Category Archives: Starkville

Greater Starkville Development Partnership – October 4th 2017

Announcement from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership

Join us Wednesday, October 4th at 7:30 a.m. for the GSDP Power Breakfast at The Mill Conference Center. We are proud to host a Candidate Forum for the Mississippi House of Representatives, District 38, and we hope that you will join us for this opportunity to hear from the candidates.

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EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

MAYHEW – Courtesy

Dr. Raj Shaunak first began teaching at EMCC in 1991, where he gives mathematics instruction to adult basic education students. Prior to that, the Kenyan-born entrepreneur became a Starkville transplant in 1972, built a business with his brother during the 1980’s, and retired as a millionaire at age 42, in 1989.

Fast forward to the modern day, and Shaunak, who is EMCC’s vice president for Workforce and Community Services, has now become the recent recipient of both the 2017 Excellence in Local and District Government Award and one of two recipients of governor’s 2017 Excellence in Government Awards, which recognizes and encourages innovation in public administration.

The Mississippi Personnel Board lauded Shaunak: “He played a crucial role in the recruitment of companies including Airbus, PACCAR, and Yokohama Tire Company to Mississippi’s Golden Triangle,” the press release states. “He has partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority to lead workforce development efforts for these companies locating to Mississippi. Dr. Shaunak is also a leader in innovative educational programming; he spearheaded the efforts to create EMCC’s Communiversity, a state-of-the-art career-technical facility with a hands-on museum.  Finally, he has partnered, authored, secured, and implemented many successful grants to benefit Mississippians.”

When Shaunak first joined EMCC as a volunteer teacher, “Nobody knew anything about workforce development at the time,” Shaunak said. “It was a new thing starting at some of the community colleges. We had three or four people in what was called the Skill Tech Center.” He went on to emphasize the need for a close relationship between high-tech manufacturers and the schools capable of giving them highly-educated canididates: “We listen to what our industry wants,” Shaunak said. “EMCC is absolutely the trend setter in providing training for these high-tech manufacturing jobs. Our students are trained on cutting edge machinery and equipment by instructors who are not only passionate about their work but who have worked in business and industry and understand the language. We have earned a reputation as a top-notch, quality institution.”


Please click here for the full article.

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Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Toyota and Mazda announced just a few weeks ago that they are  looking and a number of sites nationwide to build a joint auto production plant. Our own Joe Max Higgins says that the recently-set up Infinity Megasite (IMS) right here in the Golden Triangle is the best candidate within the State of Mississippi for such a project. The IMS now controls 1,444 acres of the Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park on Hwy 82 west of Columbus: “We believe that if Mississippi’s putting its best foot forward, we’re probably the first pick,” Higgins said.

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

While the proposed plant is still in its very earliest days of consideration, Bloomberg seems to agree saying that the IMS could very well be one of the top few candidates for the $1.6 billion project, which is expected to bring roughly 4,000 jobs to the general area.

“Understand this –Toyota’s not an unknown commodity,” Higgins said. “. . .If Toyota knocks on your door, you open it and you offer them some coffee, some Coke, some pastries if you got them and you say ‘What can I do for you?'”

Lowndes BoS  President Harry Sanders said that, “The thing about it is, think what it would do for Lowndes County and this portion of the Golden Triangle, with all the high-quality jobs. I think it would be great to get an automotive industry here.”

“In Mississippi, look at the battles that have been won,” Higgins said. “If we roll the clock back 20 years, most people would tell you there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Mississippi could get a car plant. But in 15, 16 years we’ve gotten two (Nissan in Canton, Toyota in Blue Springs). I think that’s a good testament to the state of Mississippi. Could we support a third one? Yeah, I think we could.”

He also stated his confidence in the region’s ability to meet the potential plant’s needs, and that its proximity to MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, could also be a major factor in any decision to be made: “Everybody wants to sell that their workforce can be retrained to make steel, or retrained to make cars or retrained to make tires,” Higgins said. “I don’t think most communities are selling that 20-, 30- and 40-year sustainable workforce. See, I’m not worried about where I’m getting my initial tranche of people to run my plant. These plants are worried about who’s gonna be running that son of a gun in 10, 15, or 20 or 40 years.”


Please click here for the full article

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MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Courtesy of EMCC

MSU and EMCC are joining forces to help educate highly-qualified students about cybersecurity, thanks to a $3.11 million grant from the National Science Foundation. MSU will be awarding two dozen of these highly-competitive scholarships to both their own students, and to a select few EMCC students who will be continuing their study in the field at MSU after graduating from EMCC. The end goal is to prepare these students with a thorough grounding in their chosen field, so that they may work as cybersecurity government experts as soon as possible after graduation.

“Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.” “Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.”

“These dollars will open doors for many outstanding students to seek education and employment in the expanding and vitally important field of cybersecurity,” EMCC President Thomas M. Huebner said. “We could not be more pleased than to partner with MSU and believe it will pay dividends for our students, the industries we serve, and the state of Mississippi.”

MSU is among the nation’s most prolific in terms of CyberCorps students, and the school has also been the source of over 70 peer-reviewed publications on the subject.

Please click here for the full article.

For more on the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program, visit






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Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

STARKVILLE, MS – Starkville Daily News

CFO Cameron Maddox, 19, left, and COO James Moore, 19, of Cowbell Carts (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

MSU students Sophomores James Moore and Cameron Maddox are launching Starkville’s first micro-transportation system, called “Cowbell Carts.” Each of their two carts (at the moment) can seat six passengers comfortably, and the young men plan to use them to help people travel safely during busy times hours, e.g. acting as designated drivers, shuttling people to big games from distant parking lots, etc. Their initial coverage area will include primarily MSU’s campus, the Cotton District, and Main Street. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total.

“I think we are really going to provide a service that not only makes everyone safer, but it’s going to be really fun and entertaining,” Moore said. He went on to say that their company was inspired by the observation that college towns, such as Starkville, tend to have a vibrant night life; thus, the decision was made to offer a low-cost, safe way to get people where they’re going while they’re out on the town.

While not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the prospects for such a business, their professors and the college have given them valuable criticism and supported their idea: “We try to take the criticism as constructive,” Moore said. “I’ve been relying heavily on people that have much more experience than I do.”

While they plan to keep it a 2-man operation at first, in order to test the waters, they plan to expand once football season begins. They know that the road ahead is uncertain – as they need to balance their new jobs with their scholastix endeavors – but they are confident that they can pull this off, and they are willing to work hard in order that they succeed on both fronts: “When you’re thinking of the idea, let your head go to the clouds,” Maddox said. “But when it comes down to actually making the business, you’ve got to be on the ground.”

Cowbell Carts is projected to have a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime between Aug. 7 and Aug 11. The company will begin immediately when school starts back for Mississippi State students this fall.

“I’m obviously incredibly excited for this to be here, not just because it’s my business but it’s something that Starkville doesn’t have and Starkville needs,” Moore said. “I think Starkville and the campus is going to see a lot of good come out of this.”

Business hours will be every Thursday through Saturday from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

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Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Courtesy of Carl Smith/The Starkville Dispatch –

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert (courtesy photo)

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert recently announced that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be providing upwards of $660 thousand in grants intended to help with transportation improvements in the GTR area. Beneficiaries of these grants are to be statewide – e.g.,  railroads, public transportation networks, ports, local airports, and more; the local area had these four major recipients, alongside others:  Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Lowndes County Port and Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system.

“Each of these modes of transportation plays a vital role in transporting people, goods and services that promote economic growth and development throughout Mississippi,” Tagert said in a release. “Mississippi no longer competes regionally, but on a global level. Investing in local and municipal airports supports global economic development and logistics. Improving our ports and rail system allows appropriate amounts agricultural products to be transported in a safer, more environmentally friendly manner, while reducing maintenance costs on roads and bridges.”

“Considering if there’s an incident at the airport, numerous agencies will be responding. This network is needed since it allows everyone to be on the same page,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “The biggest thing we’re focusing on with it is the terminal, which has a lot of metal on the inside. We’re going to install a repeater system to make sure everything works as it’s supposed to there.”


Please click here to view the full article.

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Fox Onsite at MSU for an Article About ASSURE


Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Fox Business Network was on the MSU campus Friday, getting footage for the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), for a story scheduled to air this coming Monday at 4:30PM on Fox Business. ASSURE, an international coalition of universities, is managed by MSU. Their Deputy Director, Steve “Lux” Luxion said that “MSU has taken a leadership role, and it’s got to be recognized . . . When Fox News comes to do a story about the progress, it’s a win.”

Fox News also covered UAS research at MSU, and went to North Farm to take a look at drones used for crop surveyal: “Increasingly, people are beginning to figure out that drones can do many things more efficiently and safely,” Luxion said.

He went on to say that many jobs currently (or formerly) performed by manned aircraft that might end up being done by drones in the future include those which are hazardous, dirty, or just plain monotonous, including routine surveys and hazardous material applications.

Please click here for the full article

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Columbus To Get New Places To Go To For Fresh Burgers And Trucker Service

Courtesy of The Dispatch


Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years.  Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”

Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.


The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks  are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.



Please click here to see the full article.

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Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

NEWS RELEASE: Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

Starkville, MS., Courtesy of the Starkville Insider –

Scott Maynard

The Board of Directors of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership has announced that they have appointed Scott Maynard as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization, following a nationwide search that included over 75 candidates.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Scott Maynard to the Partnership team,” said Chairman Michelle Amos. “From the start of our search, we have been committed to finding a leader for this organization who understands all of the possibilities for Starkville, someone who shares our vision and passion for this community. Under Scott’s leadership, we are confident our already strong community development program will be pushed to even greater heights.”

Maynard previously served as the Director of the Career Center at Mississippi State University (since 2008), and has also held management positions with the University. Maynard has also served as a City Alderman in Starkville, as well as on various Boards of Directors including the GSDP Convention and Visitors Board and the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I am truly excited about becoming the next President and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership,” said Maynard. “I believe we are on the cusp of tremendous growth for our city and look forward to capitalizing on all of the opportunities before us. The Partnership plays a vital leadership role in the areas of economic development, tourism, entrepreneurship and business development. We will work hard to continue to represent our members and enhance the quality of life for all living in our community through education, job creation and continued economic growth.”

“Starkville, Oktibbeha County and the entire Partnership Membership will be well served with Scott as our new President,” stated Amos, who also chaired the search committee. “The vision and leadership he brings to the GSDP positions us for a tremendous future.”

Please click here to read the full article.

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Historic Home Restorer Speaks Up About Why He Does What He Does


Many older homes, such as Antebellum and Victorian houses, that have been around for a long time have fallen into disrepair simply due to not having anyone there to take care of them; often, the owners have either moving on to other homes, or have otherwise become incapable of maintaining them properly. Many folks would love to see them restored, but not everyone can do so. Starkville’s Buddy Sanders is one man who is making a difference in his own 1920’s Starkville home.

“Everyone wants a nice looking home, something that’s unique, and for someone that lives in a historic home such as myself, it’s just a matter of pride and a matter of, just essentially liking the history of a community,” says historic homeowner, Buddy Sanders.

Historic Homeowner Buddy Sanders (WCBI)

“One day, some of these people that own these homes, their children will come back here and will want to see where their parents, their grandparents lived and it’s no longer here,” says Starkville resident, Faye Turner.

“If somebody don’t want it torn down, then they need to buy it, they need to preserve it, but I think they should be preserved and there is federal money and grant money out there to preserve them,” says Starkville resident, John Fondren.

The fact that construction materials and techniques change over time makes a difference, too:  “The character of the neighborhood and the structure itself. There’s generally an architectural style and materials and designs that are just unique to that structure,” says Sanders.

Sanders purchased a 90-year-old home more than a year ago; he plans on spending around $11 thousand on renovations.

“Restoring the original hardwood floors, essentially replacing the wood with materials that are alike on the home. Returning the color to a color of the house that would be typical of something that was built in the 20’s, along with doors and windows.”

Please click here for the full article and a video.

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