Archive for January, 2010

Mississippi Economic Development News Week of January 18, 2010

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The MEDC Winter Conference “REINVENTING, RENEWING, REFOCUSING DURING CHALLENGING TIMES” is February 3-5. Register this week to avoid a higher registration fee. Registration information is at

Abby Manufacturing, a fabricated structural metal manufacturer, has announced the expansion of its operations into a county-owned building in Benton County. The expansion, a nearly $556,000 investment by the company, will create approximately 35 new jobs at the Ashland, Miss., facility. Twenty-five of those jobs are already in place.

SUNDAY MORNING WITH Tony Jeff, President/CEO, Mississippi Technology Alliance, 40, Madison

Brookhaven Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield said in the year and a half since the report there have been amazing strides made in several areas.

Barbour said these examples prove, “We can create jobs during a recession…we can create advanced manufacturing jobs,” the key to which is training and upgrading the quality of Mississippi’s workforce to compete for high-tech manufacturing in a global economy.

Governor Haley Barbour delivered a State of the State address Monday night that focused on moving the state’s economy forward and spending tax dollars responsibility in the coming year.

While the Mississippi Delta still finds challenges in recruiting businesses in the retail and service market, the City of Greenwood has produced some winners.

If there’s a single unifying lesson to be gleaned from the economic success Northeast Mississippi has achieved over the years, it’s that collaboration and cooperation always beats parochialism.

“Our mission is to create employment opportunities, facilitate business and improve quality of life by leveraging Stennis Space Center as a catalyst,” Beasley said.

“The growth of housetops in Florence has been phenomenal in the past 10 years,” said Tom Troxler, director of Rankin First, the county’s economic development authority.

The Northeast Mississippi Economic Forecast Conference will be held January 20 in Tupelo. Speakers are Loren Scott, Phil Hardwick and Chris Rogers.

Mississippi Economic Council President and CEO Blake Wilson will be roasted by the state press association during a charitable benefit Jan. 28 at the Jackson Hilton Hotel.

Natchez can do what Tupelo did.

The committee of local elected and business leaders was formed last year with the goal of bringing together the communities of Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday for economic and community development.

Federal regulations have been finalized that will allow Mississippi communities to apply to have loans associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita forgiven.

Developing the Bay St. Louis Harbor is not about docking boats, it’s about charting a new direction for economic growth.

Biloxi mayor wants city to hire expert to lure retailers

New Orleans-based McMoRan Exploration Co. reported this week what could be one of the largest oil and gas finds in decades in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the overwhelming odds the couple faced when instituting Mississippi’s very first brewery, the Kiln-based beer manufacturer that employs 13 people has produced 7,000 barrels of its signature brews as of 2009, the equivalent to 2.3 million beers.

Music-product retailers have voted Peavey Electronics its fifth Music Inc Supplier Excellence Award in the survey’s seven years of existence.

Amy Heaton, executive director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, has resigned her position.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207
601.352.1909 fax-601.352.2061 
MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
MEDC 2010 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

MEDC is Mississippi’s professional association of economic development and chamber of commerce professionals.


Mississippi Economic Development News Week of January 11, 2010

January 18, 2010 2 comments

The MEDC Winter Conference “REINVENTING, RENEWING, REFOCUSING DURING CHALLENGING TIMES” is February 3-5. Registration information is at

On the first day of the 2010 session, House and Senate lawmakers breezed through the bill, which will provide $15 million in bonds to help Wilh. Schulz GMBH build a plant in Tunica County. Officials say the factory will bring 500 jobs to the region within five years.

Barbour envisions South Mississippi as a major hub.  Palmer’s Crossing rail yard could take shipments from several ports.

With the state’s business community struggling through a lengthy recession, legislative leaders are crafting potential relief.  When talking of pulling out of the recession, business leaders and lawmakers have repeatedly pointed to job creation, something both say will help replenish lost tax revenue.

The Southeast U.S. has a number of critical site location factors that make it a highly attractive region for expansion and relocation projects.

Economic development officials on Wednesday announced the first project to use funds from a $50 million education endowment pledged by Toyota Motor Corp.

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), today resumed scheduled service from Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss., to the carrier’s hub in Atlanta and added new service from Gulfport/Biloxi to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

Separate, independent audits presented to the Public Service Commission found no problems with how Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power Co. purchase fuel and will not recommend any changes to their policies.

State of the States – A Fresh Look. The following pages highlight recent corporate facility projects, new laws and incentives policies, updated FDI figures, wages, employment, demographics and Recovery Act funds facts in one easy-to-digest compendium.

Jackson, Mississippi, ranks 36th on the Best Cities for Business in the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.

Mississippi can’t afford not to provide these incentives to provide 500 quality jobs over the next five years in the state’s most economically challenged region.

The company (Nissan) is completing a $118 million expansion to accommodate the additions.–Toyota-paths-to-diverge-in-2010?source=nletter-news

The goals for the Clinton Chamber draw on what I consider to be the “foundational strengths” of our community – our effective city leadership, the excellence of our school system and Mississippi College, which is our anchor.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has named the 100 best values in public colleges, and Mississippi State University is the only state institution of higher learning to make the ranking.

The city of Moss Point has a new economic development director.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) has approved Entergy Mississippi Inc.’s quarterly fuel adjustment, meaning customers ring in the New Year with the lowest electric bills in six years, according to the utility.

Throughout this year, the Port of Gulfport Restoration Program has progressed from a conceptual plan to the design and engineering phase.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207 
MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
MEDC 2010 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

MEDC is Mississippi’s professional association of economic development and chamber of commerce professionals.

Mississippi Economic Development News Week of January 4, 2010

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The MEDC Winter Conference “REINVENTING, RENEWING, REFOCUSING DURING CHALLENGING TIMES” is February 3-5. Registration information is at

With the recession showing signs of ebbing, Gulf of Mexico ports hope hundreds of millions of dollars in expansion projects proposed before the downturn will help them capture more trade as the world economy recovers.

Alan Bates, Choctaw County Economic Development director, said Raven Biofuels is considering the EcoPlex as a prime candidate for a facility.

Mississippi gained an estimated 11,784 new citizens in 2009, according to a newly released Census Bureau report that sets the state population at 2,951,996 for the fiscal year ending June 30,

Gagliano’s little restaurant is one of five new businesses opened in Wesson throughout 2009, one of the most successful years for economic development the town has experienced in quite some time.

Grenada County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Phillip  Heard is to be commended for his devotion to his job and his community, even in the   timing of his planned retirement.

South Mississippi will see major developments and milestones in 2010.

The past few months have offered some signs of life, according to Jay Moon, president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

The Brookhaven Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce is a center for changes in the city and the county, and now it’s starting to change a little itself.

Mississippi Main Street confident heading into a new year

(Natchez-Adams Chamber President Debbie) Hudson said specifically the restructuring of the economic development authority, the recreation movement and promoting regionalism will be key focuses in the coming year.

Outgoing Clinton Chamber of Commerce President Nolan Aikens – One of the chamber’s main goals for 2009 was to help Clinton become more visible so that when the economy turns, we will be on the radar screen for businesses and others.

My administration, while focused on this critical legislative session, will continue to pursue job creation and economic development as top priority.

(Ocean Springs) Mayor Connie Moran told board members earlier this month that a new Economic Development Council would work as an ad-hoc committee on behalf of the city to attract new business and enhance the local economy.

The 99th Mississippi Blues Trail marker will be dedicated Wednesday at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.

The MDA has received $9.6 million to administer the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program and will distribute $175,000 to counties and $100,000 to municipalities.

Tax on soda. The representative (John Mayo) would like to see the money go to the Department of Health, Department of Education and the Mississippi Development Authority.

Golfweek’s 40 Best Casino Courses includes six in Mississippi

Southaven Dining Tax Could Feed Tourism

Here in Mississippi, experts predict that the state will begin a turnaround as well in 2010. Again, it is expected to be a slow and shaky one.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207 
MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
MEDC 2010 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

MEDC is Mississippi’s professional association of economic development and chamber of commerce professionals.

Economic Development News Week of December 21, 2010

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

GE Aviation is expanding its operation in Batesville, which produces composite components for the GEnx jet engine that will power Boeing’s new 787 and 747-8 aircraft. With the expansion, GE Aviation will add an additional 350 jobs over the next few years. The facility currently employs more than 100 employees.

HomeStretch LLC, an upholstered furniture manufacturing company, is setting up operations in Nettleton. The new company is an investment by owners William “Skipper” Holliman and Gentry Long that will create 140 new jobs over the next four years.

Alan Bates, Executive Director of the Choctaw Economic Development Foundation commented, “We are happy to be able to support Raven in its efforts to build a biorefinery in our county. We look forward to the potential job creation and several other direct and indirect economic benefits to the region.

Harrison County supervisors on Monday gave the go-ahead to buy land in Saucier for the North Harrison County Industrial Park.  “It will take between two and three years to get the infrastructure in,” Barnett said. He estimates the park will be ready for tenants in 2013.

Two Entergy projects were honored in a group of three finalists for Power Engineering Magazine’s 2009 Nuclear Project of the Year.

During the third quarter, Jackson ranked first among the 100 metropolitan areas in one-year percentage point change in unemployment.  The city ranked second in one-year change in housing prices.  Jackson’s goods produced, gross metropolitan product, grew by 1.5 percent when compared to the previous quarter.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. called The King Edward a phoenix risen from the ashes as he and others gathered to mark the opening of the King Edward Hotel.

Rentech, based in Los Angeles, owns the 450-acre former International Paper Company site on the Mississippi River in Adams County near Natchez. It has blueprints for a synthetic jet fuel plant and now it has something else. Last week, 13 airlines signed a memorandum of understanding with Rentech to buy all the synthetic fuel it can make, perhaps about 250 million gallons per year.

“If you’re an entrepreneur with intellectual property in smart materials – high performance materials – and you want to start and grow a company, we think we have a unique facility for you to do that,” said Cecil Burge, vice president for Economic Research and Development at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Despite giving a litany of dismal double-digit figures for spending cuts, Keenum ended his speech to the DeSoto County Economic Development Council on a high note at the DeSoto Civic Center.

The Mississippi Technology Alliance is offering a series of free webinars focused on preparing companies for private investment. Based upon the Goldsmith Commercialization Model, each of the eight webinars will address one aspect of the venture development process.

AirTran Airways has made public plans to resume scheduled service from Gulfport/Biloxi to the carrier’s hub in Atlanta and add new service from Gulfport/Biloxi to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

These partners developed Balance Recruiting With Entrepreneurship (BRWE) guidelines for the state and presented them to Momentum Mississippi and Gov. Haley Barbour.

According to Reason Foundation’s “18th Annual Highway Report,” Mississippi’s highway system ranks 27th in the nation in overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness. And, the Magnolia State was one of only three states to post double-digit gains.

The three-year, 38-state study that will include Mississippi will verify if high tunnels are effective in reducing pesticide use, keeping nutrients in the soil, extending the growing season, increasing yields and providing other benefits to growers.

MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
“Reinventing Renewing Refocusing During Challenging Times”
Registration is now open.  Go to for registration information.
A block of rooms at the Hilton is being held until January 3, 2010.
Sponsors – sign up now to have your weblink on the MEDC Conference registration info page.

Economic Development News Week of December 28, 2010

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

The MEDC Winter Conference “REINVENTING, RENEWING, REFOCUSING DURING CHALLENGING TIMES” is February 3-5. Registration information is at  Book your hotel reservation before January 3 and mention MEDC10 to receive the special rate of $109 per night.

Anderson Technologies has opened a contract manufacturing and precision injection molding plant in Batesville.  Current plans call for the plant to be operational in Feb. 2010.

“Education is tied to every important quality of life issue from income levels to health to economic development. In order to move Mississippi forward, we must graduate more students from our schools and institutions at every level,” said Senator Doug Davis, co-chair of the Task Force.  

Co-Chair Travis Childers of Mississippi said, “Basic broadband service is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity for strengthening our rural communities and fueling economic development. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC in creating a broadband strategy that works for rural America.”

Four months after opening, Kidz World Furniture is growing like the kids for whom its furniture is made.  The company, which started with 18 employees in August, now has 50 workers cranking out 3,000 pieces of furniture a week.

DeSoto County is becoming the destination for more and more third party logistics companies relocating from across the nation.

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” has begun its run at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The exhibit brings many of the late creator’s popular characters — like Kermit the Frog and Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street”  — back to the place where he was born.

Gulfport has hired Kim Compton as the city’s new economic development director.

Phillip Heard, executive director of the Grenada Chamber of Commerce, resigned from his position this week, effective January 31.  “I made the decision to step down based on duties being cut, funding, and that I want to pursue other interests at this time,” he said.

University of Mississippi Health Care announced the start of a new nonprofit high-tech intensive critical care program designed to connect top-notch doctors and nurses with critically ill patients in rural Mississippi.

State Economic Recovery Projected for 2013

Out of 384 metro areas in the nation, 118 were in recovery, or 31 percent, according to the October Adversity Index.  Three are in Mississippi.

How to Remake a Neighborhood.

The Delta Economic Development Center and some local industries have asked Washington County supervisors for a break on inventory taxes.

At the entrance to Crawford, Mississippi, a large billboard welcomes visitors to the home of NFL Star Jerry Rice. Rice went on to fame and fortune, the greatest receiver in football history. But Rice’s childhood home is no tourist destination. . . Just up the road, however, hope has arrived bearing a Russian flag.

The renovated historic (Philadelphia, MS) train depot was dedicated last week with Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall linking the facility to economic development.

Southaven is a city on the move, despite the slowing down of the nation’s economic engine.

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved the Mississippi’s plan for a residential rebate program for the purchase of Energy Star-rated appliances.

The Link and GT Extended partner’s newest intuitive the GTR Global Industrial Aerospace Park has just been named one of the six Southern Business & Development 2010 Innovation South award winners for 2009.  Also named as a winner was the launch of the four-state coalition called The Aerospace Alliance, which includes Mississippi.

One of those plants went to Texas, the other to Mississippi, although (former Delta Regional Authority co-Chairman Rex) Nelson said Toyota executives reported that the Marion site was probably the best because of its infrastructure.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207 
MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
MEDC 2010 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi

MEDC is Mississippi’s professional association of economic development and chamber of commerce professionals.