County inaugurates five year plan

By DONNIE CAUGHMAN,

On February 21, 2019, in a meeting at Co-Lin Community College Simpson Center, the Simpson County Board of Supervisors, the Simpson County Economic Development District Trustees (SCEDD), and the officers and directors of the Simpson County Development Foundation (SCDF) received the Simpson County, Mississippi, Strategic Plan for Economic Development 2019-2024. 

At the meeting, attended by the local media, Dr. Shannon Campbell, director of the USM Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, presented an orientation to the plan.

SCDF contracted with and worked for several months with Dr. Campbell and her team to prepare a comprehensive—yet specific and implementable—five-year strategic plan for economic development in our county.  The goals of the plan are to

• Grow wholesale and retail trade by 1-2% annually over the next 5 years;

• Achieve the average growth aligned with Jackson MSA in the annual rate of job growth;

• Establish a business retention and expansion (BRE) process that supports existing companies;

• Create a talented workforce as a means of attracting new business growth;

• Promote a rich culture and a high quality of life.

Each of these goals has a set of specific, measurable objectives.  The entire plan is accessible through the SCDF website at www.simpsoncounty.biz.

The last comprehensive strategic plan for Simpson County was made in 1992.  To produce the current plan, SCDF contracted and partnered with the University of Southern Mississippi Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development.  The plan was carefully developed in several stages.

In May 2018, Donnie Caughman, SCDF Executive Director, met and discussed with Dr. Shannon Campbell and her staff the possibility of a partnership for producing a strategic plan for the county’s economic development. Subsequently, SCDF President Malory Yelverton announced that she, SCDF President-elect Brien Hubbard, and Donnie Caughman would be coordinating the development of a strategic plan with both immediate and long-range goals.

SCDF’s FY 2019 budget included funding for the development of the plan, and in October 2018, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between USM and SCDF.  In December 2018, Dr. Campbell reviewed the first draft of the plan with the SCDF executive committee, and the final plan incorporated revisions based on that meeting.