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Derek Tyrone Starling, Sr., is one of the leaders from various industries who were among the Mississippi State alumni whom the Bagley College of Engineering recognized for their accomplishments and commitment to the engineering field at the 2024 Distinguished Engineering Recognition Banquet.

He is a resident of Madison, MS, and is a Principal at SOL Engineering Services, a leading firm specializing in professional engineering, research and development, project management, and quality management. Starling's extensive academic and professional journey is marked by exemplary leadership, notable achievements, and a commitment to excellence.

In 1988, Derek earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State University, complemented by a Minor in Mathematics. His engineering foundation was established at Holmes Community College, where he graduated in 1986 with an Associate of Science in General Engineering. This led to his induction into the Holmes Community College Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding academic achievements.

A visionary entrepreneur, Derek co-founded SOL Engineering Services, LLC in 2001 and has since served as its Co-Founder and Principal. SOL Engineering Services has supported the Research & Development, Test and Evaluation mission space since 2005 with various DoD entities. He was Corporate Director of Quality and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) at Proliance, Inc. from 2001 to 2003. Derek also served as the vice president of Magnolia Management Group from 1995 to 1998 and in various engineering and management roles with the Baxter Healthcare Corporation from 1989 to 1995.

Derek's dedication to excellence is reflected in numerous accolades, including the Mississippi Small Business Administration's Person of the Year award in 2015 and the designation of SOL Engineering Services as a Small Business Administration 70th Anniversary Legacy Business in 2023—one of only sixty-eight nationwide.

As a licensed professional engineer in multiple (6) states and certified as a Certified Quality Engineer and a Project Management Professional, Derek exemplifies a commitment to professional development. In 2022, he was inducted as a Society of American Military Engineers Fellow. His affiliations with esteemed organizations like the National Society of Professional Engineers, Project Management Institute, and the American Society for Quality underscore his dedication to maintaining the highest standards in his field.

Derek is married to Daphenia Knight Starling and has one son, Derek Jr.  Beyond his professional achievements, Derek is deeply committed to community service and mentorship. He serves on various boards, including the MSU Department of Industrial and System Engineering Advisor Board, the Society of American Military Engineers - Vicksburg Post, the Holmes Community College Foundation, and the Mississippi Urban League Board of Directors.

Derek T. Starling, Sr.,
one of ten Mississippi State alums recognized as
2024 BCoE Distinguished Fellows

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