Foundation is preparing for a new year

By DONNIE CAUGHMAN,

A new fiscal year began for the Simpson County Development Foundation on July 1st. New leadership from President Brien Hubbard is exciting along with the current Executive Committee: Josh Duckworth, President-Elect; Lacye Evans, Secretary-Treasurer; Malory Yelverton, Past President; Mayors Dale Berry and Todd Booth, VP-Government Relations; Josh Pierce, VP-Economic Development; Stan Bulger, VP-Community Development; and Shannon Welch, VP-Stakeholder Development.

The major goals for the organization this year will be, first and foremost, implementing the new County Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Development. The Plan was developed in partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. This strategic plan represents the organization’s goals and objectives for 2019-2024. As the county works to diversify and strengthen its economy, SCDF has adopted a data-driven method of targeting new business by identifying industries with the highest growth potential and alignment with the county’s economic advantages. This process should be reviewed and measured for progress on an annual basis.

Another goal will be to continue our efforts to promote and enhance the workforce through cooperation with our high schools, Tech-Center, Co-Lin Community College, WIN Job Center, and as an ACT Work ready Community.

We will continue to have a strong relationship with all our elected officials, and work toward a unified vision capitalizing on our assets.

Our Leadership Simpson County program will begin this month with twelve of the county’s most aspiring young business, financial, and community leaders taking part. The itinerary consists or personality inventory, leadership & group dynamics, entrepreneurship, public service, etc.

We must continue the exploration for additional industrial property, work with the City of Magee to improve the airport, and develop a plan with all stakeholders, community leaders and elected officials for attracting population growth.

The Foundation seeks to grow wholesale and retail trade by 1-2% annually over the next five years; achieve the average growth aligned with the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area in the annual rate of job growth; and, establish a business retention and expansion process that supports existing companies.

Along with the group of excellent officers this year is an exceptional group of elected Directors. They are as follows: Leman Cockrell, Chris Craft, Witt Fortenberry, Christian Carrico, Chris Dunn, Lance Hamilton, Tiffany Kinslow, Bennie Palmer, Eric Adkins, Beverly Barnes, Amanda Blakeney, and Cemper Scott.