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October 6, 2017
Mary Catherine Davis Wins the Heidel Leadership Award

This year's recipient of the Mississippi Economic Development Council  Ray and Jimmy Heidel Economic Development Leadership Award is Mary Catherine Davis, project coordinator for the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi.  The purpose of the award is to foster further development of a promising Mississippi economic development practitioner's leadership skills. The award includes tuition for the first year of either the Economic Development Institute or the Community Development Institute.
 
The Ray Heidel Leadership Award was established in 1995 by the Mississippi Economic Development Council to honor the life and contributions to the profession by Ray Heidel.  In 2000, Jimmy Heidel's name was added to the award thus becoming the Jimmy & Ray Heidel Economic Development Leadership Award. The recipient is selected during the week of True South Basic Economic Development course hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi. The award is sponsored by MEDC in cooperation with various friends of economic development in Mississippi. 

Save the date for the 2018 True South Basic Economic Development Course on September 17-20. 
Ribbon Cutting for the National Sport Security Laboratory

The University of Southern Mississippi's National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Sport Security Research, Training and Operations Center at the National Sport Security Laboratory (NSSL). The new center helps bring to life NCS4's vision of being the world's leading academic research institute in addressing sport safety and security risks and threats.

The NSSL's Sport Security Research, Training, and Operations Center now connects to the sport facilities on The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus including M.M. Roberts football stadium, Reed Green basketball coliseum, Peter Taylor Park baseball stadium, as well as remotely connected venues. This connectivity provides researchers and solution providers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a real-life sports safety and security environment.

"This cutting-edge facility gives the University a world-class research, training and operation center," said Dr. Gordon Cannon, The University of Southern Mississippi's Vice President for Research. "A relatively new profession such as sports safety and security demands research and scholarship. Now our faculty and students have access to a world-wide sandbox to study real-world, sport-security challenges and issues."

Article written by Alison Crumpton, Director of Communications and Logistics at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. To read the full article visit Southern Miss Now.  
Mississippi Wood Products Industry and Economic Development Opportunities

The University of Southern Mississippi hosted a webinar in partnership with the Mississippi Forestry Commission on the State of the Forest Inventory and Wood Products Industry in Mississippi. The webinar was facilitated by Drs. Shannon Campbell and Chad Miller with the purpose of exploring the state of Mississippi's Forest Industry and associated products, and determine possible ways to make the state more competitive in relation to its neighbors.  Guest speakers and topics included:
  • Conner Miller, Graduate Assistant of USM Master of Science in Economic Development, topic of Overview of Forest Products Jobs in Mississippi
                          • Dr. Brian Mitchell, GIS Program Director, Mississippi Forestry Commission, topic of State of Mississippi's Forest Inventory
  • Dr. James E. Henderson, Professor and Head of MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center, topic of Market Trends
  • Tedrick Ratcliff, Executive Vice President of Mississippi Forestry Association, topic of Opportunities in the Forest Products Industry.
Researchers gathered data from five nearby states in the southeast and compared them to Mississippi to find where the state is competitively positioned. While Mississippi has grown at a rate of 1.7% over the last five years, this growth lags behind the nation (nearly 5% growth) and many of its regional peers, particularly Georgia (8.7%) and Alabama (6.1%). Subsequent conversations discussed Mississippi's forest inventory and market trends, as well as future opportunities in the forest product industry. Mississippi has a vast amount of wood resources at its disposal, but the forest inventory growth rate is not translating that into domestic products at a balanced rate. Export data indicates an estimated  40% of the state's timber is being shipped to neighboring states, substantially more than Mississippi's peers. The timber purchased by other states is then processed into commercial products which produces  greater economic value and benefits outside of Mississippi. Despite current lagging economic indicators , the state has immense growth potential in the wood products industry. Over $750 million in new investments has occurred in recent years throughout the southeastern United States, and Mississippi's abundance in timber inventory makes it well positioned to compete.
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