Archive for February, 2009

Mississippi Economic Development News – 01.23.09

February 23, 2009 Leave a comment

MEDC is making available links to information about the stimulus package on its website.  Go to

The Union County Development Association will be seeking a new executive director to lead it through times that are both economically challenging and promising.  Stephen Surles, the economic development group’s current head, will be leaving the post sometime in March to take a related job with TVA.


ReValver Mk III, the virtual tube-amplifier software developed by a veteran tube-amp maker Peavey Electronics, recently won a Premier Gear Award from Premier Guitar magazine and Platinum and Value Awards from Future Music magazine.


Business is a science, according to John Brandon (associate manager of existing business and industry at the Mississippi Development Authority), and he teaches business owners how to be the scientist.

The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation named Sara Carmichael as Chamber of Commerce Manager earlier this month.

Aside from massive job loss and a tightening from the credit market, the U.S. economy is prompting a shift in philosophy in Mississippi’s economic development pursuits.  Instead of devoting the majority of time and money to actively recruiting new business and industry to the state, the main objective now is to hold on to what is already here.


The company that could bring a $2 billion energy project and up to 300 jobs to Moss Point is working to meet a March deadline for the plan’s linchpin, $800 million in federal loan guarantees, local leaders say. .. “Everything is on pace,” said George Freeland, director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.

… free training that is being offered through Meridian Community College’s Workforce Development. It’s paid for by a grant from the Department of Labor and the West Alabama/East Mississippi Wire Grant. It’s an 8-week training in welding for anyone interested. “We put an advertisement letting people know about this class and it was filled in one day,” said Dan Talley, assistant dean for MCC’s Community and & Business Development Division.

Jon Maynard, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Thursday said he hopes to one day bring a large manufacturing operation to a site near the Highway 82 and Hickory Grove Road interchange. Much of the land is covered with trees.

The Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau is the best tourism association in its class, according to its Mississippi peers.

The 2009 East Central Mississippi Job Fair held in Philadelphia … had 52 employers and 1440 resumes submitted to those employers. The employers made 576 job offers following the job fair and also touted the event’s success.

(The Gulfport Main Street Association) is throwing its support behind sending millions of federal dollars for Katrina recovery to the Port of Gulfport.

As the arguments and debates over the stimulus package were going on last week, Supervisors Charles Fancher and Tim Pinkard, Kosciusko Mayor Jimmy Cockroft, Kosciusko-Attala Development Corporation CEO Steve Zea, city/county engineer Christian Gardner and Entergy’s Paul Powers were in Washington, D.C., to meet with Mississippi’s congressmen with the needs of the county.

Mark your calendars now – MEDC Summer Conference – July 22-24 – Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS


Mississippi Economic Development News – 02.09.09

February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Economic Development News – Week of February 9, 2009

To help reverse the job losses Mississippi has experienced in recent years, state economic leaders will have to do things differently than before, the leader of Mississippi’s top economic development agency said Friday.


Senate bill could strengthen property owners’ rights from eminent domain…If it’s passed, a bill currently in the state senate could strengthen property rights for Mississippians. But could it also stunt economic growth for the state?

The harsh economy has been unkind not only to many of Mississippi’s major industries but also to the state agency charged with bringing more jobs to the state, the agency’s executive director said on Friday.  Gray Swoope of the Mississippi Development Authority spoke about economic challenges and opportunities at the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s winter conference.

Mississippi lawmakers say they’re willing to give tax breaks and other incentives to bring more jobs to the state, particularly in a national recession.  They’re even considering proposals to grant a second chance to a long-delayed, financially hampered housing and retail development in north Mississippi.

Mississippi plans to spend at least $20 million in Hurricane Katrina recovery money on a new Mississippi Shipbuilding and Metal Trades Academy near Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Gov. Haley Barbour told about 100 people gathered Friday for the second annual Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium in Mobile.

Mark Keenum is the new president of Mississippi State University, but his message to a business audience here Friday underscored the importance of higher education in general to the state.  “We’re a major part of the economic engine of this state,” Keenum told the Community Development Foundation’s monthly First Friday gathering. “Our universities play a vital role in economic activity and generating jobs.”

The Governor’s Job Fair Network of Mississippi is sponsoring the East Central Mississippi Job Fair at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia.  The Job Fair will be held on Thursday, February 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is open to the public with free admission. About 40 employers will be on hand for the job fair… Gerald Mills, Winston County Economic Development Director, noted WCDEP had joined with the other counties in order to help draw a strong pool of employers.

City, county, EDA gather to debate funding…

RiverKings Game Supports DeSoto County Museum

Gaming tax revenue from Vicksburg’s five casinos was up slightly in January, but the year-to-date figures are down by a slim margin from last fiscal year. While many in the gaming industry speculated the opening of Riverwalk Casino in late October would expand the market and lead to more tax revenue, it appears to only be insulating the market from larger declines seen across the state and country.

East Central Community College in Decatur is offering a special “two-for-one” rate for designated academic and technical courses for the 2009 spring semester in an effort to assist dislocated workers, including those from Pearl River Resort, who were affected by a struggling economy.

Brandon named as Mississippi’s Boomtown in Business Week article.
Read the complete article at
Read the Brandon excerpt at

Mississippi Economic Development News – 02.02.09

February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

The 2009 MEDC Winter Conference kicks off this week with Economic Development Day at the Mississippi State Capitol on Wednesday morning, February 4.  A breakfast reception will be held in the First Floor Rotunda from 7:30 to 8:45 AM. A proclamation and remarks will be made in the Old Supreme Court Chambers on the second floor beginning at 9:00 AM.  All MEDC members and conference registrants are invited to attend.

Mississippi Development Authority division directors will be hosting a roundtable event at the MEDC 2009 Winter Conference to provide information about the agency’s programs and services. The sessions, which will be conducted in a “speed dating” format, will allow conference attendees ten minutes at each division’s table before moving on to the next session; a whistle will sound signaling the end of each session. 

MDA Deputy Director Whit Hughes will begin the roundtable event with a 10-minute overview of MDA, and Joey Deason, MDA Deputy Director and CFO, will conclude the event with five minutes of closing remarks. The first five minutes of each session will be delegated for division overviews, and the remaining five minutes will be set aside for questions and answers. Speakers for the roundtable event include:

  • Griff Salmon and Liz Cleveland – Global Business and Trade
  • Chandler Russ – Existing Industry and Business
  • Joy Foy – Asset Development
  • Motice Bruce – Energy
  • Wanda Land – Workforce Development
  • Jay McCarthy – Financial Resources
  • Richard Speights – Minority and Small Business Development
  • Steve Hardin – Community Services
  • Craig Ray – Tourism
  • Kathy Steen – Technology Tools to Better Work with MDA

The event, which will last approximately two hours, will be a fun, informative way to learn more about MDA. To view the conference agenda or to register online, please visit


The Delta Regional Authority has begun its grant process for 2009. Those wishing to apply for DRA grants can find a pre-application package and timeline by going to the authority’s website at

 It wasn’t planned that way, but Jones County Junior College’s Economic and Technology Symposium on Thursday served as a counterweight to current gloomy economic news.  A crowd of 200 students, educators and businessmen gathered at the Ronald E. Whitehead Advanced Technology Center to hear Success Stories of Mississippi Businesses.

Nissan North America’s vehicle assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi has received an outstanding achievement award in energy efficiency and management from the Mississippi Development Authority’s (MDA) Energy Division. The award is presented annually to businesses and organizations for successfully reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. 

Forty-seven standout Mississippians have graduated from the 2008-09 Class of Leadership Mississippi, the nation’s second oldest leadership program. A graduation ceremony was held on January 9, 2009 at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson . 

The DeSoto County tax advisory committee is expected to decide within the next two weeks whether to retool a wage and benefit formula used in granting industries tax exemptions and other incentives.Retooling the formula could have the practical effect of allowing industries to have the flexibility to pay lower wages and still receive tax exemptions, but that’s not necessarily the case, DeSoto County Economic Development Council President and CEO Jim Flanagan said Friday. 

(Editorial)  We applaud the Mississippi Legislature’s efforts to find ways to save money from wherever they can. But we hope the lawmakers consider the long-term impact of some of their actions.  An example is an effort to sell the state-owned jet that Gov. Haley Barbour and other state officials use. 

Chamber officials led by executive director Dianne Carson each year announce winners of Clinton’s top service and citizenship awards.  On Tuesday, (Chamber President Nolan) Aikens revealed the winner of an award that isn’t given every year, but when it is merited: the chamber’s Outstanding Public Service Award.  The winner is… 

With unemployment rates up and concerns of layoffs, the Winston Economic Development Partnership has joined with other counties in the area to host a East Central Mississippi Job Fair on Thursday, February 12.

Petal keeps growing by leaps and bounds.

A “First Impressions” team from the Mississippi State University Community Action Team visited Ackerman, Oct. 17, 2008 to observe the town from a visitor’s viewpoint.  Chance McDavid, MSU Community Development Project manager, said “First Impressions” is “designed to capture the thoughts and feelings of visitors as they observe for the first time the characteristics of a community.” 

Dr. Vaughn Grisham, director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi conducted the opening session for Leadership Noxubee Monday.  The county leadership development program is a partnership between the Noxubee Economic and Community Development Alliance and Mississippi State University. 

PACCAR Announces 70 Consecutive Years of Net Profit

Delta Airlines will offer new air service from Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus to Memphis International Airport. 

The owners of G&G Steel … laid out its plans, which could eventually mean as many as 140 jobs, as Tishomingo County Board of Supervisors President Brandon Grissom announced Thursday that G&G Steel would locate in the Tri-State Commerce Park near Iuka.

Too often we have allowed others to tell the story of Mississippi. That’s what Malcolm White, executive director for the Mississippi Arts Commission, told the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association last week.

Mississippi Economic Development News – 01.26.09

February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

While the city as a whole came together in November to celebrate West Point’s 150th anniversary, the city’s economic situation has been a dark one. However, in 2009, things might be looking up for the beleaguered Clay County town of about 12,000 people.

ThyssenKrupp will delay the planned start of stainless steel production at a $4 billion plant in Alabama, the Germany corporation’s CEO said Friday.

The Jones County Chamber of Commerce has been busy this month conducting ribbon cuttings, and more of the same is on tap for February.

COMMENTARY:  News that Toyota Motor Corp. will delay indefinitely construction of its yet-unfinished North American plant in Blue Springs, Miss., provides further proof, if any is needed, that government should not be in the economic development business.

On one side, Peter Ricchiuti thinks the economy could rebound before the end of the year.  … State economist Phil Pepper, however, wasn’t quite as optimistic,  …  (Both spoke at the) annual Northeast Mississippi Economic Forecast Conference on Thursday at the BancorpSouth Conference Center, entertaining and informing a crowd of more than 400.

A $20 million grant to create a shipbuilding academy could help local shipyards better train their employees, adding stability to the maritime industry, economic development leaders say. … Gov. Haley Barbour specifically set aside this grant money for a maritime manufacturing skills training facility, said George Freeland, executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.

In an effort to boost economic development, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has proposed an Entertainment District Act as part of his 2009 legislative agenda.

In the midst of economy that has shuttered several national retailers, a new retail development is set to open in Rankin County.

Lamar County should soon be able to pay off three notes totaling more than a half a million dollars if an anticipated sale of about 62 acres of land comes off as expected. … “Not only will paying off those loans alleviate the county of those costs, but also have the county in a standing where if a project were to come along, we’d be available for loans,” said La Sheba Boren, office administrator of the Lamar County EDD.

Key players responsible for bringing 55 new jobs to Holley Performance in Aberdeen gathered Wednesday for a reception at the facility. Taking part in the jobs announcement were Gov. Haley Barbour, along with other state, local and area government and economic development representatives, and corporate officers from Holley.  Monroe County Administrator Sonny Clay said the event was not just a celebration of 55 new jobs, but also a celebration of retaining more than 40 jobs already at the plant.

East Mississippi Community College is one of eight participants in the WAEM/WIRED initiative — an acronym for Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development in West Alabama and East Mississippi. One of the goals of the initiative, according to Bruce Hanson, EMCC coordinator for entrepreneurship, was to give students a meaningful education in business.

The search for the new director of the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority ended before it started.

Madison County is ready with a wish list of projects totalling $40.4 million should President Barack Obama offer an economic stimulus package for Main Street, USA.

Improving the appearance of Calhoun County was the charge expressed at Thursday night’s Calhoun Economic Development Association (CEDA) Annual Banquet.

Blendstar has announced commitments to build terminals in Collins, Mississippi …

Fletcher Field Airport in Coahoma County has been awarded a $29,000 federal grant for the extension of its taxiway, announced by Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker last week.

The Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce unveiled on Monday night a new logo and tagline for the county during its business after hours event. Cecilia B. Derrington, executive director of the chamber, said the logo replaces an older logo that portrayed row crops and a bunch of grapes.