Meet Our McClain Family
Family is relative … meaning, it’s not always the people who share your name or genes. At McClain, our family includes those who dedicate countless hours to making this place the Unique Southern Experience it is. So now, we invite you to get to know our family a little bit better.
- Buddy McClainOwner & CEO
As a distinguished entrepreneur and Sonic Franchisee for over 40 years, taking on McClain Lodge was just a natural fit for Buddy McClain. Purchasing the property in 2012 with his wife, Joni, they have truly turned the place into a gorgeous resort filled with breathtaking views and endless possibilities. Since expanding the original property from 468 acres to over 2000, you can truly see the embodiment of Southern hospitality and culture in every aspect of the property. When he isn’t running his restaurants, or helping oversee McClain operations, Buddy can be found giving back to the communities in which he does business. He has served as a member of the Metro-Jackson Chamber of Commerce since 1999. Buddy and Joni are active members of the First Baptist Church of Fannin. They reside in the Fannin Community in Rankin County and have two daughters, Stefanie McClain Fairly and Mallory McClain, and three grandchildren, Knox and Jane Fairly, and Charles Wilkins.
- Joni McClainOwner & President
Joni McClain embodies the spirit of Southern hospitality. Soon after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, Joni began a fruitful career in marketing and events. In 1990, she opened EventWorks, Inc., a company that specialized in sales promotions and corporate events. Despite the success of her business, Joni wanted a way to utilize her sales, marketing, and special events talents on a national level. She joined McClain Sonics as the Marketing Director, and spent several years managing the marketing strategies and special events for the company. In 2012, Joni and her husband, Buddy, acquired McClain Lodge. Joni serves as the Owner/President of the lodge and brings her passion for event planning to every aspect of the business. Joni has been honored with several awards throughout the years for her contribution to women in the workforce. She is also a member of several different organizations, including the Mississippi Fairgrounds Foundation Board, Keep Mississippi Beautiful Board, and the Board of Directors for the YMCA Reservoir and Flowood branches. Joni serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, as well as an active member of The First Baptist Church of Fannin. Joni and Buddy reside in the Fannin Community in Rankin County and have two daughters, Stefanie McClain Fairly and Mallory McClain, and three grandchildren, Knox and Jane Fairly, and Charles Wilkins.
- Paul RuiterDirector of Operations
Paul Ruiter always knows when he sees something truly extraordinary and charming that is sure to make lasting memories. Getting his start at an early age into the restaurant industry, Paul quickly realized that he had found something he was passionate about: creating memories. From Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse in Gaylord, MI to Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants in Destin, FL, Paul has a demonstrated history of taking a restaurant and making it a place that is unforgettable. When he moved to Mississippi to open a new local restaurant, he received several notable awards: Awards of Excellence by Mississippi Magazine, Jackson Free Press, Houston Magazine, My Table Magazine, Grand Rapids Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Spectator. Paul join the McClain Family in July of 2019 as our Director of Operations. Paul has been married to his lovely wife Kim for 34 years. They have 2 sons together, William & Cody. They are excited to welcome their first granddaughter to their family.
- Angela MeasellsGeneral Manager, McClain Lodge and McClain Catering
To Angela Measells, there is no such thing as a stranger, just a friend she hasn’t met yet. Born and raised in Rankin County, Angela holds a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management and Travel Tourism. Angela got her start as a front of house manager for Up the Creek in Flowood. She left to focus on her family, but soon came to miss her career. She joined the Rankin County Chamber of Commerce as an event planner and knew that she had found what she was passionate about. She joined VIP Grand events as a Sales/Event planner for Luckett Lodge. When the McClains purchased the lodge property in 2012, Angela stayed on and, in 2015, became the Event Director for McClain Lodge. In 2017, she was promoted to General Manager of McClain Lodge, and oversees all its events. Angela’s passion for event planning comes from the people that she meets. She adores helping each client, taking their ideas and then executing them flawlessly into an experience of a lifetime. When she isn’t finalizing details of a wedding, or organizing her staff to execute a corporate event, Angela can be found spending time with her husband, Brian, and their 3 sons, Bailey, Brooks, and Riley. The Measells are members of New Liberty Baptist Church.
- Jonathan MitchellExecutive Chef
Jonathan knows what it takes to leave a lasting impression. With over sixteen years of experience under his belt, Jonathan is no stranger to the ends and outs of what it takes to run a successful kitchen. Jonathan got his love of cooking from his grandmothers and it grew with each family cookout and function. From there it was only natural for him to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts from Hinds Community College. Upon completion of his schooling at Hinds, he joined Valley Services as a chef. From there he moved to take over as area director for Escambia County Schools before accepting a position with Texas State University as their Director of Dining Services. Wanting to move back home to be closer to family, in 2015 he accepted the Executive Chef position at Hinds Community College through Valley Services. While working at Valley Services, he received his Bachelor’s from Mississippi University for Women in Culinary Sciences. From the beginning of his culinary journey, Jonathan has shown a delightful innovation to food and McClain Resort is no exception. Jonathan joined the McClain family in July of 2020. Jonathan has been married to his wife Jamie for 18 years. They have two children together, Jewel and Jax.
- Matt JurneySafari Park Director
“It’s hard to call it work when you can’t wait to get back out there every day!”
In the world of McClain Safari Park, everyday is a journey through the animal kingdom. That’s where our Safari Park Director Matthew Jurney comes in. Jurney grew up in Rankin County, MS working on his family Ranch “Lazy J Ranch.” With 20 years of working with horses on the ranch, it is no surprise that Jurney has been wrangling animals since he was old enough to walk. Jurney knew he wanted a career that combined his love of seeing people happy and smiling with his passion for animals. When the opportunity came to work with exotic animals at McClain, Jurney leapt at the opportunity to combine his love of animals with his 10 years of customer service experience! In his spare time, Jurney can be found spending time with his family & friends, enjoying time riding horses at his family's ranch or mud riding with some very close friends.
- Melissa BreedloveGeneral Store Manager
Melissa’s personality explodes with enthusiasm and southern hospitality making her role as General Store Manager very fitting. Melissa makes every effort to make sure all guests to McClain Resort have a cherished unique southern experience. Melissa channeled her early career in Residential Real Estate and was named ERA Real Estate Professionals Top Listing and Sales Agent numerous years from 1999-2017. To this day, she values the experiences and friendships she made throughout the years helping clients turned friends with their most valuable life investments and knows that season of her life prepared her for her current success with McClain General Store. She began her Management career with McClain General Store in 2018. Her passion is befriending all those who visit, ensuring they feel welcome and excited to schedule their next visit.
Melissa is a proud Mother of three; Wess, Cole, and Emma and cherishes one of her favorite roles as Grandmother to Trace. She has instilled in each of them her personality traits of enthusiasm, loyalty, honesty, and integrity. She has taught them that immeasurable success comes from hard work, dedication, and their love and faith in God.
- Sean NeelyMaintenance and Grounds Manager
Sean Neely knows business and business management. Raised in Rankin County, Sean has been in business management for over 20 years. He got his start in the MS Air National Guard and served from 1991 to 2013. For service during four deployments, Sean was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal. During this time, Sean also ran and operated a security business known as Neely Security with his father, Richard Neely. Upon leaving the Guard, Sean became a district manager for a chain of local pawn shops. It was during this time that Sean met Buddy McClain and knew that he wanted to help grow the business.
Sean joined the McClain family in 2017. When Sean isn’t busy making sure that things are running smoothly on the property, he can be found spending time outdoors with his children, Blake and Sydney.
- Robert AndersonFine Dining Manager
Robert knows how to create the perfect atmosphere for any occasion. As a native of Jackson, MS Robert has over 30 years experience in the Food & Beverage industry. Starting as a server at Applebee’s, Robert learned the fundamentals of bartending, which led to positions at local nightclubs George Street Grocery, Fenians, and Martin’s. Seeing an opportunity to work at Kats Wine Cellar, it was here that Robert discovered his passion for wine and received his Court of Master Sommeliers in 2006, of which he has been an active member of ever since. Wanting to combined his passion for customer service with his love of wine, Robert accepted a position with the Jackson Convention Complex as their Catering Sales Manager. Robert joined the McClain family in 2019 as our Fine Dining Manager. When he's not busy chasing a new wine, on Saturdays Robert can be found saying “Roll Tide,” while on Sundays he’s a fervent member of the Who Dat nation