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December 19, 2016
We wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! The University will be closed from December 22, 2016 - January 2, 2017. We will see you in the new year!
USM Leaders Travel to Israel for Business Development
The Mississippi Development Authority's International Trade Office recently led a Business Development Mission to Israel. Participants met with Israeli business prospects during pre-arranged business-to-business meetings. The business development mission trip was a Governor-led event coordinated around NEXTECH 2016 Conference for Cybersecurity and the defense sector. Mississippi exports to Israel increased 26% in 2015, and Israel is one of the world's fastest growing developed economies. Representatives from Mississippi and Israel paused briefly for a quick picture.

Capstone Project Aids with Getting Building Funded
Hunter Aycock, Director of Business Development for the Community Development Foundation, leveraged his capstone project for the MSED program to complete a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) InvestPrep application that resulted in funding and breaking ground of a new 100,000-square-foot shell building in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South (also commonly called TULIPS).
 
In order to complete the MSED program all students need to complete either a thesis or capstone project, which involves doing actual consulting type research for an economic development organization. Practitioners like Aycock typically use the capstone as an opportunity to help their own organization. In addition to working on the extensive successful application, Aycock completed a thorough review of the research and best practices on economic development real estate investment preparation programs. At the recent USM College of Business Annual Honors Ceremony in Scianna Hall, Aycock was awarded the Outstanding Master of Science of Economic Development student award and presented a special honor cord to wear on his graduation regalia.  
Representatives from USM Show Support at the Raytheon T-100 Inauguration Ceremony
By Megan Clark, Graduate Assistant
The University of Southern Mississippi representatives took an active role in showing support of Meridian's quest to win the Air Force's pending decision on the next-generation aircraft. The university recently provided a letter of support from President Rodney D. Bennett for the project.

On December 12, USM attended the Raytheon T-100 Inauguration Ceremony at the Key Field Airforce Base in Meridian, Mississippi to show support of the partnership between Meridian and Raytheon. Project Manager, Andy Kilgore; Mississippi Polymer Institute interim director, Robert Thompson; and Graduate Assistant , Megan Clark, represented USM at the ceremony which was celebrated by keynote guests including Governor Phil Bryant, Senator Rodger Wicker, and Senator Thad Cochran, who showed support of the project. The high-energy presentations were infectious as local and state municipalities made a compelling argument that Mississippi not only had the appropriate site and workforce to suite Raytheon's needs but also the strongest government presence to aid them in all their future endeavors. After brunch, all attendees were invited to tour an example of the aircraft systems that would be made. Inside the mock aircraft, guests could sit in life size replicas of the aircraft training systems to be coached by the technicians on how to fly. 
 
Per Raytheon, if the U.S. Air Force approves the company's proposal, it would establish a location near the Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Mississippi as a final assembly and check-out facility. The new addition to the air force base would take up approximately 30 acres of the available 130 site, construct an estimated 200,000 square foot facility, and bring 450 jobs to the region. Raytheon has been quoted to have chosen Meridian for several reasons including the infrastructure, proximity to customers, government support, and talent base ready for high tech jobs among other qualities. Although the approval of the project could take anywhere from eight to ten months, residents of Meridian remain hopeful to soon welcome the next-generation of training solutions, exceeding U.S. Air Force mission requirements, to their community in 2017.
 
For more information on Raytheon coming to Meridian Mississippi, click this link.
Southern Miss Economic Development | tasha.may@usm.edu | 118 College Drive #5191
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-0001