INSURANCE IN MISSISSIPPI
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney will bring an update. Chaney was elected to the Mississippi insurance post last November by a 57 percent vote.
U.S. Representative Greg Harper will be our guest next week. The Rankin County lawyer was elected to Congress last November to represent Mississippi’s third district.
Invocation and Pledge: Terry Kemp
Attendance: There were 111 members (29 exempt, 1 honorary) present, and 89 (26 exempt, 9 honorary) absent.
Guests and visitors: Visiting Rotarians included Andy Hughes of Rankin Co., and Doug Miller and Gerald Gafford of Oxford. Members’ guests included Connor, daughter of Mark Guyton, Greg Word of Kim Richardson, and Sunny Sethi of Ed Clynch. Guests of the Club were Taka Sato, Youth Exchange Student; Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News; and, Jarred Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar.
Makeups: Bricklee Miller and Dennis Truax online.
Kudos: Frances Coleman received a Sonny Montgomery Leadership Award for her campus library work and Mississippi-wide work.
George Sherman added a compliment for President Chip who completed Nashville’s Music City Marathon.
BETWEEN THE LIONS
President Chip reported on the literacy project as our Rotary Minute. District 6820 is taking a lead in working with Mississippi Public Broadcasting on the Between the Lions reading program; and our club has a significant role.
Twelve $1,500 kits were provided to childcare facilities with 2 of them sponsored by our club. Each local contribution leverages $5,000 of state money.
At the district conference it was reported that our sites saw an 11 percent and a 23 percent improvement in reading rates. District-wide the improvement rate topped 20 percent.
The next step will be to target 168 childcare centers in Mississippi’s 3 Rotary districts.
Eric Halberg re-introduced himself to the Club. The owner of Cappe’s Steakhouse and the Starkville Café had been a member of the Club, but had to drop out due to business schedule conflicts.
“I had four restaurants, but am back just to two,” he said. “Rest assured there will not be a third. And, the third child is on the way, but we’re done there also.”
Hallberg has been in Starkville for 7 years.
GROUP STUDY EXCHANGE
President Chip recognized Rotarians and others who helped with the visiting group study team from India. Keith Remy chaired the GSE committee consisting of Sherry Vanlandingham, Alan Tucker, Bill Henry, Melanie Mitchell, Brent Fountain and Linda Karen Smith. Trey Breckinridge arranged a super-computer tour. Amy Tuck helped with MSU logistics. Frances Coleman organized a library tour. Richard Blackbourn, Andy Gaston and Bob Daniels pitched in with other arrangements. Larry and Janet Mullins hosted a Friday evening cookout. Host families included the Mullins, Martha and Graham Wells, Alan and Margaret Tucker, Ned and Mary Browning, and Keith and Ruth Remy
•part·ner·ship (pärt-ner- ship) A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal.
Rotarian Jon Maynard, Greater Starkville Development Partnership president and CEO, set the thesis of his talk to the Club with a basic question — “Why do we do economic development work?”
He responded with another set of questions that imply a less than desirable risk of not doing the work. What is the risk of not competing? Where will we go if we don’t have a plan or a destination in mind? How will our community look to our children? Will our future be in the hands of someone outside of our community?
Answering his own question, he said, “Our future economy lies in the ability to attract the type of talent to our community that fits the existing local environment and creates growth beyond the visible horizon.”
The recent TaP economic development study targeted four significance areas to pursue:
Automotive research and development. Automotive suppliers will be responsible for nearly 60 percent of research and development by 2010, compared with around 40 percent today.
The automotive industry’s projected growth in the South, particularly with foreign-owned automotive companies, provides an opportunity for more R&D. MSU is part of the Automotive Research Alliance formed this year.
The research and development activities at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) at MSU should attract automotive R&D companies.
PACCAR has made a commitment to construct a research and development facility in near MSU related to its new manufacturing facility in Lowndes County.
Aerospace research and development. Continued aerospace industry growth will open the door to more research and development activities.
MSU’s Raspet Flight Laboratory already has attracted a number of aerospace-related companies and should continue to do so.
The university is among the top 100 research universities in the country, with $150 million in externally sponsored research performed during 2005 and 2006.
The Bagley College of Engineering ranks in the top 10 percent nationally in engineering research expenditures and is a national leader .
Mississippi has competitive state incentives, most of which were extended to technology-intensive industry such as research and development in 2005.
Biomedical Science with a focus on veterinary medicine. The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine is one of 28 veterinary schools in the country. Demand for knowledge in biomedicine and animal health and an urgent need to provide adequate resources and facilities for veterinary research.
MSU is among the top 100 research universities in the country, with $150 million in externally sponsored research during the 2005 and 2006 .
Defense and homeland security. A number of companies serving the defense/homeland security industry already are located in Starkville-Oktibbeha County.
MSU has increased its focus on fuel cell technologies, which are often used in military applications.
Camgian Microsystems and others are specialized defense contractors using research developed at MSU
Describing the GSDP’s workings, Maynard classified each of its units. The Chamber of Commerce is seen as a tactical unit. OCEDA is strategic. The tourism operation is seen as leveraging someone else’s money. And retirement is seen as a hybrid function.
Maynard summed up the economic development job saying, “Change is exhilarating when it is done BY us, but debilitating when it is done TO us”