June 14, 2010 Rotogram

ARMY AVIATION

Starkville native Tom Edwards tells us of “The Wandering of an Ex-Army Aviator.”

NEXT WEEK: MSU VISION WORK

Mississippi State University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center of Blindness and Low Vision will be reviewed by Center Director Brenda Cavenaugh.

LAST WEEK

Invocation and Pledge: Warren Housley

Attendance:  There were 104 members (33 exempt, 2 honorary) present and 85 (17 exempt, 10 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Members’ guests were Betty Littlejohn (daughter of legendary Club secretary W.W. Littlejohn) of Charlotte Coker, Donald Trotter of Tommy Tomlinson, Greg Word of Kim Richardson, John Forde of Ned Browning, Michael Ball of Grant Arinder, Robert Moorhead of Joe Thompson, Rocky Katz of Larry Mullins. Guests of the Club were John Dodd; Lekayla, Vanessa, Randolph and Talisha Calmes; Meredith Pittman’ Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News; and, RYE student Kasper Eriksen.

Makeups: Amy Tuck in Winona, Gary D. Jackson in Eupora, Ed Clynch at Chicago-O’Hare and Dennis Truax online.

Kudos: President Martha congratulated Marshall Molen on his student team’s second win in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. The university placed first among 16 institutions represented at the San Diego finals in year two of the three-year competition.

D-Day: Charlotte Coker led the Club in a brief remembrance of the sacrifices made on the fateful day of June 6, 1944. She had the privilege of  visiting Omaha Beach the previous week and reported that the French continue to preserve the memory and to keep memorials in excellent shape.

EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

The first of our four annual $1,000 Excellence in Education scholarships were presented to John Dodds and Talisha Calmes. We welcome two more recipients today.
Frank Chiles, committee chair, explained that more than 15 years ago, the Club recognized the value of higher education to our community and to individuals by establishing the local scholarships.
The awards go to incoming Mississippi State University freshmen from Oktibbeha County schools.  The Club does not select the recipients. They are identified by the MSU admissions office based on need and a quality-point-average above three.
Dodds, a Starkville Academy graduate, will major in civil engineering. Calmes, from East Oktibbeha County High, plans to major in political science.
Frank closed by reminding us of Joe Thompson’s testimonial that the Grenada Rotary Scholarship made a difference in his coming to State as a freshman.

PROJECT FUNDING POLICY

As a new budget year approaches, the Board reminds us that we fund organizations instead of individuals to ensure our non-profit 501(c)(3) status. Funds must be requested anew each year.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOLDEN TRIANGLE-STYLE

      Industry site selectors do not look at cities or counties. They look for the best overall resources for a given company in a prospective area.
Rotarian Jon Maynard, president and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said, “It’s all about getting noticed and I have to be honest with you, nobody notices Starkville, Columbus or Hattiesburg. They notice regions.”
After years of growing in opposite directions, the Golden Triangle’s three communities now are dedicated to growing the entire region. All have to promote strengths and together find solutions to shortcomings.
Golden Triangle growth has been directly opposite of its interior which is well tied together with roads, but has infrastructure gaps. Fire protection, water, electricity and retail development are crucial. An example of progress is the East Oktibbeha Wastewater Association that is being formed to run sewer lines for residential, commercial and industrials areas.
“By working together, we can become a metropolitan rather than a micropolitan statistical area,” said Maynard. “It’s better to be seen as one seamless unit.”

576 McrSA 

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

Starkville

120

218

233

165

142

93

54

Columbus

77

100

174

211

257

322

374

West Point

355

481

467

466

426

345

370

Tupelo

124

84

60

58

35

34

18

Oxford

42

67

57

35

41

38

14


SELECT MICROPOLITAN ECONOMIC STRENGTH RANKSs

Source: POLICOM Corporation (policom.com/microrank.htm)

      He noted that economic strength in the three separate communities has been spotty over the past seven years. Columbus has steadily trended up; Starkville has dropped and is recovering; and, West Point has stayed low.
The area’s unique resources include a university, a community college, an airport square in its center, and an enormous aerospace industrial park.
Since an area’s biggest industrial attraction is its business climate, efforts to interact are increasing. Last year, Rotarian Terry Kemp, GSDP board chair, started an initiative for the region’s executive boards to meet together regularly
Addressing the natural competition between communities, Maynard said, “Make no doubt, we still have fights, but they are friendly. Individuals who do this for a living are competitive.”
The former Louisiana regional development leader stressed that “coopetition” within an area helps it to be nationally competitive.
“My counterparts, Joe Higgins with the Columbus Lowndes Development Link, and Jeff Rowell with the West Point Clay County Community Growth Alliance, and I don’t just work together,” said Maynard. “We are friends and communicate constantly.”
He also stressed the importance of the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association, TVA, Mississippi Development Authority in moderating constructive competition.
To encourage a better business climate, the GSDP has established the Industrial Roundtable where major industry folks get together to know and understand each other. Most area industries are hiring, expanding and growing.
Quoting Dun and Bradstreet statistics, Maynard said, “We have less than a one percent chance of attracting a large business in excess of 100 employees from outside, so we need to grow our own.”
Since the best way to grow an economy is from within, the GSDP has started the Entrepreneurs’ Network for folks to “get their head out of their businesses” and share ideas. Rotarian Martin Jue has been tapped as the first formal speaker.
Developing a climate that encourages businesses that already are here can keep people on payrolls, and help them expand, hire and attract new people to town.

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