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August 9, 2018
Alumni Spotlight with Larkin Simpson

Larkin Simpson, EDFP, IOM is the Division Leader of the Major Employers Division of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of more and better economic opportunities in Central Louisiana. CLEDA focuses on business recruitment, retention and expansion; workforce development; entrepreneurial development and regional innovation.
As leader of the Major Employers Division, Simpson is responsible for recruitment, retention, and expansion of business within the ten-parish region. The Division is the primary contact for delivery of state managed services from the Department of Louisiana Economic Development throughout the region. The Division supports and facilitates the activities of the Central Louisiana Manufacturing Managers Council. In addition, the Division is responsible for the site certification process of industrial properties in the region.
Prior to joining CLEDA in 2017, Simpson, a Cleveland, Mississippi native, led the Economic Development Authority of Jones County (MS), Jones County Chamber of Commerce, and Community Development Foundation of Jones County as a Vice President.
Holding a master's degree in Economic Development with an emphasizes in Technology Led Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor's degree from Delta State University, Larkin has been recognized both on a state and southeastern regional level for his many accomplishments in economic and community development, leadership development, marketing and advertising, and organizational management. In addition to his academic achievements, Larkin also received his Economic Development Finance Professional certification (EDFP) from the National Development Council as well as his Institute for Organizational Management certification from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Using Datamyne Bill of Lading Data to Identify Foreign Direct Investment Opportunities 

A bill of lading (BoL) is a document receipt for import and export shipment that includes information such as cargo, estimated value, shipper, origin, destination, and receiver. Through services such as Datamyne , BoL data is accessible and can be manipulated for analysis. There are a number of applications for this import/export data such as tracking market activities of companies, industries, and/or products or identifying export opportunities. It can also be utilized to identify targets for foreign direct investment attraction. With this data, major importers in a region and foreign companies supplying the region can be identified. With further analysis, foreign companies can achieve major cost savings by relocating nearer to their market. An example would be foreign auto parts manufacturers could greatly reduce their transportation costs by moving to be near original equipment manufacturers in the southeast. This approach, along with limitations, developed by Dr. Yuanyuan Zhang of the USM Center for Logistics, Trade, and Transportation was presented at the 6th International Transportation and Economic Development Conference in Washington, DC. To view the presentation click here
Report Examines Commercial Opportunities for Military UAVs

The new Mississippi Defense Diversification Initiative (MDDI) report Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Diversification Opportunities prepared by research assistant Shane Chadwick identifies opportunities for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed for military usage in the public safety, transportation, infrastructure, agricultural, and defense export markets. According to the industry experts interviewed for this study, the agriculture industry could utilize military UAV sensors to scan large fields for irrigation and blighting and the possibly of localized pesticide spraying. Public safety and transportation agencies could utilize drones for situational awareness and video analytics to help law enforcement and other public services gain an understanding of emergency situations. Lastly, infrastructure that stretches over longer distances such as power lines and oil pipelines could take advantage of the long duration of military UAVs flight times, which could reduce the need to operate costly manned aircraft. However, achieving price competitiveness in commercial markets is difficult. For Mississippi, there are opportunities to expand current UAV production capacity and leverage UAV support infrastructure.
Southern Miss Economic Development | tasha.may@usm.edu | 118 College Drive #5191
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-0001