Archive for March, 2009

Simpson County Damage – March 2009

March 27, 2009 Leave a comment

TO:  MEDC Members
FROM: Michael Ingram, Executive Director
Simpson County Development Foundation


On behalf of the Simpson County Development Foundation and Simpson County, MS, I would thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts, and generosity during this difficult time for us.  Many parts of the county were totally destroyed by this tornado.  The City of Magee took the major blow, leaving the whole city without power yesterday, but fortunately, thanks to all of our electric utility providers, most power has been restored.  Many homes, churches, and businesses were destroyed or damaged by this strong storm, and although we are a long way from fully recovering, we are steadily moving forward.  The path of the tornado went directly through our industrial park in Magee, damaging Polk’s Meat Products and almost completely destroying the former Performance Food Group Facility.  A cell tower now lays in our industrial park after it fell onto our water tank, leaving major damage to the tank.  Downed transmission and distribution power lines are now the scenery in much of the park.  Even though we have a lot of work ahead of us to get things back up and running in the park, this was probably the best case scenario for the path of the storm.  I have attached a few pictures of the PFG facility.  Thanks again for all of your help and support.


Michael Ingram, Executive Director

Simpson County Development Foundation  
Simpson County Photos



Mississippi Economic Development News – March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment

(Letter to Editor by MEDC President David Rumbarger) If eminent domain legislation passed by the Legislature and sent to Governor Haley Barbour becomes law, we can wave goodbye to major economic development projects in Mississippi.


The massive Riverbend Crossing development on the DeSoto-Tunica county line, stung by the economic slowdown, got some additional time Thursday.


Mississippi officials hope to parlay $44.3 million earmarked for training programs in the economic stimulus package into job opportunities for the state’s residents.


Mississippi registered only slight gains in the latest population estimates being released today by federal officials, but the six Coast counties all showed positive growth, with Stone County leading the way.


Montreal-based Enerkem on Thursday announced plans to produce 20 million gallons a year of ethanol from waste at the Mississippi landfill in a project valued at $250 million


Can stimulus help the Mississippi delta?


The Mississippi Main Street Association Resource Team will hold a community assessment for downtown Laurel next week.


(Richard) Dreyfuss Says Battlefields Are Monuments to American Courage – Sites Range From The Famous To The Forgotten – Port Gibson, Mississippi — May 1, 1863 — On that morning, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Union army had crossed the Mississippi River and was …


Northeast Mississippi’s congressional delegation uniformly opposes a bill that would dramatically change how workers decide on union representation.  Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both Republicans, and 1st District Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat, all confirmed Tuesday they will vote against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act.


The 13 Appalachian states could create thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in energy costs if they aggressively pursued a strategy of energy efficiency, a report for the Appalachian Regional Commission concludes.



Barbour signed into law Senate Bill 3281, authorizing the Mississippi Development Authority to loan funds to Hinds County for improving water and sewer infrastructure, resurfacing streets and building a parking garage into a hillside on Jefferson Street.



The economic development magazine Site Selection ranks Tupelo tied for 2nd among almost 700 micropolitan areas nationwide.




“The purpose of the (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program) is to help those communities, and maybe more specifically neighborhoods, that have been most impacted by foreclosures,” said Steve Hardin, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s community services division.



The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Division of Tourism announces that five acclaimed courses in the state have been voted onto Golfweek’s “America’s Best Course You Can Play” by state for 2009.



Mississippi Economic Development News – March 16, 2009

March 19, 2009 Leave a comment


Gov. Haley Barbour also is critical of highway progress, saying the state’s economic developer, the Mississippi Development Authority, isn’t consulted by MDOT and gets involved only as projects need transportation help.

Seizing private property: A bill barring the use of eminent domain for private purposes could hurt economic development efforts.

A portion of U.S. 11 (in Picayune) to soon be widened to five lanes.

Hope Community Credit Union (HOPE), a community development credit union, and its sponsor, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD), are celebrating the grand opening of a new Gulf Coast branch located at 188 Porter Avenue in Biloxi .

As Cynthia Wilson walks along a stretch of Columbus and Greenville Railway line, she points ahead to a section of track not far from the main drag in downtown Eupora … “A lot of these small towns, like Eupora and Maben, they grew up around the railroad and they know how important it is for their economic development.”

The five-state Gulf of Mexico Alliance is seeking public comments on a five-year plan to enhance the Gulf’s ecological and economic health. The alliance’s first action plan, which spanned three years, ends this month.  The draft plan is available for public comment. To view it, go to To comment on the plan go to or visit the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Web site at

Beefing up infrastructure and legalizing liquor – among other actions – are key for future development around Jackson-Evers International Airport , a recent study says.  Growth is predicted to occur near airports. … East Metro Road would run on the eastern side of the airport, connecting Old Fannin Road to Crossgates Boulevard . Rankin First Economic Development Authority Executive Director Tom Troxler said the road will be valuable for commercial development.

No change from Prius, Toyota officials say.

The state’s top tourism official said Thursday night that tourism in Mississippi this year is lagging behind 2008, but numbers should pick up during the traditionally busy spring and summer months.  In an address to members of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, Craig Ray, director of the tourism development division of the Mississippi Development Authority, tempered his negative statistics with positive news of festivals and other events that have brought visitors to the state this year.

Legislature mulls end of inventory tax, a burning issue among business community.

Mississippi also is building educational capacity in this sector by developing unique research and development partnerships between automakers and the state’s universities.

Gov. Haley Barbour today announced the second Mississippi Blues Trail Marker to commemorate U.S. Highway 61, the Blues Highway .

Jackson County Port Authority commissioners this week gave Signal International the go-ahead for a federally funded deep-hole dry dock on the west side of Bayou Casotte.

Dr. Gary Butler is the president of Camgian Microsystems, headquartered in the former local operations of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. in the Multi-Tenant Building in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park .  The two-year old company is a spin-out from Mississippi State University as an advanced research and development firm focused in the area of microelectronics.  Camgian is a MURA  — or Mississippi University Research Act — company, Butler said. The act helps commercialize intellectual property created at MSU.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .
Member-to-Member Seminar . April 14 . Hattiesburg
MEDC Chamber Workshop . April 16 . Oxford
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage .




Mississippi Economic Development News – March 9, 2009

March 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Deborah Reynolds, president of the Petal Chamber of Commerce, said growth in Petal after Katrina was evident on the Evelyn Gandy Parkway, but now the city is looking to diversify growth by adding new businesses in the city’s new downtown district.

DeSoto County, Memphis’ chief local competitor, has hammered Memphis in the last four years in the competition for new industrial companies.^1785114

The challenges that the current recession pose are psychological as well as economical, said Bill Gunther, professor and director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Mississippi, during the Area Development Partnership monthly First Friday meeting.

Mississippi applies knowledge from Nissan project in training workers, landing plants and altering perceptions.

The Delta Regional Authority will host its 2009 annual conference in Memphis, a city that serves as a commercial and cultural hub for the Mississippi Delta. The conference will be titled “Models of Success” because of Memphis’ position in multimodal and transportation industries, two focal points for the Clarksdale, Miss.-based Delta Regional Authority.

Mississippi’s highways have not been built lately with statewide needs in mind, but by regional priorities that skew and sap statewide goals, a state watchdog agency reports.

While at least five other sawmills around the state have succumbed to the struggle, Columbus Lumber has resisted curtailment and still offers its employees 40 hours per week, owners said. Logs still arrive, the great saws and blades still bite and sales are still made, keeping approximately 110 Southwest Mississippians – mostly Brookhavenites – employed.

Officials: Masonite to stay in Laurel.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation informed Lauderdale County officials Monday that full funding for the I-20/59 Industrial Park interchange is now official.

A letter from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour confirms that the city has received the $600,000 through the Community Development Block Grant program. The city sought the funding on behalf of Fabricators Supply, which is planning an expansion at the former Fisher Marine property.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .
Member-to-Member Seminar . April 14 . Hattiesburg
MEDC Chamber Workshop . April 16 . Oxford
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

MEDC Professional Development

March 2, 2009 Leave a comment

MEDC has two professional development events in April.  Registration forms and online payment for both are at

1.  Tuesday, April 16 – MEDC Member-to-Member Seminar
What the ‘Port of the Future’ Means to the Economic Development of the State”

Don Allee, Executive Director & CEO
Mississippi State Port Authority, Gulfport, MS
Tuesday . April 14 . 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM . Hattiesburg Country Club
Registration cost $30 . Register before April 9 . Non-Members welcome
Registration includes lunch.

2.  Thursday, April 16 – MEDC Regional Chamber Workshop
Thursday . April 16 . 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM . Oxford Convention Center
Register before April 10 – Registration includes lunch.
Registration cost $10 for MEDC members (must be listed in online Directory)
$25 for Non-Members

Sponsored by:
Area Development Partnership (ADP)
Mississippi Development Authority (MDA)
Mississippi Economic Council
Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation


“START YOUR ENGINES PLEASE” – Registration and networking

 MEMBERSHIP SALES – NAVIGATING THE SPEED BUMPS”Shane Moody, CCE, IOM, President and CEO, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, Destin, FL  The economy has changed the shape of chambers across the country. That means sales pitches need to change.  Let’s get past the doom and gloom.  Hear about the ways to change your approach and make members realize there aren’t any potholes in the road.

Lunch –  LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US – AMBASSADOR PROGRAMS”- Rosie Vassallo, Executive Director, Madison The City Chamber of Commerce, Madison, MS –  Make your members an active force in your chamber by creating a successful Ambassador Program.

Deborah Reynolds, IOM, President, Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, Petal, MS – Learn how to be ready to take the checkered flag with retail.


“PUTTING IT IN HIGH GEAR John Brandon, Senior Associate Manager, Mississippi Development Authority, Jackson, MS – There are a number of programs available for you to use to add value to your chamber’s membership.


ZOOM ZOOM – FILLING UP WITH PREMIUM” – Carol Hardwick, Executive Director, Mississippi Economic Development Council, Jackson, MS – Your professional association – MEDC – can help you do your job well. Q & A and door prizes

Coming up in July —
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi
(details soon at

Mississippi Economic Development News – March 2, 2009

March 2, 2009 Leave a comment


No two economic development agencies are exactly alike.


Dirk B. Vanderleest, CEO of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Southern Region 2008 Air Carrier Airport Manager of the Year.


“As an eternal optimist I see our long-term economic future as being positive. As a realist, I know that we will face some challenges to our economy in 2009 and possibly into 2010.” – Mitch Stennett is President of Economic Development Authority of Jones County.


Blake Wilson, the MS Economic Council President, says, “The deal here is that everybody wins. The employers win, economic development wins, the cities and counties win and the people of Mississippi win because this will open up opportunities for economical development.”


Tishomingo County finds hope again


BNSF Railway Company’s 2008 economic development efforts were instrumental in the location of 127 new or expanded facilities in communities along BNSF. The development of these facilities resulted in about $4 billion in investments and the creation of more than 4,000 new jobs.


Governor Haley Barbour announced today United Chair, owned by Haworth Inc., will add at least 125 new jobs at its Bruce, Miss., facility. The company’s Bruce plant currently employs approximately 180 people.


“It’s a tipping point for our community,” Area Development Partnership President Angeline Godwin said. “It has the potential to take us to another level beyond our linear improvement as a health-care center.”


The Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review told the Mississippi House Ways and Means Committee that the economic impact of the federal stimulus package on the state could equal $5.12 billion, (equivalent to almost 6 percent of Mississippi’s Gross State Product) after tax breaks.


Greenwood-Leflore Airport has begun recruitment of aviation-related companies to locate at the 840-acre facility through an economic development initiative created by local partners to boost the regional economy, according to a statement from the airport.


Mississippi State University’s Franklin Furniture Institute is looking to help boost the state’s furniture exports through a new initiative with state and federal government agencies. The university announced that it has partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority’s International Trade Office and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Mississippi Export Assistance Center to form the Export Resource Service.


Port Gibson, Rolling Fork win grants.  Each will have $10,000 to promote town history.


Jackson County finds positives in business growth.