Category Archives: Events

The “Boys of Spring” are back.

So who are the Boys of Spring, you ask? No, they are not baseball players. “Boys of Spring” is a nickname coined in the 1980s for a group of young staffers who, along with Gov. William Winter, Jack Reed Sr. and Rep. Robert Clark, took a stand for improved public education in Mississippi. They will be honored on the evening of April 26, 2011 at the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education annual Winter-Reed Award dinner.

The “Boys of Spring” to be honored on April 26 are Andy Mullins, Dick Molpus, John Henegan and David Crews. Though they were members of the original group, former Gov. Ray Mabus‘ current role as Secretary of the Navy prevents his participation in the award program, and Bill Gartin cannot participate due to a conflict.

When Mississippi was the only state in the nation that did not offer public kindergarten, this is the team that engineered the now historical Education Reform Act of 1982, also known as “The Christmas Miracle of 1982.” It is still considered the most significant educational legislation enacted in Mississippi since the establishment of the public school system. Today, these individuals continue in various ways to promote and enhance Mississippi.

Proceeds from the event will be used to enhance the program services of MAPE, including scholarships for member school districts to send representatives to training events.

Rent the House of Representatives

Rent the House of Representatives?  The one in Washington?  The state Capitol?  Well, not exactly.  However, your organization can rent the House of Representatives Chamber at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.  Also available for rent are the Chancery Court and the William Nichols Room at the facility.

As one who has attended a number of events there I can tell you with confidence that there is an aura there like no other meeting facility.  The House of Representatives Chamber is exquisite.  One can only imagine what it was like there when the Married Women’s Property Act was debated in 1839, or when representatives decided to secede from the Union in 1861, or when the 1868 and 1890 state constitutions were argued and drafted.

Cost to rent the facilities are nominal, beginning at $200 for four-hour daytime use of the House Chamber, $150 for the Chancery Court and $100 for the William Nichols Room.  Costs are subject to change, and include additional fees for equipment, etc.  Interestingly (and appropriately in this scribe’s opinion), “…no use of the building may be made by political candidates or political parties in support of a candidate or slate of candidates except presidential and vice‐presidential nominees of nationally recognized parties eligible for federal funding.”

A tip of the hat to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for allowing organizations to use the most historic building in Mississippi for meetings.

Click on the Old Capitol Museum main Web site, and then Facility Use for complete information.

Notes from 2011 NE Mississippi Economic Forecast Conference

These are my raw and unedited notes from the conference held on January 27, 2011 in Tupelo.

Billy Crews, President of the Community Development Foundation (CDF’s), opened with mention of CDF’s 10-year strategic plan.  He said that the strengths of the region this year were (1) CDF, (2) MTD Products expansion (lawn mowers), (3) General Atomics expansion (aircraft launching system), (4) Cooper Tire and (5) Toyota (first Carolla to roll of in fall 2011).

Weakness/Opportunities – (1) current unemployment rate in the region, (2) education levels, especially college attainment lagging state and national levels and (3) selective leadership/civility – “we must be on the same team, pulling in the same direction.”

Crews quit job as CEO of NE MS Daily Journal to become COO of Tupelo Public School District.  “I did that because we cannot have a great community without great public schools.”

Mike Randle, publisher of Southern Business and Development and, opened his comments by pointing out that the 2011 Person of the Year by his magazine is “The Citizens of Oklahoma City – The city that keeps investing in itself.”

Last year (2009) was a bad year for Mississippi when it comes to major deals (200 or more jobs and/or $30mm investment), but Mississippi may be in the running for State of the Year for 2010.

Tupelo is one of only three communities in the South to win Small Community of the year.

Ranking of categories (jobs created of 200 or more) since 1992 (1) automotive, (2) call centers, (3) financial services, (4) distributors and (5) energy.

Top 15 Industries in the South (based on 200+ jobs)

1.  Energy – 39
2. Food & Beverage (34)
3.  Automotive (29)
4.  Oil & gas (23)
5.  Call centers (21)
6.  Chemicals (21)
7.  Headquarters (19)
8.  Financial centers (18)
Aerospace and aviation (18)
9.  Building materials (17)
10. Distribution (15)
Defense contractors (15)

Biggest sector losing jobs was service sector, not manufacturing.

The South does relative well during a recession because margins are tight for manufacturers – where else are they going to go.

A manufacturing “beachhead” will be created in the South in the next 10 years and in Mexico because that’s the only place for manufactures to go and make money.  Manufacturers will flee non-right-to-work states like never before.  For manufacturers, what’s going on with unions now cannot be sustained.  Prediction: mass migration of manufacturers to the South.  Randle predicted that Boeing will have one-half of its 75/80K employees in Washington state.  The rest will be in the South.

1997 was the year when the services sector began outperforming manufacturing (jobs 200+).  Stayed that way until 2007, when manufacturing started outperfroming services.

Manufacturing jobs in the South:

YEAR   NUMBER(millions)

2010     4.23
2009     4.37
2008     4.64
2007     5.11
2006     5.2
2005     5.54

Manufacturing jobs by region:  South – 4.23mm, Midwest – 3.14mm, Northeast – 2.3mm, West – 1.91mm.

“It’s technology that is taking people off the factory floor.”

In terms of GDP, if the South were a country it would be the 4th largest country, behind US, China and Japan – and ahead of Germany.



The top three keys to achieving your goals in 2011

What will you accomplish in 2011?  Have you set your goals yet?

Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University conducted a study and some research on the subject of goal setting.  Here are her conclusions:

1.    The positive effect of accountability was supported: those who sent weekly progress reports to their friend accomplished significantly more than those who had unwritten goals, wrote their goals, formulated action commitments or sent those action commitments to a friend.
2.    There was support for the role of public commitment: those who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.
3.    The positive effect of written goals was supported: Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.

On Wednesday, January 5, 2011 I will be announcing the details of my personal goal setting workshop in which we will use the above principles to achieve goals in 2011.  If you would like more information about the workshop, send me an e-mail at

What will you accomplish in 2011?

Unemployment rate for one group – 15.7%; for other group – 4.7%. What’s going on?

The Southern Education Foundation just released a new brief, Miles to Go – Mississippi, Pre-Kindergarten: Time to Begin, which documents the impact of education on poverty and which makes the case for Mississippi to establish a Pre-K program.  The brief gives the adult unemployment rates in Mississippi by educational level, as follows:

high school dropout:  15.7%

high school/GED graduate:  10.6%

some college:  8.5%

bachelor’s degree and higher:  4.7%

Those figures were as of December 2009.  Education makes a huge difference even in distressed economic times.

Cathy Grace to Receive Winter-Reed Award

Cathy Grace, founding director of Mississippi State University’s Early Childhood Institute, has been named the 2009 recipient of the Winter-Reed Partnership Award. The award ceremony will be held Sept. 21, 2009 at Hunter Henry Center’s Parker Ballroom on the campus of Mississippi State University.   More info at the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education Web site.

The two main reasons strategic plans fail

I did an Internet search for “why strategic plans fail,” and was presented with one post that purported to contain the top five reasons and one post that contained 37 reasons.  The latter was a blogger who said that he was asking his clients to give him more reasons so that he could have 50 reasons.  Perhaps I’m oversimplifying this subject, but I am of the opinion that there are two main reasons why strategic plans fail.  This assumes that the plan is sound in the first place. The first reason is that no one is responsible for achieving the goals and the second reason is that there is no accountability.  If I had to add a third reason, it would be that the environment has changed.

Speaking of strategic planning, I’ll be conducting a workshop presented by the Stennis Institute of Government on “How to facilitate a strategic planning retreat” on Thursday, September 3, in Jackson.  More information about that at the Stennis Institute Web site training page.

Shameless Promotion From A Proud Father – “Teal Optical” short film premieres this weekend at Crossroads!

April 2, 2009
For Immediate Release

For More Information
Clay Hardwick

“Teal Optical” short film premieres this weekend at Crossroads!

Jackson, MS — The first narrative short film by Clay Hardwick will premiere at Crossroads Film Festival this weekend and begin a brief screening tour. Hardwick is a former Crossroads Film Festival winner of the Ruma Award (Most Promising Mississippi Filmmaker) and Best Music Video Award.

Nearly a year ago a small crew of young filmmakers, artists, and actors gathered at One To One Studios in the Millsaps Arts District to enter into an exotic world of their own. Production for “Teal Optical” began by building an entire set made out of found materials: planks, plants, and abandoned television screens. Where indie concerts are now held on a weekly basis at One To One, there existed a completely new world where Teal, the main character, encounters unusual creatures who inhabit this world.

“Teal Optical” tells the story of a young girl who loses her sister to a careless driver. Her family does not even sympathize and in an emotional state, Teal runs away from her reality to find herself lost in an unusual forest. Here she meets creatures who speak in another language and help her find her way through the forest. It is a celebration in the forest and they discover what magic music holds as Teal finds her happiness deep in the woods.

“When we shot the film, I told the creatures to speak in a different language – not Spanish or German, but an intelligent form of gibberish. They all nailed it and then we subtitled it in post. It really makes you feel like you’ve been placed into a different and new world.” – Clay Hardwick, writer and director.

The entire film was shot and produced in central Mississippi by Mississippians. Featured in the film are Elizabeth Boteler (Teal), Matt Doman, Charles Orr, Heather Thurgood, Luke Bertram, and many other talented actors. The film was written and directed by Clay Hardwick, assisted by Morgan Welch. Daniel Guaquata coproduced the film and was the foley artist as well as musician for the soundtrack. Music by Animal Collective is featured during the opening credits.

Join much of the cast and crew at the 2009 Crossroads Film Festival this Saturday night, April 4th at Parkway Place Theatre in Flowood, MS at 9pm. The film will screen with other shorts on Screen B. For more information and to purchase tickets go to:

Please visit for more information about the short film.

Through April and May, the film will be screening at select sites in Mississippi and around the South. The first will be at One to One Studios. Check the web site for dates and times. All screenings will be free (except for Crossroads) with donations encouraged. Also look for the official “Teal Optical” DVD soon including other works by the cast and crew of “Teal Optical.” You can purchase this through the web site for $10.

Clay Hardwick

“echomech creative”

“Teal Optical” – A short narrative film

Doing Business in the Middle East and North Africa

U.S. Commercial Service to Host Doing Business in the Middle East and North Africa! ; Event Designed to Help Mississippi Companies Expand to Foreign Markets
The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion unit of the International Trade Administration, will host Doing Business in the Middle East and North Africa! on Jan. 27, 2009, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Mississippi World Trade Center, 175 East Capitol Street, Jackson, MS, 39201.

Co-sponsored by MDA, the Mississippi World Trade Center and the District Export Council, the event will feature international trade specialists who will discuss opportunities for trade and investment in the Middle East and North Africa. The seminar will provide attendees with an overview of the Middle Eastern and North African markets, market entry strategies, trade statistics and export trends. It will also provide information regarding the extension of credit to clients to help ensure success, the methods of shipping and the documents related to foreign trade in the Middle East and North Africa. At the conclusion of the seminar, speakers will be available by appointment for one-on-one counseling.  

To learn more, please visit , or register by contacting Carol Moore at (601) 965-4131, or Josh Bower at (601) 359-3792. Due to limited seating, interested parties are encouraged to register early. 

Stennis Institute sponsors D.C. trip for MSU students

Twenty-eight (Mississippi State University) students will attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama Tuesday through the Stennis Montgomery Association, a bipartisan political group on campus.

Marianna Prather, SMA vice president for community relations, said students with the most points at the end of the semester get to visit Washington, D.C.

“We get various points throughout the semester for different activities we are involved in through the Stennis Montgomery Association,” Prather said.

The Stennis Institute of Government sponsors SMA, she said…

… Besides attending the inauguration, the group will be involved with other activities to get the full experience of Washington, D.C.

Whitney Holliday, SMA president, said the group will be meeting with prominent Mississippi natives that will help them network for the future.

“We will meet with the Mississippi delegation and Mississippi congressmen, along with MSU lobbyists and military leaders,” Holliday said. “We will also be hosting a reception for MSU alumni, so the students on the trip can meet people in the area and network for the future.”

Click here to read the entire article in The Reflector.