DAFVM Spotlight Employees
Brian Utley   Marion Williams

Brian Utley
October 2014

Senior Extension Associate
Agricultural Communications
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 15
Years of Service to MSU: 15

The Office of Agricultural Communications relies on Brian Utley for educational video production with creative flair.

Utley produces public service announcements and commercial videos for the MSU Extension Service and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. He also produces long-form instructional videos, promotional pieces and some documentaries. Utley serves as an assistant producer and videographer for all segments of The Food Factor and Southern Gardening.

Utley said his favorite part of his job is the creative process involved in each production he faces.

“I like bringing out the best in every production,” Utley said. “This may mean scene lighting, creative humor, or maybe just finding the best angle, framing and exposure for the perfect shot. Probably my favorite, though, is the on-camera interview process, when it is so important to put the interviewee at ease and establish a comfort zone and connection with them. When that powerful, heartfelt sound-byte gets delivered, I know I’ve done my job well.”

Utley said one of his favorite memories is when lead videographer David Lack went against a crop-duster.

“David and I had intentionally set up along the runway wanting to get a really great close-up shot of the pilot taking off,” Utley said. “We thought we were well out of the way and not in any danger, but we were wrong. When the plane buzzed by much closer than we anticipated, David can be heard on camera saying, ‘Not real smart.’ It was priceless.”

Utley recently won a Lantern award, the top honor given by the Southern Public Relations Federation, for his gun safety PSA, “When Is Brother Coming Home?”

In his free time, Utley enjoys turkey hunting, writing music, and sports photography. He has been married for 16 years to his wife, Jessica. Utley and Jessica have three boys: Brice (14), Kanden (12) and Cooper (8).


Marion R. Williams III
October 2014

Agricultural Technician
Delta Research and Extension Center
Stoneville, MS

Years in Position: 15
Years of Service to MSU: 15

The Delta Research and Extension Center depends on Marion Williams to manage maintenance equipment, which allows the field work to be completed on time.

Williams assists in the field work that supports the research at the Stoneville center. He disks the fields and subsoils, sprays the tractors, drives the center’s 18 wheeler and cotton picker, and welds.

Williams says that his favorite part of his job is being able to work outside.

“I was raised on a farm. I have been driving tractors and combines since the age of 10, and I am now 39,” Williams said. “I also love helping everyone because there is not an (I) in the word (team).”

When Williams is not working, he enjoys collecting old tractors with his father. He plans to work with the Delta Research and Extension Center until his 50th year of employment.

Williams has been married for 12 years to his wife Shirley. He also has twin daughters, who are both currently attending college. One of his daughters hopes to become a teacher and the other one wants to become a missionary.

The administration for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine spotlights two employees within the Division each month. All benefits eligible professional and support staff employees qualify as part of the pool from which employees will be chosen. These highlighted employees will be randomly selected and will be given his or her choice of a $50 gift from specific vendors at MSU.


  • The drawing for DAFVM Staff Spotlight will take place the last week of each month and be announced the first working day of the upcoming month.
  • To be the highlighted staff for any given month, the employee must have acceptable recent performance reviews on file. Those reviews will be consulted prior to acknowledgement of the employee and awarding a prize. The evaluation itself will not be viewed but rather HRM will provide a general recommendation based on the employee’s past reviews.
  • The employee will be notified by letter from Dr. Greg Bohach, Vice President, DAFVM, on being chosen.
  • Photos and a brief bio of the recipients will be posted on the DAFVM Staff Council Web page www.dafvm.msstate.edu/advisory/spotlight/ and will also be displayed on the first floor of Bost.
  • Each recipient can choose one of the following gifts as his prize:
  • $50 gift certificate to the University Florist
  • $50 gift certificate to the MAFES Sales Store
  • MSU apparel item from Barnes and Noble ($50 value)

At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the DAFVM Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.

An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.

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