Getting ready for opportunity

CHICKASAW_Journal_BANNEREconomic development has changed and is no longer the business where men in suits travel the country and the world visiting with industrialist seeking to lure them to our area.

Today’s factory announcement comes after the company has carefully looked over a community without us knowing about it and then makes a phone call saying they need our help and are we interested.

Yes, Chickasaw County is interested. And the rest of us need to be constantly doing our part to make sure we have our best foot forward at all times.

Josh West, Three Rivers Regional Economic Developer for Pontotoc, Union and Chickasaw counties, spoke at the Houston Exchange Club last week and hinted that we are in line for some interesting developments.

This newspaper has said repeatedly that Chickasaw County has much to offer as we watched economic development announcements made in surrounding counties. We need to be patient. We need to work hard to land those factories and jobs that fit us best.

West said the national economy has a lot to do with it and companies have recovered from the Great Recession to the point they are now busy looking to expand and build new factories. West also said work on the Hopewell Mega Site in Okolona has developed to the point it is being looked at closely by state, regional and national companies.

A wise local economic developer once said attracting factories and jobs to a region is a team sport. His point was, in this global market, it takes a lot of help from a lot of different places to make a company pick your site. That was part of the reason Pontotoc, Union and Chickasaw counties hired West and Three-Rivers Planning and Development a little more than two years ago.

We would like to point to the Hopewell Mega Site is the perfect spot for the next major employer in Northeast Mississippi.

The Okolona Mega Site has access to both rail and four-lane highways. It is not far from major electricity transmission lines.

Again, with proper development and proper marketing, our time will come.

That is why we – Houston, Okolona and even Houlka and Woodland – need to work to improve our community every day. We never know when a company is seriously looking at Chickasaw County.

As Toyota in Blue Springs and Nissan near Jackson continue to attract suppliers to Mississippi, and Yokohama comes out of the ground in West Point, we need to be ready to move as a team when our time comes.

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