Posted on Jul 15, 2019
Our thanks to Hattiesburg ADP Exec. VP-Economic Development, Todd Jackson, for providing our program last Tuesday. Todd is flanked by Chris Dunkley (left) and Steven Utroska (right).
President Steven Utroska and presided over today’s meeting. Matthew Rigel gave today’s invocation and Ryan Pollacci led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth who served as our greeter today.
Mike McPhail thanked those who volunteered to help with today’s meeting. He also introduced our guest. Steve Ramp has Kenny Harold as his guest.
Steven thanked Erin Granberry, Mike Ratliff and Wes Brooks for putting on the College of Knowledge. He also thanked all of the red badge members who attended noting that they will receive their new blue badges within the next couple of weeks.
Steven also announced there will be a board meeting on July 16th at 11:00 a.m.  He also reminded us that there is no meeting on July 30th. He asked for more Meals on Wheels volunteers.
Chris Dunkley then introduced today’s guest speaker, Todd Jackson. Todd serves as the Area Development Partnership’s Executive Vice President of Economic Development.
Todd reports that the area has seen 282 new or expanded businesses investing almost $2 billion in capital. New jobs created during that same time period total 5,700. During the last five years, the state’s GDP has increased by 15% while the Hub City’s GDP has grown by 22%. There are 66,000 jobs currently in the Hub City area and we are number one in the state for wage growth, increasing 1.7% in the last year. Our area has more millennials than any other city in the southeastern United States. Retail Sales total $3.3 billion annually which places us in second place in our state.
There are several projects that have helped grow our economy including the Mid-Town District development. In addition, two new solar fields have gone online; the new Regions District office in Lamar County with a $23 million investment; Kohler has relocated its manufacturing plant to Hattiesburg with a $16 million investment; and, Oxiteno located its national headquarters in Hattiesburg, drawn here by the polymer program at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Todd says our economy has three pillars; education, health care, and the military. The ADP wants to add a fourth pillar by luring a large manufacturing plant to the Eagle One Mega Site. The two largest selling points for our area are the quality of our workforce and the quality of life in the area.
The Area Development Partnership receives 70% of its funding from the private sector and 30% from government funding. It offers a loan program (SEMCIC) to small, local businesses. The ADP also offers a career fair for 8th and 9th graders to with help workforce development. Eleventh graders in the area are offered a one-day life skill training program called Mission Possible. They also offer workforce development training to area teachers.
To learn more, visit their website at or you can call them at 601-296-7500.
Steven then adjourned the meeting with our motto, "Service Above Self."