We would like to recognize the accomplishments of one of our very own, Class of 1973 Melissa Brown Herkt. It's Great to be a Southside Panther!
Melissa Brown Herkt Class of 1977
Auburn University Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering
Melissa Herkt entered the male-dominated field of engineering in 1977 and quickly began breaking the barriers to help pave the way for women in civil engineering. She was the first female co-op student and worked for Alabama Power for three quarters. Following graduation from Auburn, she was hired by Exxon, where she became the first female engineer posted overseas. In that post, she was a construction engineer on a $30 million project in Denmark. This post led her to head up several billion-dollar operations in both North and South America. She was then appointed as the first female construction manager for Exxon, where she led a $300 million refinery expansion in France and a $400 million project in the UK and Denmark. Herkt has spent a great deal of her career rising in the ranks and breaking new boundaries. She served as president of Process Systems and Solutions – Americas, a division of Emerson Process Management, one of the largest and most respected engineering companies in the world. Herkt was responsible for a half-dozen vital industries approaching $900 million in annual revenue. She oversaw 4,000 employees and provided cutting-edge process-improvement solutions. Honors include induction into the National Academy of Construction in 2009 and the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008. Herkt continues to provide for students at Auburn University through the Melissa Brown Herkt Endowment for scholarships in civil engineering. She also is actively involved with engineering student outreach and has traveled with student teams to Bolivia twice. Herkt is part of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, which assesses and reviews processes used in each engineering department, and contributions through that committee have significantly strengthened the college’s academic programs. Herkt received the Construction Industry Institute’s 2004 Outstanding Implementer Award; she serves on the CII executive committee and is the past director of Mascaro Sustainability Institute, promoting green construction. She has received outstanding alumni awards from Gadsden State, Auburn University and the Chancellor of Alabama’s college system. In 2014, she was selected to serve on the AU Foundation Board. Herkt resides in Round Rock, Texas. She is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.
My name is Scott Mayo and its great to be an alumni of Southside High. After graduating from SHS, I decided to attend JSU where I graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management and have utilized this degree in my career. I have worked in the insurance industry for most of my work career and I presently own an insurance agency representing Farmers Insurance. It has been a great honor to work in the insurance industry as I have been able to meet so many great people of all different backgrounds which helps each day be unique and never boring. The greatest thing I have ever done in my life is serve students over the years at Southside Baptist as a teacher and at Whorton Bend Baptist with the role of Student Leader of which many are students at Rainbow Middle and SHS. The combination of me being a Student Leader and a corporate sponsor of the Southside Athletic Foundation has helped me to become connected again with SHS and it has been very rewarding. I encourage everyone affiliated with SHS to be careful not to critique or complain, but to consider the many great and positive things that this school has to offer. One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31and as I have gotten a little older I understand more clearly that we have only one life to live and only what we do for the Lord will be what lasts forever. I encourage all alumni to not just be willing, but to actually invest in the lives of the students at SHS.
Scott Mayo - Southside High School Class of 1989