Transformation Tour planning Wed. stop here

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No one was ready for the economic recession that began lastyear, but one of Mississippi’s leading economic squads is makingsure everyone is in position when it ends.

The Mississippi Economic Council will stop in Brookhaven onWednesday as part of its state-spanning Transformation Tour, amonth-long initiative that is putting the organization in contactwith government and industry leaders from Southaven toGulfport.

The local conference takes place at Rusty’s restaurant at 11:30a.m. during a joint meeting of the Brookhaven Kiwanis and Lionsclubs. It will give local business owners a chance to share needsand concerns with MEC, swap ideas about the best ways to strengthenthe local economic base and how to capitalize when the economybegins to recover. Interested businessmen may sign up online to join the more than 70 local business leadersalready planning to attend the conference.

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“If you’re not positioning yourself for the future, you’remissing an opportunity,” said MEC President Blake Wilson.

Wilson said MEC officials would discuss opportunities foreconomic development, strengthening education and the overallbusiness climate. The council will share and receive ideas fromlocal officials on targeting growth-ready industries for economicdevelopment and continued enhancement of educationopportunities.

“Education is a huge issue,” Wilson said. “The Children FirstAct is significant in enabling our state department of education totake over failing districts, and that is a huge plus in moving thestate forward.”

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said local economic leaders would seekMEC’s help on methods to further enhance the Mississippi Scholarsprogram, as well as ideas for strengthening the city’s existingindustry base.

“Many of (MEC’s) focus points are very much in line with ourown, some of those being education, workforce development andeconomic competitiveness,” he said.