in the outdoors. The book is in its second printing and has sold several thousand copies.
Giles regularly devotes time helping as a guide and journalist with the NTWF Wheeling Sportsmen, Women in the Outdoors, and Jakes events. He also conducts youth fishing seminars and casting contests and has guided many youngsters and ladies to their first bass, deer, and turkey harvests.
Giles and his wife Kathy live in Meridian, Miss., and they have three daughters, Chandler, Jackie, and Mikayla.
Tes Jolly – Director (2018)
A lifelong avid hunter, Tes Randle Jolly entered the outdoor and hunting industry in 1994 as a turkey hunting guide at Alabama’s White Oak Plantation. Since 1995 Jolly has served as archery instructor in the Alabama Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. Her career shifted into full-time in 1996. She and her husband Ron co-produced 10 whitetail and turkey hunting videos. Jolly is an award-winning freelance writer who also offers wildlife, nature, and forestry management photography services through her company, Jolly’s Outdoor Visions.
Jolly’s work has appeared in Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Deer & Deer Hunting, Quality Whitetails, Turkey Country, Get In The Game, Farming For Wildlife, Southern Trophy Hunters, Wildlife Trends Journal, Whitetail News, Outdoor Alabama, and in hunting books and wildlife calendars.
Jolly joined SEOPA in 2002 and was voted into her first term on the board in 2008. She currently serves as chairwoman of the Auction Committee.
Stan Kirkland – Director (2018)
Stan Kirkland is no stranger to the SEOPA family. He’s been a SEOPA member since 1994 and served on the board from 2004-2009 in all offices. For those of you who don’t know, Stan spent an entire career of 38 1/2 years working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a law enforcement officer and public information officer, retiring on Dec. 31, 2014.
Stan now stays busy working with a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Panama City, Salvation Army Board and on occasion looks after two small grandchildren. Like most of us, he loves to hunt and fish and tell others about the wonderful opportunities we have. He and his wife Pam live in Lynn Haven, Florida and they have three children, all who are grown. He is a welcome asset to the SEOPA board.
Karen Lee – Director (2018)
National Wild Turkey Federation members have kept up with Karen Lee through her articles and editor messages for more than 15 years. After graduating from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., in 1999, Lee sought a career that catered to her degrees in biology and journalism, as well as both sides of her ever-running brain. Internships in forestry and outdoors communications led her to a job at the NWTF in Edgefield, S.C.
A mere seven months after graduation, Lee helped launch Women In The Outdoors magazine, landing the position of editor at age 22. Two years later, Lee launched Wheelin’ Sportsmen magazine as a benefit to NWTF members with disabilities. She maintained editorship of both titles until 2009 when the NWTF consolidated its publications. Along with the NWTF editorial team, Lee launched Turkey Country, the organization’s flagship magazine, where she served as editor-in-chief for five years.
She now oversees all of the NWTF’s media as vice president of Communications. That includes magazines, publications, TV shows, website, social media, graphics and the NWTF Convention and Sport Show. She’s also the co-host of “Turkey Call” television show.
Lee never shot a gun until she started working at the NWTF. Since then, she has hunted turkeys, quail, big game and waterfowl in 20 states and Africa. When she’s not chasing critters, she’s trying to keep up with her 7-year-old son and husband, who also works in the hunting industry. Lee loves road trips and live music, mostly 80s hairbands and especially Def Leppard.
Manager of SEOPA day-to-day business oeprations; editor/publisher of SEOPA News; CEO of the Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America, SEOPA’s 501(c)(3) educational foundation.