Mississippi Works

Mississippi Works Mission Statement

Mississippi Works is a new initiative of Governor Phil Bryant focused on three main areas of Economic Development:

  1. Help craft a long-range strategy to expand economic opportunities in Mississippi with a focus on workforce development
  2. Help bring new investments to all regions of our state while continuing to grow existing businesses and expand them into new markets
  3. Provide a forum for Mississippi Business Leaders to learn about all the great work going on throughout our state, giving them tools they can use in spreading Mississippi’s success stories around our nation and world

The team consists of two Co-Chairs (Jim Barksdale and Bill Lampton), an Executive Committee, and a Committee-at-Large – all made up of Business Leaders throughout the state of Mississippi.

Fortunately, much good work has already been done through the Mississippi Economic Council’s leadership in Blueprint Mississippi. MEC serves as a leader in voicing the concerns of businessmen and businesswomen throughout our state and will continue to do that in conjunction with Mississippi Works.

Governor Bryant’s goal is simple – build a stronger, more competitive Mississippi. We must compete in the 21st century marketplace and possess a leading spirit to drive and grow new industries and ideas. Every day, we must be better than our sister states in this endeavor. As he said in his Inaugural Address, “My first job is to make sure that every Mississippian has a job.”

It is with this spirit that we join together business leaders from throughout our state to foster new ideas, support pro-growth initiatives, and to tell the good story of Mississippi.

Executive Committee 2012-2015

Jim Barksdale, Interim Director, Mississippi Development Authority
N. L. Carson, President, N. L. Carson Construction Company, Inc.
Carl Chaney, CEO, Hancock Bank
Ed Day, CEO, Mississippi Power
Tommy Dulaney, CEO, Structural Steel Services Inc.
Irwin F. Edenzon, President and Corporate VP, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Haley Fisackerly, CEO, Entergy Mississippi
Mayo Flynt, President, AT&T Mississippi
Socrates Garrett, CEO, Garrett Enterprises
David Gates, Division President, Atmos Energy
Warren Hood, Jr., CEO, Hood Companies Inc.
Jerry Host, CEO, Trustmark
Bill Lampton, President – Asphalt Division, Ergon Inc.
David Landrum, Owner, Landrum and Associates
Hu Meena, CEO, C-Spire Wireless
Amb. John Palmer, CEO, GulfSouth Capital
Aubrey Patterson, CEO, BancorpSouth
Mary Peavey, President, Peavey Electronics Inc.
Carol Pigott, CEO, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi
Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO, Sanderson Farms
Leland Speed, Chairman, EastGroup Properties
Jerry St. Pe’, CEO, St. Pe’ Enterprises
William G. Yates, Jr., CEO, Yates Companies

Blueprint Mississippi 2011

Goals and Recommendations

(Listed in alphabetical order by topic, not priority.)

Improve Communication and Coordination among Public, Private and Non-Profit Leaders

RECOMMENDATION: Institutionalize a permanent, diverse, privately led statewide organization of leaders charged with providing market research and sustained planning for economic development in Mississippi and implementing the Blueprint Mississippi 2011 recommendations.

Support Mississippi’s Creative Economy

RECOMMENDATIONS: Support the goals in the report, Mississippi’s Creative Economy, released by the Mississippi Arts Commission with the Mississippi Development Authority: Facilitate efforts that make communities throughout the state more creative and vibrant. Promote entrepreneurship and small business growth among creative firms. Help communities preserve and generate added value from cultural and historic heritage. Enhance the competitiveness of the state’s businesses and industries through increased use of art and design. Enhance the support and networking infrastructure for creative talent across the state. Build capacity to grow and retain creative talent living and working in Mississippi. Develop tools and strategies to support growth throughout the tourism industry.

Cultivate Diversity, Community Cooperation and Racial Reconciliation

RECOMMENDATIONS: Promote diversity in the workforce and in management in Mississippi businesses through training and by joining national and global business networks that promote the common good. Invest in local community building projects that promote interracial cooperation. Invest in youth programs that promote interracial cooperation in order to ensure future generations of leadership are mindful of diverse perspectives.

Strengthen and Expand Mississippi’s Economy

RECOMMENDATIONS: Evaluate Mississippi’s industry sectors to determine priority sectors, and conduct comprehensive, customized cluster analyses to determine key growth opportunities for Mississippi, beginning with an assessment of the health care industry as a prototype. Invest in university research, development and commercialization. Develop state-level programs that support rural and minority entrepreneurship and strengthen local economies. Enhance entrepreneurship in K-20 (kindergarten through graduate studies) curricula. Provide a statewide or regional Web portal for easy business assistance. Remove tax and regulatory barriers that make Mississippi’s business climate less competitive. Reduce insurance burdens on Mississippi’s coastal businesses and individuals. Sustain successful ongoing business recruitment incentives. Recognize and promote opportunities that result from the growth and expansion of the technology- driven economy, engaging resources such as the Mississippi Technology Alliance to assist in focusing these efforts.

Increase the Educational Achievement Level of Mississippians

RECOMMENDATIONS: Improve teacher quality by increasing the Teach for America and Mississippi Teacher Corps teachers in the state, strengthening teacher requirements and considering new methods of merit-based compensation. Create a quality early childhood education and development system. Transition to all-appointed superintendents by 2015. Support the Education Achievement Council in its efforts to increase the number of Associate and Bachelor degree holders.

Increase Availability of Financial Capital

RECOMMENDATIONS: Develop tools to stimulate private sector R&D spending. Create incentives and support for angel investments. Develop tools and incentives to increase capital to support minority and rural businesses. Identify, invest in and encourage the use of new technologies that enhance efficiencies and provide cost savings.

Promote Health Care as an Economic Driver

RECOMMENDATIONS: Target the development of the health care industry as an economic driver for Mississippi’s economy, and create a comprehensive cluster strategy around health care. Increase the number of active physicians in the state. Increase the number of health care professionals throughout Mississippi.

Continually Develop the Infrastructure for a Competitive Economy

RECOMMENDATIONS: Retain and maintain the infrastructure to capitalize on transportation-related opportunities. In conjunction with state agencies, support the development of a proactive, strategic infrastructure master plan to support Mississippi’s economic development goals building on the long-range plan outlined by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and engaging a broad range of stakeholders in the process. Support the goals and mission of Mississippi Energy Policy Institute (MEPI). Support the goals and mission of Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition (MBCC).

Cultivate a More Robust Workforce in Mississippi

RECOMMENDATIONS: In conjunction with state agencies, expand and brand a strategic, long-term workforce development plan for the state of Mississippi, building on the sound foundational strategy outlined by the State Workforce Investment Board and engaging a broad range of economic developers, resources, providers, business leaders and stakeholders in the process. Provide awareness and assistance for occupations and vocations important to Mississippi. Develop incentives to attract and retain highly educated workers, with particular emphasis on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) backgrounds. Decrease the economic and societal costs associated with teenage births by lowering birthrates among females under 19 years old. Expand access to and utilization of health care services, and improve health awareness and education.

For more information on Blueprint Mississippi, click here.