Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville
STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch
GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins recently met with the Starkville board of aldermen, Oktibbeha County board of supervisors and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority to talk about the issue of trust. He feels that economic development depends on it.
From his perspective, he needs to know that he and the LINK can trust that they know what the area’s county and local officials expect, so as to make sure that proposals for economic investment will get heard and acted upon. He stated that, in Lowndes and Clay counties, he has a pretty good grasp on that; for Oktibbeha, not so much: “I do (know) in the other places,” Higgins said. “I don’t have that comfort here. . .there’s some of you that I don’t know how you’re going to vote and it’s scary,” he added.
On the flip side, Higgins stated that local leaders will need to know that they can trust the LINK to keep the cities’ and counties’ best interests in mind when bringing them new prospects and proposals: “We don’t go after and heavily incentivize deals that don’t pay more than our county averages,” Higgins said. “You can’t make your place be a better place by going after jobs. You need to go after good jobs.”
District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard spoke on the importance of such trust: “We’ve just got to trust Joe Max and his team. To this point, they’ve been good about keeping us in the loop,” Howard said. “But as things speed up, we’re not going to be able to call everybody together every time. He’s going to have to be comfortable that we trust him enough to say, ‘Joe Max is not going to bring us a bad deal.'”