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 1800, 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 on the Board of Directors for the Central Mississippi American Red Cross since 2007, and has also 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 Fairly and Mallory McClain, and two grandchildren, Knox and Jane Fairly.
- 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 is an active volunteer for the Central Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross, 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 Fairly and Mallory McClain, and two grandchildren, Knox and Jane Fairly.
- 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.
- 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 wife, Teri Dawn, and their four children, Brice, Kaylee, Blake, and Sydney. The Neely's attend Pine Lake Church and enjoy volunteering for Gravy and Grace Ministries.
- Shaun CattonDirector of Animal & Land Management
Shaun Catton has been surrounded by animals all his life. Growing up in Zimbabwe and attending school at Louis Trichardt in South Africa, Shaun combines his unique life experiences with his passion for animals. Having grown up on a ranch, Shaun is no stranger to raising animals and nurturing them. With his ability to understand animals, he has been able to take various species from some of the most exotic places, and acclimate them to Mississippi’s hot and humid climate. As the Director of Animal and Land Management, it’s not uncommon to see Shaun with his many animal babies following behind him. A true outdoorsman, when Shaun isn’t tending to the different animals, he can be found fishing or hunting.