Archive for June, 2009

Mississippi Economic Development News – June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009 Leave a comment

United Solutions, a manufacturer of plastic house wares, announced this week that it is expanding operations at its manufacturing facility in Sardis by adding a minimum of 20 jobs, equipment and infrastructure.  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 11 organizations to receive $6.9 million in loans to spur economic development and create or save an estimated 465 jobs in rural communities. – … (2) counties in the Mississippi Delta… The funds go to community development or regional planning groups who then re-lend the money to local businesses. The loans must be used to create or retain jobs by starting or expanding businesses.

In addition to Wednesday’s program, the Mississippi Development Authority is among those groups that have set up a Web site with information about the more than $71 million it will distribute. MDA money primarily will go to community development, energy and economic development and bond financing.

Speaking in West Point Thursday, the director of Golden Triangle Regional Airport said “We’re a mirror of the local economy.”  … Over the past six years, he continued, more than $3 billion of new investment has come into the region, much of that occurring within the vicinity of the airport.

German Filmmakers to Focus on Vicksburg

(Mayor-elect Parker)Wiseman has met multiple times with Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jon Maynard and joined him on a trip to Jackson to meet with Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Gray Swoope and his staff to discuss development opportunities and challenges facing the city.

Jackson County Economic Development Director George Freeland said the addition of the taxiway allows Northrop Grumman to complete more of the Fire Scout testing in Moss Point. This could create at least 16 more jobs at the center, Freeland said.

Viking Range Corp.’s dishwasher plant is showing that not everything is down in this economy.  This morning the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce held another in a series of its Industry Breakfast Tours.  Beth Stevens, executive director of the chamber, said the tour …

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street communities and member towns at a Blues Reception and Annual Awards Luncheon held (June 25) at the Old Capitol Inn. List of award winners:

The TAP Alliance, an effort to join Tishomingo, Alcorn and Prentiss counties to cooperate on economic development projects, is founded on the principal that success in one area can benefit all.  Tishomingo County Development Foundation Executive Director Gary Matthews, says money does not recognize political boundaries, nor does the workforce.

The Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division announces that three Mississippi cities – Pascagoula, Vicksburg and Greenville – are ranked by Outdoor Life magazine in the top towns for hunters and anglers to live in its June/July 2009 issue.

As links in a chain provide support and stability, so can “business clusters” for the forest products industry, according to a new report by Mississippi State University’s (MSU’s) Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

MEDC 2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi
Sponsor deadline . July 1 . (for program listing)
Registration deadline . July 10
601-352-1909 .


Gearing Up With Social Media @ MEDC 2009 Summer Conference

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Be sure to keep up with MEDC on Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and this Blog as we get ready for the MEDC 2009 Summer Conference.

We, with the help of the Internet Aces, some tech savvy folks from the Mississippi Development Authority’s IT Department, will be demonstrating and giving conference attendees a chance to use these new forms of social interaction. We’ll be posting more information in the coming days and weeks about what you can expect from this year’s Summer Conference (July 22-24 at Beau Rivage, Biloxi).

Mississippi Economic Development News – June 22, 2009

June 24, 2009 Leave a comment

U.S. personal income continued to decline in the first quarter of 2009, falling 0.5 percent and encompassing 37 states, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, Mississippi and most of the Southeast saw a rise. 

Alabama has joined forces with Mississippi and Florida in Paris to promote the growing aerospace cluster in the South, one that threatens to grab new business such as the U.S. Air Force tanker contract, and is not above trying to tempt away aviation business already in Washington. 

A Starkville-based technology firm developing “next-generation” electronic systems celebrated a grand opening of its headquarters Friday with an eye on the future.

Progress is the name of the game this summer for the metalworking programs at Jones County Junior College. The college now houses one of only three Advanced Manufacturing Centers for Excellence in the state. New equipment has been delivered to the college, and nationally certified instructors at JCJC will use it to deliver advanced skills training in metalworking.

 SUNDAY MORNING WITH — Jon Mabry, COO, Miss. Development Authority’s Disaster Recovery Division

Officials anticipate the start of work on a new building next month in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park as plans to expand the park take shape.

Singing River Electric announced the approval of a $1.1 million zero-interest loan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Service and Singing River Electric to fund an economic development project in Greene County, says Singing River Electric assistant manager Mike Smith.

The last decade of the 1990s was a good one for Mississippi employment with total non-farm employment in the state growing by 14.3 percent over that period.  Different sectors drive in 2000s.

Turning right onto Charleigh Ford Drive, the motorist passes by more rows of trimmed trees planted in freshly cut grass surrounding a large, oval-shaped sign welcoming him to the Golden Triangle Global Aerospace Park.  While only a plan now, this scene soon may be a reality in the area surrounding the GTRA, Columbus-Lowndes Development Link Chief Executive Officer Joe Higgins explained Wednesday during the Link’s quarterly luncheon at the Columbus Country Club.

The Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) will hold a free Homebuyer Fair on June 30th, 2009 … in Marks, MS. The fair will be hosted by MHC, Quitman County Community Development Organization, and USDA/Rural Development.  Representatives of the host organizations will answer questions and provide valuable information about affordable homebuying programs, credit scores, and the homebuying process in general.

Horn Lake is seeking a community development block grant to build a railroad spur line to service a “significant expansion” of a local plant.

“We look at this as an economic development project, not just a nursing school project,” (Joe Max) Higgins said. “They have a targeted (construction) starting date of next spring. The building will probably be complete within about a year of that date.”

U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) joined the Mississippi Poultry Association to announce that Mississippi’s Third Congressional District leads the nation in poultry production, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 Census of Agriculture.

Last call – To reserve your room at the Beau Rivage for the MEDC 2009 Summer Conference July 22-24.  The block of rooms has been extended through this week, however, there are ony a few left at the reduced rate!  FYI- The Beau has a 72-hour cancellation policy.

Are you registered for the MEDC Summer Conference?  Please confirm at’09RegistrationsReceived.html. Check to be sure the Thursday afternoon networking activity you chose is noted in the far right column.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207
601-352-1909 . .
2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

Mississippi Economic Development News – June 15, 2009

June 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says he’s traveling to Paris late Saturday for economic development.

A $10 million wood pellet plant opened Monday in Stone County and company officials say the 12,000 square-foot facility will produce feedstock for alternative energy.  Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, took part in a dedication ceremony Monday for Piney Woods Pellets.

Area leaders learn to work together — City and county lines don’t matter, and neither do state lines when it comes to regional economic development.

The state’s economic prosperity apparatus (including Gov. Barbour and the Mississippi Development Authority) remains four-square in its optimism about Toyota’s future in Mississippi.

Terry, because of a chancery judge’s ruling last month, will annex about 250 undeveloped acres south of Jackson. Commercial and retail growth is expected along the Interstate 55 corridor.  “How this land would be developed would have a definite impact on the economic and quality of life of the town,” Mayor Rod Nicholson said.

A new institute will work on an energy policy to promote long-term economic growth in Mississippi as the state pursues renewable power projects, Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday.

The Model Contractor Development Program is the first time the City of Hattiesburg and the Mississippi Development Authority have teamed up to offer the workshop to contractors in the area.  The program is designed to educate small contractors on better business practices and increase their ability to be bonded, officials said.

Thirty-three miles of (gas) pipe will cross Hinds County, and 26 miles will cut across Rankin County.  Counties not only tax the value of the pipeline but also the value of the gas transmitted through it, said Blake Wallace, executive director of the Hinds County Economic Development District.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Program Director Kay Burton and Bank of Brookhaven President Bill Sones plan to promote the hometown and network with Big Apple businessmen at this weekend’s 30th annual Mississippi Picnic, a daylong showcase of Mississippi arts, crafts, music, food and culture held in Central Park.

Posters designed by Clinton’s own Wyatt Waters will be a highlight of the 30th annual New York Mississippi Picnic Saturday in the East Meadow of Manhattan’s Central Park.

According to author Ed Bee, president of Taimerica Management Company in Mandeville, Louisiana, we’ve come full circle. He recommends going back to community promotion and industrial recruiting. And, most importantly, he writes we have to give up on “one-size-fits-all” approaches to economic development.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission was correct in its decision this week to let normal proceedings continue toward a proposed “clean-coal” plant in Kemper County.

MEDC 2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi
Communicate Educate Innovate – A Beacon for the Future
Show your support — become a sponsor — and register to attend today!

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

Mississippi Economic Development News – June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009 Leave a comment

 Mississippi is becoming a magnet for companies specializing in advanced manufacturing techniques that also are seeking centralized logistics operations. With low taxes and a low cost of doing business, the state also is an attractive choice for companies looking for ways to reduce operational costs.  

Ridgeland – A city operated website to promote economic development was approved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.  The website will be designed by the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District and overseen by the city’s Community Development Department.

Don’t blame Charlie Beasley if he looks around at John C. Stennis Space Center and thinks about the possibilities. It has a lot of smart people and unique programs, and Beasley, after all, is trained in economic development. He can’t help himself.

No matter the time, the place or the condition of the economy, Jim Flanagan is sure of one thing.  

Oil-Dri expands Ripley facility. The expansion is an initial $7 million investment by Oil-Dri, with another $12 million investment planned.

The economic-development mechanism was designed to bring in new companies to the Katrina-ravaged area or to expand existing firms, making an investment and creating jobs, said George Freeland, director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.  

InnOvation Seating Solutions LLC has moved into the former Westwood Industries building in Tupelo and officials at the new furniture manufacturing company say they hope to employ 100 workers by June 2010.

Ouachita Parish is competing with Mississippi and possibly Alabama for project.  City has shot at 1,500 jobs…

Natchez area lawmakers are opposing the sale of rail lines in Mississippi, including the 66-mile line from Natchez to Brookhaven.  

A railroad coalition is also being organized, which will be empowered to act for the affected area. DeSoto County Supervisors have tapped DeSoto County Administrator Michael Garriga as its representative.  

Interested in purchasing the building, the Hills were approached by Dexter Thorton at Commercial Bank about Meridian Community College’s East Mississippi Development Corporation (EMDC) loan program…. “A consortium of eight banks covering a nine-county area, the EMDC provides assistance to area banks in making loans to new and expanding minority owned small business,” explained Victoria Liddell, MCC community development facilitator who is currently in charge of the corporation.

“With a city the size of Vicksburg, we need an economic development department,” Winfield said. “I intend to create that department and put economic professionals in place to work towards business creation.”

Energy, business, community and academic leaders in the state have formed a coalition to identify and promote energy policy that will benefit and advance Mississippi’s economy.

Southern Business and Development Magazine’s current list of “Ten More Law Firms that Understand Economic Development” include three law firms with Mississippi offices 

The contentious and contested mayor’s race in Ocean Springs is officially over. Republican challenger Scott Walker conceded to Mayor Connie Moran Friday afternoon at Ocean Springs City Hall.

In a specially called meeting Wednesday, the Adams County Board of Supervisors met with Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton, EDA Chairman Woody Allen and several local bankers to discuss existing Adams County businesses….was the continuation of a meeting that took place in late May, in which Allen, Middleton, three supervisors and representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority met in Jackson to discuss the local business.

A task force created by the Mississippi Legislature to find solutions to the region’s persistent poverty says a new proposal may be the tool that’s needed to spur economic development and improve the Delta’s health and education systems.

MEDC 2009 Summer Conference . July 22-24 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi
Communicate Educate Innovate – A Beacon for the Future
Show your support — become a sponsor — and register to attend today!

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

Mississippi Economic Development News – June 1, 2009

June 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Governor Haley Barbour named six Mississippi businesses as the district winners of the prestigious Governor’s Cup, which recognizes businesses in the private sector that have made a significant impact within their communities. The winners are being recognized for their achievements during the 2008 calendar year.  The Mississippi Development Authority, along with the Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) will recognize all of the district winners and announce the statewide winners at the annual MEDC awards banquet on July 23, 2009, at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi , Miss.  See the list of winners at:

A recent surge of industries and jobs in Lowndes County during the past year has rocketed Columbus near the top of a list of nationwide economic strength ratings for micropolitan statistical areas.  “This year, we actually moved into, I’d say, the top 17 percent of all micropolitan areas in the United States ,” said Columbus-Lowndes Development Link Chief Executive Officer Joe Higgins. “We’ve really come a long way from where we were a few years ago.”

“With the U.S. economy still declining, we’re seeing these large layoffs across the nation. For Mississippi to hold steady in its employment says our economy isn’t hurting as bad as the national economy,” (State Economist Dr. Phil) Pepper said.  However, he said the state’s declining revenue is reflective of the national situation.

Each year, Site Selection selects the previous year’s Top Economic Development Groups based upon various aspects. Community Development Foundation in Tupelo was once again named in this Top 10 Group of Economic Development Groups. 

The Port of Greenville will use $3 million from the state to buy new equipment and resurface its dock area.  Port director Tommy Hart says $1.4 million will be spent on an automated system that removes grain from a truck and puts in into a pit. From there, it goes on a conveyer to the overhead crane facility. (Scroll down)

More than a dozen community members and leaders gathered Friday at Columbus ’ Main Street office for the beginning phase of a September design charrette, an intensive planning session usually involving citizens, designers and others who collaborate on development of a vision, mission or goal.

The Hernando Chamber plans to move into its new headquarters at 2440 U.S. Hwy. 51 by the end of the week.  Angie Hick, the Chamber’s executive director, said the Chamber staff has outgrown its current location inside the old city hall building.

“Purely from an economic standpoint, if you had liquor by the drink you would have more restaurants and more convention-type hotels,” Rankin First Economic Development Authority Director Tom Troxler said.

How well do you know your customer?  That was the question posed to members of the Senatobia business community at a seminar last week. The meeting, which was sponsored by Sycamore Bank and the Tate County Economic Development Foundation, was the second to be addressed by John Brandon.

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