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Mayor Announces Chief Communications Officer for the City of Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Thursday, July 11, 2024, Mayor Toby Barker announced the appointment of John Austin Arender as the City of Hattiesburg’s chief communications officer.

Arender has served as the city’s deputy communications officer since January. His former roles include working as director of video production at Noble Motive and media director of The Church at 4Points. He succeeds Samantha McCain, who served as the city’s chief communications officer from 2017 to 2024.

“John Austin Arender possesses a strong range of skills that go beyond basic writing, photography, video production and graphic design,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “He knows how to adapt all of these to whichever platform is needed to effectively communicate information to different audiences. Furthermore, he has the demeanor and wisdom needed to navigate a very dynamic media environment.”

A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in public relations, Arender is a native of Brandon. HIs wife, Julie, serves as an assistant principal at Hattiesburg High School.

“I’m excited to be able to give back in a small way to the city that has given me so much,” Arender said. “Hattiesburg has such a unique story that deserves to be told, and I look forward to continuing this office’s legacy of doing that well.”

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