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UM Business Grad Recognized for High Achievement
Doug Wilson, second from right, has been named the Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketing Practitioner for 2024, marking the second consecutive year that a University of Mississippi School of Business Administration alumnus has been tapped for the award. Wilson is pictured, from left, with Barry Babin, chair of the UM Department of Marketing; his wife, Melanie Wilson; and Ken Cyree, dean of the UM Business School. The AMS is an international scholarly, professional organization.

The Academy of Marketing Science® (AMS), an international scholarly organization, has named Charles Douglas “Doug” Wilson, CEO/president of Gulf South Management Inc. and a University of Mississippi School of Business Administration alumnus, the AMS Distinguished Marketing Practitioner for 2024.

Holman Hall is home to the UM School of Business Administration.

This marks the second consecutive year that an Ole Miss Business School graduate has been tapped for the award, recognizing marketers who distinguish themselves in business and/or public policy through success, integrity and high ethical standards. The award was presented during the 2024 AMS 49th Annual Conference, which took place recently in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wilson delivered a presentation during the conference on the importance of treating customers fairly. He provided insights into the way sales professionals should be trained and motivated. In particular, Wilson was among the first automotive retailers to move away from a margin-based sales commission model to a salary-based model, giving sales professionals more reason to listen to customers’ needs and desires.

On hand from the Ole Miss Business School were Dr. Ken Cyree, dean and the Frank R. Day/Mississippi Bankers Association Chair of Banking, and Dr. Barry Babin, chair of the Department of Marketing and the Phil B. Hardin Chair of Marketing.

“Doug was a perfect fit given the eligibility requirements for the award,” said Babin. “He has shown significant leadership in directing auto dealerships that he owned and has a noteworthy track record of achievements recognized by his franchisors for excellence in sales and service. He also epitomizes integrity and ethics in his marketing actions.”

Wilson responded, “Sales and marketing form the backbone of our free enterprise system, and as they say, ‘Nothing happens until someone sells something!’ As businesses consolidate, entrepreneurs and innovators are hard at work creating the next genre of businesses and even entire industries.

“This is especially true in marketing because we live in exciting times where artificial intelligence, targeted digital marketing, big data, social media marketing and good old-fashioned personal selling are sorting out the real winners via the best economic system ever created — the free enterprise system.

“My wife, Melanie, and I enjoyed our time at the Academy of Marketing Science conference,” Wilson continued. “Seeing the best and brightest from all over the globe who are hard at work finding marketing avenues that create sales and therefore wealth against a fast-changing, dynamic marketing ecosystem was an inspiration that our market-based free enterprise system is in good hands for many years to come.”

Wilson is CEO/president of Gulf South Management Inc., which manages the Wilson Auto Group Inc.; Wilson Kia in Flowood, Mississippi; Collierville Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram in Tennessee; Wilson Real Estate LLC; Wilson Real Estate Tennessee LLC; and Gulf South Real Estate Development LLC. Wilson won the Chrysler 5 Star Award for Service Excellence and the Kia President’s Club Award. Wilson Auto Group was named in Mississippi’s Top 40 Fastest Growing Private Companies.

The business leader was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1960, attended Jackson Public Schools, earned a degree in managerial finance from Ole Miss in 1982 and now resides in Destin, Florida. He began working as a young man at his father’s car dealership, built four dealerships from the ground up and recently sold two of his dealerships.

The Melanie and Doug Wilson Entrepreneur Award Fund was established in 2023 at Ole Miss to assist the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship through the annual awarding of a $20,000 first-place prize. The CIE issues this award during the Gillespie Business Plan Competition to a student entrepreneur venture team or individual who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through a venture driven by innovation in a product, process or service.

Wilson also gives his time and expertise to the Ole Miss School of Business Administration, serving as a judge on the “Shark Tank”-style entrepreneurship competitions and speaking to MBA-level classes on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Wilson joins an accomplished list of recent AMS Distinguished Marketing Practitioner award winners, including Ole Miss alumnus Lyttleton “Lyt” Harris of Harris Investment Partnership, Scott Smith of Qualtrics, Jeffrey S. Zehnder of Zehnder Communications, Ben Lee of Pierry Software and numerous Fortune 500 executives.

To make a gift to the Melanie and Doug Wilson Entrepreneur Award Fund, send a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or online here. For more information, contact Angela Brown, senior director of development, at or 662-915-3181.

By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development

*The Academy of Marketing Science Foundation is an international, scholarly, professional organization. It is dedicated to promoting high standards and excellence in the creation and dissemination of marketing knowledge and the furtherance of marketing practice through a leadership role within the discipline of marketing worldwide.


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.