Tag Archives: MEDC

Inducted as Honorary Life Member of Mississippi Economic Development Council

February 4, 2016

Today is a very special day for me as I was inducted as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council. Thanks to my bosses over the past 25-plus years: Kane Ditto, former mayor of Jackson, MS, Matt Holleman, former President & CEO of Mississippi Valley Gas Company (now Atmos Energy) and Marty Wiseman, former executive director of the Stennis Institute, Mississippi State University. Also, to David Rumbarger, CEO of the Community Development Foundation, Tupelo, MS, for nominating me, and my wife of almost 36 years, the beautiful and incredible Carol Hardwick.


Trends in Economic Development – 2013

Jay Moon, Immediate Past-Chair of the International Economic Development Council and current President and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, addressed the Mississippi Economic Development Council today on the subject of Trends in Economic Development.  Here are my notes from his remarks:

Global competition will increase;

Attracting capital will be more difficult;

Budget cuts will increase;

Business closures and downsizing will occur at a more rapid pace;

There will be an absolute need to increase efficiency in the business community;

Accountability will be the rule – for everyone;

Natural and man-made disasters will continue to affect economies and businesses;

Energy markets will be shifting; and

There will be multiple labor market and workforce challenges.

The Three Keys to Economic Development Success

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) seminar held at the Community Development Foundation’s (CDF) new headquarters in Tupelo.  During the Q & A session, David Rumbarger, President and CEO of the CDF, was asked what he considered to be the keys to success of CDF, which is considered one of the premiere economic development organizations in the United States.

Without hesitation, he answered, “Planning, goal-setting and execution.”

We all seem to be looking for secrets to success in economic development, but it really comes down to what Rumbarger said. It reminds of what another business leader once told me about his company’s “secret” to success.  His version was “Plan – Do – Check – Adjust.”

Another thing I could not help but notice at that meeting in the CDF boardroom was the prominent poster-sized item at the front of the room.  It was a list of the CDF’s goals for the current year.  Stop and think about that.  At every meeting the board members are reminded of the goals that they have set for the coming year.

Swoope and Wade on Economic Development “Coopertition”

(December 14, 2010)

Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Gray Swoope and former Alabama Development Office Director Neal Wade made a joint appearance today at a Mississippi Economic Development Council luncheon in Jackson, Mississippi.

They discussed how Alabama and Mississippi have cooperated and competed over the past few years on projects that involved both states.  One of the more captivating parts of their presentation was an inside look at trips they took together to European automakers.  They also showed a video featuring Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Bob Riley that was used in a recruiting effort for a site on the Mississippi-Alabama line.

It was a fascinating inside at international recruiting by the two states.  I’ll have more in my next Mississippi Business Journal column.


Chevron and Prime Outlets at Gulfport Win Governor’s Cup Awards

Congratulations to Chevron Products Company and Prime Outlets at Gulfport, winners of the Governor’s Cup 2007 Economic Excellence Award in the Big Business and Small Business categories, respectively.  The announcement was made Thursday evening at the Mississippi Economic Development Council Annual Awards Banquet in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Chevron Products Company, based in Pascagoula, once again became Jackson County’s largest taxpayer, totaling over $23.6 million.  Employment increased by 14 percent to 1,540 employees and payroll totaled $320 million.  In October 2007, the company announced plans to build a major gasoline production plant at the Pascagoula Refinery at a cost of $500 million.  Gasoline production is expected to increase by 600,000 gallons per day.  In 2007 he Pascagoula Refinery had its safest year ever and also announced a program with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to train students to work at the refinery, and to provide scholarships to 16 students.

Prime Outlets at Gulfport, located just south of I-10 at U.S. Highway 49, lost 85 percent of its roof to Hurricane Katrina.  By Thanksgiving after the storm, 40 of the 76 stores were reopened. Today, merchants and center management provide jobs to over 400 people, and payroll is in excess of $10 million annually.  Sales tax collections is over $4 million per year, with approximately $900,000 retained by the local community.  Property taxes provide over $200,000 to the local school district, the City of Gulfport and Harrison County.