Category Archives: MSU

SOCSD Announced Opening of New Partnership School

SOCSD Announced Opening of New Partnership School


SOCSD Lewis Holliday (courtesy photo)

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District-Mississippi State University partnership school is now projected to open in the late fall of 2018, three to four months later than previously expected, SOCSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway confirmed Wednesday.  The project, which will house and educate all sixth- and seventh-grade students in Oktibbeha County, is still moving forward, he said, but the administrative process developing the school has slowed down its progress and tentatively pushed back the opening date.

“Normally, a school district just designs and builds a new campus. It’s a much speedier process (without university and state-level involvement),” he said. “We had to go through the (university’s) design review committee, and that took several months that we weren’t anticipating.”

MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said the new timeline estimate is a conservative one and the university is confident it and SOCSD “can successfully navigate any issues that arise.”
“In any project of this nature, such delays are often unavoidable,” he said.

Once completed, the roughly $30 million project will serve as a model education platform in the state and help solve issues with classroom overcrowding created after the Oktibbeha County School District and Starkville School District merged.

Funding for the partnership school comes from three levels: state lawmakers appropriated $10 million, MSU pledged approximately $10 million in land and money and a local $16 million bond issuance will fund construction costs, furnishings and other districtwide infrastructure needs.

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Insitu Visits MSU in Search of Talent

Insitu Visits MSU in Search of Talent


The Dispatch – Starkville, MS

Executives from Boeing subsidiary Insitu were in town recently, following up on last year’s work towards establishing a foothold for their aircraft in the Golden Triangle area. They are currently seeking candidates to fill at least two “high-skill” positions within their company, along with a possible internship, and they have chosen MSU’s recent job fair as the best place to start looking. Mississippi State is the lead university in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) program. The university is also an FAA Center of Excellence.

Insitu leadership Darcy Davidson, Benjamin Tarkany, Charlton Evans, and Jon Damush meet with the local media at Mississippi State University Tuesday afternoon. The Boeing subsidiary that works with unmanned aerial systems is opening a location at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park in Starkville. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Benjamin Tarkany coordinates talent acquisition at Insitu.  “We have established a vision of what we want to do with the office,” he said. “At first it was more (looking at) what are the capabilities in the area, and we’ve aligned what we can do project-wise with the talent pool here and what we think we can realistically bring to sit out of this office and see benefit from it . . . We’re engaging candidates here locally and we’re also hoping to bolster our applicants by being here and present,” he later added.

Insitu Vice President and General Manager Jon Damush said,  “The challenge in that is that you might be able to find a place that has conducive airspace, but most of the time conducive airspace is not co-located with any kind of infrastructure or human resources capacity, let alone an academic capacity . . .When we became aware of what was happening at Mississippi State with the ASSURE program and economic development efforts that are going on here, to us it looked like the perfect alignment of factors.”

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Joe Max Higgins Helps Golden Triangle to Make a Great Impression

Joe Max Higgins Helps Golden Triangle to Make a Great Impression

“Business Facilities” magazine did a great article following up on CBS’ coverage of our own Joe Max Higgins not too long ago, highlighting his zeal and efforts in bringing manufacturing plants and jobs to our area. Higgins has been working tirelessly for many years to help revitalize our area — and that’s Good for Business!


Thanks to an interview on last Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast on CBS, the economic development community has a new mega-star, and his name is Joe Max Higgins. Higgins is Economic Development director for Mississippi’s Golden Triangle.

As revealed during his star turn on 60 Minutes, Higgins is a project-building dynamo. Since he arrived in the Golden Triangle in 2003, Joe Max has turned a rural stretch of the Magnolia State into one of the hottest high-growth locations you can find anywhere. If you didn’t watch Sunday’s show, we encourage you to check it out.

Here are some highlights:

Under Joe Max Higgin’s leadership, the area has attracted $6 billion in new investments. Unemployment in the Golden Triangle is now 6 percent and falling fast.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Golden Triangle began suffering an exodus of manufacturing jobs in its primary industries of textiles, toys and tubing, with a majority of the estimated 12,000 jobs it lost leaving for overseas locations. Since Higgins arrived, more than half of these jobs have been replaced. According to Joe Max, the influx of 6,000 new manufacturing jobs to the tri-county region was driven by companies who had offshored production coming to the realization that they could produce their goods and get them to market from plants in Mississippi cheaper than by shipping them to the U.S. from overseas plants.

Joe Max’s in-your-face approach has landed some killer deals for the Golden Triangle, including a Steel Dynamics plant that is one of the most advanced steel mills in the nation.

Higgins’ bulldog tenacity is applied to state and county officials as well as corporate site selectors. He’s succeeded in convincing them to pony up more than half a billion in incentives and tax breaks to grease the wheels of dealmaking in the Golden Triangle.

Higgins told 60 Minutes that when he arrived in the Golden Triangle the area was “paralyzed” by poverty. But he saw some golden assets that could form a foundation for solid growth, including an airport, railways and waterways that connect the area to the Gulf Coast in the south and the Great Lakes in the north.

Higgins told the locals to shake off what he called “a losing attitude” and realize they had the assets to make the Triangle “big and strong and fast.”

Bulldog indeed. You’ve got our full attention Joe Max, and we look forward to keeping everyone up to date on the great progress being made in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle.


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MSU and Ole Miss Rank Highly in National Online MBA Poll

MSU and Ole Miss Rank Highly in National Online MBA Poll

WTVA brings us great news –  both Ole Miss and Mississippi State University got excellent scores in a nationwide study of online Master of Business Administration degree programs conducted by US News & World Report. The state is looking better and better for prospective businessmen and women! And THAT’s Good for Business!

Here is their press release:

(WTVA) – Two Mississippi universities have been ranked high when it comes to earning an MBA online.

U.S. News & World Report tied Ole Miss at number 21 nationally when it comes to earning a Master of Business Administration online and Mississippi State University tied at number 18.

According to the report, earning a Master’s degree in business adminstration is one of the most popular and growing graduate programs a person can take.

The report ranked schools using five criteria: student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

To see the full list, click this link.

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Ground Broken on EMCC’s $42mil Communiversity Facility

By Golden Triangle Development LINK

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – On Friday morning, December 9, local, state and federal agencies gathered to break ground on the Golden Triangle’s newest workforce development project, The Communiversity.

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

A $42+ million dollar project, the facility will be East Mississippi Community College’s state-of-the-art workforce technical training facility at the Golden Triangle Campus. Community groups began working on the project in December 2013. Funding for the project is sourced from state bonds ($18M), the Appalachian Regional Commission ($10.7M), local community funds from Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties ($13.5) and EMCC ($400K).

The new facility includes an interactive, museum style lobby and 21 high bay learning areas, a manufacturing display venue, classrooms and laboratories, and incubator bays for new start-ups. The 16 classroom spaces will be equipped with the latest in A/V technology. The facility will also include office, conference, and food service collaboration spaces for EMCC and other entities. The project consists of 145,638 square feet.

“Federal, state, and local agencies have come together to invest in the workforce here in east Mississippi and we could not be more pleased,” said Dr. Thomas Huebner, East Mississippi Community College President. “This project is a game changer in workforce education and development and we are excited about the opportunities it represents for the communities we serve.”

Both non-credit workforce classes and career technical programs leading to the Associate of Applied Science Degree will be offered.  Construction is under way and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

“This facility will put the Golden Triangle on the cutting edge of workforce training,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties should be commended for investing in their citizens. The Communiversity will be a massive asset to industrial recruitment and our existing industries.”

Read the full press release here:

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Palmer Home Teens Working Hard to Help Nonprofit

Palmer Home Teens Working Hard to Help Nonprofit

Teens from Palmer Home for Children are working hard to support their home and others like it, while learning real-world skills in customer service, in order to prepare them for life as young adults. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch

palmer-homeTeenage residents of Columbus’ Palmer Home for Children have been helping fans on MSU game day to find parking at Cadence Bank, right across the street from The Mill. The teens collect the $20 parking fees – all of which goes to the Palmer Home locations in Columbus and Hernando, as well as a partner location in Tennessee. In addition to helping them to raise much-needed funding, it also raises awareness of the fact that the children’s homes even exist. The local Palmer Home provides a home, food, clothing, and education for about 112 local children who might not otherwise have had ready access to any of those things.

Tom Green, director of operations and facilities at Palmer Home, supervises the children as they provide the service. “The objective is to get these young (people) in a different social environment, let them present themselves, let them talk to the patrons of the parking lot,” Green said. “But, most important, it teaches them life skills of engaging with people, making change and giving instructions.”

Marketing director Kellum Kim said that the Palmer Parking project, which began during the 2014 season, has raised about $30,000 in that time, or about $2,500 per game.
“It’s important for them to learn just that face-to-face interaction in a business setting,” Kim said. “A lot of our kids do have after-school jobs or volunteer in other capacities, so it’s not just like they’re here on our campus never socializing with the outside world. But a lot of their jobs are here on our campus.”

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MSU Student Volunteers Come Together to Help Feed Those in Need

MSU Student Volunteers Come Together to Help Feed Those in Need

STARKVILLE, MS (Sourced from Starkville Daily News, WCBI) –

ms stateRoughly a hundred MSU student volunteers recently joined forces to pack and ship five thousand meals to be sent out to hungry families in Mississippi and beyond, as part of a project to help raise awareness of food insecurity.The Oxfam Hunger Banquet model was used for their pre-work meal, where students were divided up into several groups meant to proportionally represent various “income levels” and what families at those levels might find themselves eating. The smallest group by far – those randomly chosen as the “high income” group, sat down at the tables for a multi-course meal with real plates and silverware; the largest two groups – the “low income” ones, sat on the floor with paper plates, plastic forks, a mound of mashed potatoes – and precious little else. Students reportedly ate relatively little, many of them never having previously known just how bad many families in need really have it.

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MS State’s Professor Flick Retiring After 45 Years [VIDEO]

MSU’s Professor Flick Retiring After 45 Years


STARKVILLE, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI)

Dr. Hank Flick, communications professor with a grand 45-year career at MSU, is hanging up his mortarboard. He first joined the university in the 1970’s, where he had gone to earn his Master’s degree – and things just kind of ballooned from there: “I never planned on being a teacher,” he said. “This is something I never wanted to do, not that I had any problem with it, but it was just something that opened up to me.”

Since then, he has never missed even a single day of work. He remarked, “I just love it here at Mississippi State. I love the students, I love the classroom, and love means commitment. I’m committed to this.”

He also served as a PA for some time: “I worked there for 32 years,” he said. “I started doing basketball then I did football, then I did track and I did a couple of baseball games.”

In his retirement, Flick plans to focus on book authorship and research; his third volume is planned for this Christmastime.
Flick said he has a genuine love for all of his students, which made his decision to retire a tough one.

Read more at WCBI:

Former MSU Professor Retires After An Illustrious Career

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MSU’s iCreate Camp Gives Teens the Chance to Run a Business

Lauren Graham and Caroline Parker, seniors at Lamar School in Meridian, tell customers about their custom pieces at the iCreate pop-up shop at Mississippi State's Visual Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. The shop featured the work of students who attended an entrepreneurial camp at the university this week. Photo by: Mary Alice Truitt/Dispatch Staff

Lauren Graham and Caroline Parker, seniors at Lamar School in Meridian, tell customers about their custom pieces at the iCreate pop-up shop at Mississippi State’s Visual Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. The shop featured the work of students who attended an entrepreneurial camp at the university this week. Photo by: Mary Alice Truitt/Dispatch Staff

MSU recently played host to seven Mississippi students and one Georgia student, in their first-ever iCreate camp. The students learned about creating a new shop and put the theory into practice, and MSU hopes to continue the program’s success. This program, and others like it that could appear in the future, will prepare our young people for life beyond school, while giving them a solid grounding in the realities of working at and running a store. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of the Dispatch

The students put together a business plan and set up a boutique jewelry store in six days.  The students also took time to visit established jewelry boutiques around Starkville and talk to business owners in the community. They also heard guest lecturers from the university. Friday they set up the store and Saturday they opened for business in the Visual Arts Center on University Drive. Within a couple of hours of opening their doors, they had made a little over $300. Prices were mostly in the $25-50 range.

“Just the simplest piece in the room can make any item of more value to the customer,” said Alex Ridge, a rising 10th grader from Pontotoc. “Marketing isn’t just selling things to the customer.”

Anmol Narang, a senior at Brookhaven Academy, sorts materials at the iCreate pop-up shop at Mississippi State's Visual Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. The shop featured the work of students who attended an entrepreneurial camp at the university this week. Photo by: Mary Alice Truitt/Dispatch Staff

Anmol Narang, a senior at Brookhaven Academy, sorts materials at the iCreate pop-up shop at Mississippi State’s Visual Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. The shop featured the work of students who attended an entrepreneurial camp at the university this week.
Photo by: Mary Alice Truitt/Dispatch Staff

Camp Coordinator Justin Hall credited the students for the camp’s success. Student-driven camps always depend on the dedication and strength of the students, and he had a really great group this year, he said. “It’s been a great experience I think, so far, for everybody.”

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Starkville Trustees, MSU, LINK Are of One Mind on Industrial Site

A new industrial park is on its way to Starkville, which will help to attract new big business and enhance extant ones – and that’s Good For Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch –

Mississippi State University  and The Greater Starkville Development Partnership Board of Trustees (GDSP) have announced their support for the GT LINK’s plan to develop about 400 acres north of the Highway 25-Highway 82 interchange into a new industrial park.  MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw weighed in: “We must not waste it,” Shaw said of the proposal in his statement. “Not having a 21st-century park is holding us back. In my three decades at Mississippi State, I have seen a lot of great changes take place in our community when people make tough decisions and invest in the future. I believe that we can do that again by developing this new industrial park.”

Supervisors previously dedicated $7 million toward the project, and the LINK seeks a similar contribution from aldermen.

“[The chosen site] was identified by the … LINK as the ‘best site’ and ‘best value’ for an industrial park in Oktibbeha County,” the resolution states. “Successful industrial recruitment can result in an expanded tax base and provide much needed living-wage jobs to the citizens of Oktibbeha County. … The community must take advantage of opportunities presented for the development of the industrial product in order to be competitive in the industry.”


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