Author Archives: Colin Krieger

Dept of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million in Golden Triangle’s Future

Dept of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million in Golden Triangle’s Future

WASHINGTON, D.C. – From a Press Release Courtesy of the US Economic Development Association

Thad Cochran Research Park in Starkville – courtesy photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced yesterday that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.8 million grant to the MSU Research & Technology Corporation of Starkville to help build the new Analytical Center for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis will be located at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology, and Economic Development Park.

“This project is the product of local leaders’ efforts to generate greater economic opportunities in Mississippi,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The new Analytical Center for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis will boost the state’s competitiveness by providing regional businesses with the support they need to grow while simultaneously delivering the critical workforce training necessary to help them thrive.”

The new facility will serve as an industrial resource by providing the instruments, equipment, and expertise businesses need to verify product integrity, support manufacturing, ensure quality control, and contribute to product development.

Please click here for the full press release.

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MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses

MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses


Oktibbeha County – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Partnership, in conjunction with the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach are working together to give local middle- and high-school students a taste of what it’s like to start a business. With help from International Paper, they will be hosting an Oktibbeha County Innovation Challenge for the students. An interest meeting for the challenge is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Glo office at 419 E. Lampkin St.

Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said that the challenge is open to all Oktibbeha MS/HS students: “The program is designed to really introduce students to entrepreneurship and business,” he said. “The goal is the students, individually or in teams, will come up with a project that they would like to see brought to market. Then they would participate in some training and seminars to show them how to develop a business plan. . .They will develop either a real prototype or a mocked-up prototype, and they will present in a shark tank environment to a group of people to sell their idea or their product.”

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp – Courtesy Photo

A $500 prize is at stake for the winners, along with scholarships for an entrepreneurship summer camp at MSU.

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp said, “Part of the mission of a land grant university like Mississippi State is to reach out and leverage our resources to boost communities. . . We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the schools and the Partnership in Starkville.” If the first challenge bears fruit, he said, it may be replicated in other cities in the Golden Triangle.

Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant expressed his own excitement: “It is important for our students to experience real-world learning,” he said. “The Innovation Challenge combined project-based learning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity with the resources of the E-Center at MSU for a unique hands-on opportunity for our students. It also provides a unique opportunity to work with (The Partnership) to develop future business leaders for our community.”


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Manufacturing Business Has Blossomed in Golden Triangle in Last Decade

Manufacturing Business Has Blossomed in Golden Triangle in Last Decade



Golden Triangle – Courtesy of Harvard Business School

Over a dozen Harvard Business School faculty, led by Dean Nitin Nohria and Senior Associate Dean for Research Jan Rivkin, came to the Golden Triangle last fall to take an in-depth look into just why our area’s manufacturing business has blossomed to impressively over the past decade. Our area has a labor pool of approximately 500,000 people within a 60-mile radius, a bustling regional airport, several sizeable colleges and universities nearby, and plenty of usable land. The GTR region has brought in nearly six billion dollars in investments and industry in that time, and outsiders have been paying more and more attention: “There are so many good things happening in this area of the country,” said Rivkin. “It’s a story of leadership, cross-sector collaboration, and local competitiveness. This corner of Mississippi is competing for global firms, and often it’s winning.”

Prof Mitch Weiss, Dean Nitin Nohria, Joe Max Higgins, and Prof Jan Rivkin – courtesy photo

Rivkin’s attention was first brought to the region due to a 2016 article in the Atlantic, which prompted him to write to the fine folks at our own GTR LINK. He and others had been studying similar successes abroad, and were excited for the opportunity to learn more about something more home-grown: “We realized that we had a much better understanding of other parts of the world than we had of certain parts of America,” Rivkin recalled. “HBS faculty members used to spend a lot of time visiting those parts of the country, but we had lost touch. There was a stark need for us to reconnect with these areas and learn about them, and from them, in a changing social and political context.”

They found the people of GTR area welcoming and eager to share their knowledge: “Not only were they enormously gracious and hospitable,” Rivkin said. “They were eager for us to come and learn more.” They worked closely with the LINK to arrange times for their sixteen members to visit on October 30 and 31 of last year.

“Many of the faculty, including Dean Nohria and Professor Rivkin, intentionally selected the Golden Triangle because of the significant economic development there in the last few years,” said Alain Bonacossa, Senior Director for Research Administration and Behavioral Research Services at HBS. “They wanted to understand how that came about so they could bring those lessons to bear in the classroom and for other communities in their research.”

They began by attending a series of meetings in Columbus hosted by LINK’s charismatic CEO, Joe Max Higgins: “In the economic development business,” he explained, “coming in second equals coming in last.” They then proceeded to visit EMCC and MSU to learn about their own advancements in student training and close work with manufacturers; they also went to visit some local plants to see their work up close and personal.

Rivkin summed up his takeaways from his time well-spent in the GTR as such: “Leaders in the Golden Triangle have developed trust and hope, and it shows in the novel ways they work together . . . The Golden Triangle folks helped me see that if you’re going to be in a game like this, you’d better be very well organized and very talented. And they are .”

The HBS contingent – courtesy photo

He also said that, having read and heard many good things about our area and its focus on attracting business, these things were proven true: “You always wonder when you go to a place that’s received such glowing reviews if it will live up to its billing. The Golden Triangle did and then some.”

Joe Max Higgins has even returned the favor, going up to Harvard to spread a little of his wisdom around: “Students were deeply impressed by the collaboration shown in GTR’s revitalization, and they learned a lot about leadership from their time with Joe Max and Macaulay,” Professor Kerr said. “Their southern charm and humor also made for a riotously fun day.”

Rivkin finished by saying that “Many of the ideas from trips like these percolate in the backs of our minds and, eventually, find their way into research or teaching,” he said. “There are short-term and long-term benefits, and it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Getting out into the world is vitally important for our work here on campus.”

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Columbus Airbus Receives Major Helicopter Program Contract

Columbus Airbus Receives Major Helicopter Program Contract

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Courtesy of WCBI

Courtesy of WCBI

The Columbus Airbus Plant announced that they are to receive a $200+ million grant to help them launch a second helicopter line; they will be producing 35 UH-72A helicopters for the U.S. Army. The Army will also be contributing, to the tune of about $136 million for the production of the new aircraft. The aircraft are expected to be completed by 2021.

Talented workforce in Columbus MS will produce new UH-72A helicopters for the @USArmy. @SenatorWicker @RepTrentKelly & I announced $273.2 million contract:

— Senator Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran) March 9, 2018

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BREAKING NEWS! Budweiser Clydesdales to Trot on Down to Columbus

Budweiser Clydesdales to Trot on Down to Columbus

Columbus – Courtesy of

The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Photo courtesy of the TCPalm/by Jamie Jackson

The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be coming to the Columbus area from April 17th to the 22nd. Sources indicate that they will most likely be touring in both Columbus and Starkville at various times during the week. Come on out and see these legends in person, and bring your camera!

Please note that both Super Bulldog Weekend in Starkville, and the Air Show at Columbus Air Force Base are also happening that weekend

Please click here for their official site

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MSU Obtains $7 Million Grant for Roadway Improvements

MSU Obtains $7 Million Grant for Roadway Improvements

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi,recentlyannounced a $7 million federal transportation grant for Mississippi State University. The grant is intended to pay for development of a roughly two-mile multimodal corridor on Hightower Road, a portion of which is to be named “Bulldog Way.” The corridor will connect Blackjack Road to East Lee Boulevard.

“Mississippi State proposed this multimodal project to help alleviate gridlock and improve safety for students, faculty, visitors, and Starkville residents,” Cochran said.  “I’m pleased that the Department of Transportation will invest in this project, which will improve the overall quality of life for the Starkville and Oktibbeha County community.”

MSU spokesman Sid Salter stated that “[Recent] growth has put a tremendous strain on the existing transportation infra­structure, both on campus and in the community . . .The Hightower Road Corridor Project in concert with other planned improvements seeks to alleviate this potential transportation ‘gridlock’ by providing a needed north/south multimodal corridor on the eastern border of the campus to connect Blackjack Road with the northern portion of campus.”

Congress annually appropriates funding for these TIGER grants, which are awarded on a competitive and matching fund basis, and are directed toward projects that are expected to have a significant economic impact.  Since 2009, Mississippi has received nearly $100 million in TIGER funds.

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VIDEO: Manufacturing Renaissance Fully Under Way in Golden Triangle

Manufacturing Renaissance Fully Under Way in Golden Triangle[VIDEO]

Courtesy of The Atlantic

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins (courtesy photo)

The Columbus area, a long-time center of manufacturing in the region, lost many of the core businesses that kept driving it forward in the early 2000’s, as many of the manufacturing jobs fled overseas. However, the people of this area have worked hard to do something about that. The results began to show in earnest in the early 2010’s, as more and more factories have been coming to town, and the end is nowhere in sight!

Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the GTR LINK, noted that that sort of economic turnaround is “something just doesn’t typically happen in places this small and this rural in the South.” Here in Columbus, we’re proud to be bucking that trend.

Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows and contributing writer Deborah Fallows have spent three years exploring small town America by air, “taking seriously places that don’t usually get registered seriously.”

Please click here for the video.

Please click here for the full article.

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GTR LINK Speaking with Several Companies about New Starkville Development

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

GTRD LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins talks with a Starkville Rotary Club member Monday at Starkville Country Club. He discussed Starkville’s planned industrial park at the club’s weekly meeting. Photo by Luisa Porter – The Dispatch

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said the LINK is ready and waiting to help make Starkville’s and Oktibbeha County’s new industrial park a reality. Higgins passed on the news while attending a meeting of the Starkville Rotary Club. He stated that the LINK is working with three companies with regards to an 80-acre parcel on the east side of the industrial park.

“We’ve got two, possibly three projects that we’re working that’ll fit [there],” Higgins said. “See, we can’t put somebody out there [in the rest of the site] until this zoning thing is closed because it puts the company and us in potentially having a bad problem. However, these companies could plug and play to go in there right now. A distribution facility could go in there right now.” He anticipates that the projects could create 175 to 300 jobs.

Higgins also spoke of a recent visit he paid to Boston and the Harvard School of Business, which is itself utilizing the information they gathered from a trip they took last fall, when they came to the Golden Triangle region in order to create two case studies for its students. He went on to say that these studies, along with the national media attention garnered by The Atlantic and by his appearance on “60 Minutes” has helped to raise the GTR’s profile and attracted the attention of groups such as Dartmouth  and the Harvard faculty:  “The world is watching what we do,” he said.

Please click here for the full article.


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COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Waukaway Springs Bottling Company is in the process of restoring its College Street warehouse building to as close to its original look as possible.

Jataune James sorts and cleans bricks at Waukaway Springs in Columbus Tuesday afternoon. Waukaway Springs is being restored to its former look. The building formerly housed Brown Buick Company. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Stephen Imes, Waukaway Springs president and owner, said, “Right now, we have the mindset of taking it back to what it looked like in the 40s. We really just want to bring it back to its former glory.” He stated that the interior wil lbe renovated and repaired, and some remodeling will be done to the exterior; in addition, extensive repairs will be done to the roof, which was beginning to cave in. Among the fixes will be structural reinforcements, such as replacing old wooden beams with steel ones.

He went on to say that they have been reclaiming as much of the original building materials as possible, and that they plan to re-use them as part of this project: “Several different types of brick have come out of this process,” Imes said. “We have seen a variety of manufacturers’ work, and we plan to use as much of it as we can.” He said that his  employees are sorting and cleaning every brick by hand in the warehouse for reuse.

“We did have a picture of the Brown Buick Company to base our renovations off of,” Jim Buck Vaughan, the project contractor said. “But it’s mainly making sure we update the building, without making it entirely too modern to where it does not match the other buildings in the area.”

The building is expected to reopen in about three months, or early summer.

Please click here to view the full article.

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Cajun Food Place Coming Soon to Columbus


Cajun Food Place Coming Soon to Columbus

Developer Mark Castleberry confirmed a Cajun seafood restaurant is coming to old Chili’s site on Highway 45 – Photo by Deanna Robinson


COLUMBUS – Courtesy of TheDispatch

Hungry for some real Cajun food? Here’s hoping it will succeed where Chili’s Tex-Mex failed – literally!

Local developer Mark Castleberry, recently purchased the old vacant Chili’s property and building on Hwy45. He says that Umi owner Billy Wang will open up the new venue sometime in the next few months; the plan is to open for business by June. A formal press conference will be held in the future.

Click here for the original article


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