Archive for May, 2009

Mississippi Economic Development News – May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told a Chinese delegation that even in an economic recession, there are trade opportunities between the state and its partners in the Far East. Barbour on Thursday welcomed the delegation from Changzhou, Jintan County, and the Qishuyan District during a trade and investment forum in Jackson. State economic development, business and other political leaders attended the event. 

Economic development officials in Newton say they are enthusiastic about a community growth study that will be conducted in coming weeks. Newton residents who will be participating in it say they are enthusiastic about their hometown, and so was their guest Thursday. Jan Miller with Mississippi Main Street met with the community to get feedback before a study funded by a wired initiative grant is conducted. 

The American Contract Bridge League, which has more than 160,000 members nationally, is making a $3 million investment in the move.  The not-for-profit organization has an annual budget of $18 million with 170 traveling tournament directors. The group supports 3,200 bridge clubs worldwide and 1,100 bridge tournaments annually. 

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Construction hopes to offer a breakthrough graduate degree in logistics, trade and transportation beginning in 2010 at the Gulf Coast Campus pending approval from the board of trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.  The master’s-level program will be the first of its kind offered anywhere in the southeast United States. Program developers said new and more-efficient logistics will be crucial in the coming years with unprecedented growth expected in trade. 

Despite high unemployment and budget shortfalls, Mississippi lawmakers are still focused on economic development. Just like every recession in our nation’s history, this one will also turn around. And the state wants to be prepared for when that happens. 

Industrial business booming in Hancock County – Right now PSL employs 250 people but within the next two to three months that number will jump to 305. Three new business have opened since Katrina: PSL North America; MAC, LLC, a plastic bullet making company and Advanced Fire Protection, a sprinkler system business.

Utilizing a $300,000 grant through Delta Regional Authority, Coahoma County recently began an project aimed at studying a potential transportation system which would be able to connect a Mississippi River port with Canadian National railroad in Quitman County.  The project – largely consisting of   in-depth data analysis and mapping –    is being headed up by Jackson-based Waggoner Engineering and expected to take six months. 

The 2009 Dixie Youth World Series will be hosted at the Laurel Sportsplex on Aug. 7-13.  Mary Beth Wilkerson, deputy director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Tourism Division, and Diana O’Toole, the tourism divisions’ Hometown Mississippi Retirement Program Manager, were the guest speakers at Tuesday’s event. 

Southern Diversified Products, LLC (SDP), parent company of Mythic Paint, has been named as a Mississippi Companies to Watch 2009 award winner by the Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA) in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. The coveted award acknowledges and celebrates high-performing, second-stage companies throughout the state of Mississippi, that are seen as driving not only the economy, but the innovative reputation of the state. 

Mississippi Receives More Than $356,000 in Economic Recovery Funds to Improve Water Quality, Create Jobs / U.S. EPA: Funds keep and create jobs to help prevent water pollution and protect human health and the environment 

More than 100 vendors are registered to showcase their products and goods at the 2009 Mississippi Market. The two-day business-to-business wholesale event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 4-5 at Mississippi Trade Mart in downtown Jackson.  Hosted annually by the Mississippi Development Authority, this year’s Mississippi Market offers a diverse field of products and services. 

A multi-million dollar project in the works could provide much needed water to Rentech and cash for a yet-to-be-named second party.  The Natchez-Adams County Environmental Infrastructure/Alluvial Lateral Aquifer Development Project would tap an aquifer under the Mississippi River bed that would be used to supply Rentech with water.  Wednesday the Adams County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in support of Rentech’s plan. 

Tunica, Miss., was the poorest county in the nation twenty years ago. That changed when casinos came to town and brought thousands of jobs. But the recession is hitting the casino business hard. Jeff Tyler reports. (Click audio link to hear interview with Lyn Arnold, president and CEO of the Tunica County Chamber of Commerce)

2009 MEDC Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .


Mississippi Economic Development News – May 18, 2009

May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Land: Eminent domain law works – The political debate over eminent domain laws in Mississippi reached fever pitch in 2009 as part of the national backlash against a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding government authority to take private land. Yet, the fact remains that Mississippi’s current eminent domain laws have withstood the tests of time and trial.

The Daily Journal asked (Dr. Phil) Pepper, state economist for Mississippi and assistant commissioner of research and planning for the State Institutions of Higher Learning, about his outlook for the state and national economy, which has been in a recession since December 2007.

Tate County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Janie Mortimer said, “Rail service is an asset to the community in economic development. We look forward to working with the new owners of this rail line to ensure that our current industries will continue to have a high level of service.”

A letter sent to the Mississippi Development Authority Friday could be bringing assistance to the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority.  EDA Chairman Woody Allen said the letter, which was sent from the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee and EDA, asked representatives from the MDA to come to Natchez to meet with local leaders to find ways to improve the local EDA.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield said the acquisition of the 66-mile line by Natchez Railway, LLC – an affiliate of Utah-based A&K Railroad Materials, Inc. – could translate into enhanced development options for Linbrook in the future. The line was recently sold to Natchez Railway by Canadian National Railway, which sold a total of 252 miles of track in Mississippi.

Few will question the fact that Mississippi is the birthplace of America’s music, and Tuesday Governor Haley Barbour unveiled new highway welcome signs highlighting that part of the magnolia state’s identity.

The city’s Visitors and Convention Council became alarmed last month when hotel tax revenues were down more than $25,000 compared to the same time last year.  But Jon Maynard, president and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said he has talked with the State Tax Commission and the problem has been discovered.

HEIDELBERG — Things are growing in this Jasper County town and the results can be seen in site work being done near Interstate 59.  Developers anticipate that a hotel and strip mall will be built in the Town of Heidelberg within the next year.

Gov. Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Development Authority will hold a China trade forum in Jackson on May 21.

A “First Impressions” team from the Mississippi State University Community Action Team visited Weir in November 2008 to observe the town from a visitor’s viewpoint.

Partnerships were on the mind of William Walker, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, as the two-day Coastal Development Strategies Conference opened here Tuesday at the IP Casino, Resort and Spa.

Lamar County is the only school district in the state to develop and incorporate economic lesson plans for all grade levels in multiple subject areas.  The plan was developed last year with help from the Mississippi Council on Economic Education, a nonprofit group promoting economic education.

A new tenant is preparing to move into Leflore County’s business incubator.

As Hartley Peavey surveys the economic climate on his company’s 44th birthday, the music-industry magnate is holding fast to the core principles that earned his company the loyalty of a global customer base.

Mississippi has moved up the ranks of bicycle-friendly states from 47th to 24th in just one year, the League of American Bicyclists announced last week.

July 22 – 24 – MEDC Summer Conference, Beau Rivage, Gulfport, MS
Communicate . Educate . Innovate . A Beacon for the Future

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .

Mississippi Economic Development News – May 11, 2009

May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Economic Development News – Week of May 11

The Arts Reinvestment Initiative, a new grant just announced by the Mississippi Arts Commission, will support arts-related jobs threatened by the weak economy.  ARI will provide one-time grants to nonprofit organizations or government agencies in Mississippi to sustain jobs in the arts that have been cut or are in danger of being eliminated due to the current national economic downturn.

Communities have a new tool to attract business and industry to Mississippi, a workforce analysis report produced by Entergy Mississippi Inc. and four economic development groups.  

At a time when the stock market is slumping, Mississippians are making the smartest investment possible in an uncertain economy: providing a better start in life for some of our most vulnerable children.  Together with national foundations, Mississippi’s business and charitable communities have contributed $5 million.          

A few weeks ago, McComb and Pike County received the results of an analysis from the First Impressions program, a state program that helps cities and counties focus on the future. The visitors, who were here last October, noted a number of positive things about the city and the county.    

Mike Webb is cool and collected, but when conversation turns to economic development, his enthusiasm is contagious.  As the assistant vice president of economic development for the Area Development Partnership …

Mississippi Celebrates Its Grammy® Legacy May 28th With Star-Studded Gala in Tunica Hosted by Governor Barbour.  

In addition to more than 250 students who graduated on Saturday, the University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast feted Coast businessman and community leader Jerry St. Pe’ who is now one of only five to ever receive an honorary degree from USM….As one of the founders of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, St. Pé now serves as a member of the organization’s board of directors.  

Gov. Haley Barbour’s proposal to restrict the government’s taking of private property died Thursday as Mississippi lawmakers ended a special session without considering his plan.  

Administrators of the local chamber of commerce, tourism bureau and a downtown promotional group have all agreed to rough terms of a deal to share offices at the Levee Street Depot, said (Vicksburg) Mayor Laurence Leyens Friday, but details of the agreement are pending.

Delta Council will host its 74th annual meeting at Delta State University’s Bologna Performing Arts Center at 10:30 a.m. June 12.

Jay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, told a Calhoun Economic Development Association (CEDA) audience that “workforce development” is most critical for a strong economy.  

Exports of frozen poultry at the Port of Pascagoula, Miss. increased some 93 percent, to 85,486 tons from 44,270, during the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008.  

Following Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation’s announcement of its MyHome MyCoast program April 8, the nonprofit organization received more than 3,000 phone calls from potential applicants within five days.  MyHome MyCoast focuses on closing the affordable workforce-housing gap in Mississippi’s six southern counties.  

The Growth Alliance president paid a visit to the Clay County Board of Supervisors Thursday — providing an update on the organization’s activities.  Jeff Rowell, who has been at the helm of the Growth Alliance since the beginning of the year, said he plans to start making regular visits to the supervisors.

Harrah’s much publicized partnership with Jimmy Buffett for construction of the Margaritaville casino and resort on the beach in Biloxi remains an important project, says the company’s central dividion chief.

Tourism is up in Grenada, according to Walter McCool, executive director of tourism.  In  the past seven months (October 2008 through April 2009), tourism taxes increased 10 percent over the same months a year ago.  

The WAEM Town “Designing our Future” Workshop included a hands-on design exercise that focused on problem-solving in a hypothetical town in Mississippi.  “Everyone who attended WAEM Town is a winner,” said Ken Dupre’, WAEM Program Coordinator.  “They can now bring this valuable community place building process back to their own communities.”  

2009 Governor’s Workforce Mississippi Reemployment Summit will be held May 18 – 19 in Jackson.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

Mississippi Economic Development News – May 4, 2009

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Big M/Diesel Express Trucking has completed the purchase of the Blue Mountain Trucking facility that was located on the Berkline/BenchCraft complex in Blue Mountain. … The Tippah County Development Foundation (TCDF) helped get the two parties together to satisfy a need by Big M/Diesel Express for expanded operations

It is this kind of proactive thinking — in pursuit of new investment and retention of existing business — that is at the forefront of Mississippi’s strategy to stave off the effects of the recession.

A bold step by Boards of Supervisors in Tishomingo, Alcorn and Prentiss counties could become a strong factor early in the economic recovery that’s projected by many to begin late in 2009. The TAP alliance…

Lucedale county and state leaders are being urged to create a regional rail authority to rebuild a rail link from Waynesboro to Lucedale that would serve as an economic engine for eastern Mississippi.

Gulfport is the third busiest container port in the Gulf, “and we plan to capitalize on that,” said Don Alee, executive director of the Mississippi State Port Authority. A “ground making” ceremony will launch construction of new port facilities in the next few weeks, and Alee said when the Panama Canal is enlarged from 106 feet to 180 feet in 2014, it will allow Asian ship captains to avoid the backlog at the Long Beach port in California and unload in Gulfport.

Wireless Internet access could be coming to the entire Delta if stimulus package funds come through. Mississippi Valley State University is partnering with Unserved Areas Broadband Development and Cisco Systems to seek $50 million to provide high-speed access.

Evon Emerson made some Pensacola business history seven years ago when she became the first woman ever chosen as president and CEO of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Today the Mississippi native, who moved to Pensacola from Maine more than a decade ago, leads one of the largest single economic development entities in Northwest Florida.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will call a special legislative session and ask the House and Senate to formally regulate the government’s use of eminent domain to take private property for economic development projects.

All four municipalities in Scott County saw growth in their sales tax revenue this year compared to this time last year according to most recent figures released late last month.

Thursday, May 7, will be a special day in Como. That’s when the town will become an official destination on the Mississippi Blues Trail. In an afternoon ceremony starting at 2, on the median of Como’s Main Street across from City Hall, a handsome blues marker honoring the late Mississippian Fred McDowell will be unveiled.

You can now listen to Mississippi music at Live Mississippi and watch Mississippi videos online during the day.

In March, Montreal, Quebec-based Enerkem Inc. announced that it will enter the U.S. ethanol market when it chose Pontotoc, Miss., as the site for its proposed 75.7 MMly (20 MMgy) cellulosic ethanol plant.

Buildings for William Carey University’s new campus at the Tradition develoment re approaching completion.

Charlie Musselwhite said he couldn’t stop smiling…. Other officials speaking at the dedication were Kosciusko Mayor Jimmy Cockroft, Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, chair of the tourism committee, Alex Thomas with the Mississippi Development Authority’s Heritage Trails Program.

You are cordially invited to participate as a delegate to the SEUS-CP (Southeast United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance) Second Annual Conference July 26-28, 2009, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Call MDA 601-359-3155. For more information see

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
601-352-1909 . .
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi