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November 19, 2018
Mississippi Gulf Coast State of the Economy: Place Making and Talent Attraction
By: Jennifer Hooper, Graduate Research Assistant

The Gulf Coast Business Council commissioned The University of Southern Mississippi Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship to conduct a comparative analysis of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Metropolitan Statistical Area's ability to compete in Place Making and Talent Attraction. Three economic development graduate research assistants, Jennifer Hooper (pictured); Jhai Keeton (pictured); and Eric Wiggins (not pictured), aided Dr. Shannon Campbell in creating a Quality of Place report for the Gulf Coast Business Council. The report compared the Gulf Coast Region to ten benchmark communities throughout the Southeast region of the United States to measure the quality of life. Research for the report was compiled between the months of August-November. The report was presented at the 2nd Annual State of the Coast Economy Symposium by Dr. Roberto Gallardo following a presentation by state economist, Darrin Webb.
Rhodes and Ingram Economic Development Scholarship Awardee

Brittany McCoy of Picayune, MS was awarded this year's Rhodes and Ingram Economic Development Scholarship Endowment which provides tuition assistance to a Mississippi Master of Economic Development student who is a member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council. Brittany has a bachelor's degree in hospitality and tourism management from The University of Southern Mississippi and has been in the restaurant management industry including Cookout and Waffle House for over six years. Her passions include food, health and wellness, music, and working with people.  She plans to use the MSED program to transition to a career in economic development. She wants to help create a more attractive Mississippi through job creation, an enhanced tourism industry, better communities, and overall, more reasons to not only visit, but to live in the state of Mississippi.  
MSED Incorporates the Gazelle.ai Platform

The University of Southern Mississippi has become the first institution of higher education to deploy the advanced AI-enabled economic data analytics platform, Gazelle.ai within its curriculum in the College of Business and Economic Development. The Gazelle.ai investment attraction platform has been designed to help economic developers, trade investors, and dealmakers generate leads, engage those leads, and ultimately attract investment. Through the MSED program, students in the ED 722 Economic Development Data Analytics and Theory course learn a modified REDRL approach to identify target industries and their location. Gazelle is then utilized to identify specific companies that are most likely to expand according to their G-score. The students also use Gazelle for their strategic planning community assessment to identify companies for business retention and expansion programs, those with plans to expand, and to identify companies at risk of leaving/downsizing.   
Best Practices for Defense Labs

Under the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment funded Mississippi Defense Diversification Initiative, Mary Macpherson, M2Works LLC; David Jordan, Research Assistant (now in his first year at the Emory University School of Law); and Chad Miller, USM College of Business and Economic Development prepared a study, Defense Labs Best Practices in Technology Transfer and Community Engagement. Findings show that defense laboratories can be an important asset to local communities and the regions where they are located. Economic development and community leaders, however, must understand their local laboratory's mission before it can leverage this important resource for development in the community. Likewise, the community needs to be active in placemaking and improving the quality-of-place to attract and retain the defense research talent.  For the lab, this will allow them to achieve the Department of Defense's new goals for increasing technology transfer, licensing and promoting more development from the labs.
Southern Miss Economic Development | tasha.may@usm.edu | 118 College Drive #5191
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-0001