DRA Round-Up: June 2012
Delta Regional Authority continues conversation about Job Growth at Clinton Global Initiative
Memphis Bioworks Commitment featured in Chicago
CHICAGO – On June 7th and 8th, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill attended the 2nd Annual Clinton Global Initiative America. As part of last year's commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, DRA endorsed and supports the Memphis Bioworks-led jobs initiative, the AgBioworks Regional Initiative. The partnership with Memphis Bioworks Foundation rolled out a model for rural and urban entrepreneurial job creation incubators in the Memphis and surrounding Mississippi Delta region. This initiative is focused on adaptively reusing existing manufacturing assets and reconnecting these assets with agricultural production capacity in rural communities. The job creation program takes advantage of the untapped biomass and industrial assets in the region to make the Delta region the "green chemistry and advanced biofuels" hub of North America.
DRA and Memphis Bioworks are proud to report that the AgBioworks Regional Initiative now has four funded staff positions, including a Director located in Memphis, and project coordinators in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. The Initiative has expanded services to 52 counties across Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee through regional collaborations with local universities, chambers of commerce, and private agri-business ventures. The initiative currently has two primary focus areas – processing trials and crop trials.
At a rural sweet sorghum biorefinery located at Agricenter International in Memphis, Tennessee, processing trials are being conducted in partnership with Memphis-based BioDimensions, Delta BioRenewables, and German Farms of Whiteville, Tennessee. In addition, the AgBioworks Regional Initiative has secured commitments from private venture partner BioDimensions and other private and university partners to plant more than 600 acres of renewable industrial oilseeds and sugar crops for the coming crop year 2012-2013.
“Production of renewable biomass feedstocks for green chemicals and biofuels will be an important economic driver for the DRA’s geographic footprint across the Delta,” said Steve Bares, PhD, President and Executive Director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation, who also attended CGI America. “Energy independence is a critical national priority, and our initiative seeks to strategically position our regional agricultural, manufacturing, and logistical assets in a leadership role for the inevitable growth of the bioeconomy.”
To learn more about the Delta Regional Authority’s commitment, click here.
Small Business Spotlight: SI Workwear and Outdoor Center
Illinois: Business owner sees opportunity abound, services and space expand through great customer service
When business owner Gerret Joiner opened the SI Workwear and Outdoor Center
in 2001, he simply wanted to provide local coal miners with quality clothing and footwear for their professional needs. Eleven years later, SI Workwear and Outdoor Center has expanded from a 1700 square foot store to an outdoor center of more than 10,000 square feet.
Joiner began his company with little to no knowledge of how to start a small business, simply keeping note of his ideas. However, with the help of his local Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Illinois College, he was able to turn his notes into a full-scale business plan that led to his receiving a bank loan that helped him open up his store. Joiner commends those at the SBDC as incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, explaining that they gave him “a lot of insight and a lot of courage.”
Joiner’s company now provides a wide range of products and services as the only full line work clothing outfitter in the state. Through mergers with local companies and expansion to include numerous craftsmen throughout the Harrisburg community, SI Workwear manufactures its own line of safety products – mining belts and accessories – as well as commercial custom embroidery and heat press services. As recently as last week, Joiner added screen printing to the services in his repertoire.
Joiner explains that most important to his business are having respect for the people he serves and the products he sells. In only eleven years, Gerret Joiner has taken a little help from his local SBDC and turned it into a successful small business, providing safety, comfort, and compassion to the workmen and community members of Southern Illinois.Delta Distinguished
Tennessee: Transforming West Tennessee through leadership and commitment to community
The counties of Northwest Tennessee have a strong history of coming together to provide services to their residents. John A. Bucy has been a strong leader in Northwest Tennessee, driving the development of “regional community.” As Executive Director of the merged Northwest Tennessee Development District and Northwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency, Bucy has overseen a lot of change in the past year through extensive remodeling and expansion of the facility that now houses both agencies. The NWTDD provides regional planning for the nine counties in Northwest Tennessee in addition to the numerous services of NWHRA, which enhances the quality of life in the region through services such as a nutrition program, public transportation, and home care, each providing the counties with jobs and special care services for senior and retired citizens.
Bucy is also proud of his agency’s recent award of a grant from the Jobs4TN program and INCITE initiative, which will allow the Agency to become a Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator, part of a statewide network that will work to drive innovation and build entrepreneurship in the state. The Delta Regional Authority funded a large part of this investment through the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program. Bucy and his agency has set up a board of local entrepreneurs to advise the accelerator, which Bucy hopes will soon expand beyond the Development District’s oversight and become its own entity.
“The case has always been that entrepreneurs had to go to the metropolitan areas for training and coaching in building a small business. At the end of the day [with the regional accelerator] we’re going to be able to provide that in Northwest Tennessee,” Bucy said.
Through his leadership at NWTDD and NWTHRA, Bucy has graduated from the Delta Leadership Institute and served as President of the Tennessee Association of Human Resources Agencies and a member of the Tennessee Development District Association. Beyond his work with NWTDD and NWTHRA, Bucy is an active founder and chairperson of the Weakley County Emergency Communications Commission and served on the Weakley County Commission for more than ten years. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Tennessee Army National Guard, serving his community and region in all facets of his life.
Delta Regional Authority hosts Small Business and Entrepreneur Trainings
The Delta Regional Authority has confirmed the first two sessions of Access the Delta, a series of eight training sessions for the small business and entrepreneurial communities across the Delta. Through partnerships and support from the U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA Rural Development, as well as Small Business Development Centers, Microlenders, and Local Development Districts across the region, these sessions will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with valuable tools and assistance for supporting and growing existing businesses or starting new business in the region.
The first session will occur in Thomasville, AL, at the Thomasville Civic Center on July 19th, at 9 am. Presenters will include USDA Rural Development State Director Ronnie Davis and a senior official from SBA as well as other local entrepreneurs representatives of the local SBDCs, and other Alabama officials.
The second session will occur in Tallulah, LA, at the Tallulah-Madison Community Center on July 24th. Presenters will include Clarence Hawkins, State Director for Louisiana of USDA Rural Development along with local lenders and small business owners, representatives of the local SBDCs, and other Louisiana officials.
If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, contact Millicent Dixon at email@example.com
Delta Regional Authority Announces Emergency Funding for Wastewater Rehabilitation
JACKSONVILLE, AR – Residents in the Valentine-Wooten neighborhood and the surrounding areas of Jacksonville will receive a major emergency investment in resources– targeting the rehabilitation of the sewer treatment system. The Authority will contribute $105,000 in total investment for the completion of the City of Jacksonville’s Valentine/Wooten Wastewater Project.
The investment will allow the City of Jacksonville to immediately begin rehabilitation of the city's wastewater system in the specified neighborhood. Chairman Masingill said, "Investing in the development of our basic public infrastructure, including wastewater upgrades, will be a catalyst for creating good paying jobs and growing the economy of the Delta Region.”
For the full story, click here.
SEDAP Project Highlight
Kentucky: County and city governments collaborate to process area recycling material
Through a regional partnership in Northwestern Kentucky, the Tri-County Recycling Alliance will be building a new regional recycling center in Henderson, KY. The new recycling center will consolidate the processing and distribution of all recycling in the participating areas into one larger operation. Participating governments include Henderson County, McLean County, Union County, Webster County, and the City of Henderson.
Currently, each county and city government operates collection, processing, and distribution in their own recycling facilities. Collection services will continue through each local government. The move towards consolidation of services looks to conserve resources of time and money for each county and city. The building will be located just outside the city of Henderson.
“This new facility is going to provide a vital service to the four member counties and city of Henderson. It will be beneficial to these communities by: helping the environment; reducing the input of waste into local landfills; saving public funds through consolidation of services; and reducing the amount of waste that collects and becomes a public eyesore in these communities,” said Freddie Rowland, future Manager of Operations at the regional recycling center.
Construction is expected to begin in the upcoming fiscal year 2013.
More information can be found at Tri-County Recycling Alliance’s website.
ATTENTION: Date and Location Change for Delta Grassroots Caucus Fall Conference
The Delta Grassroots Caucus announced recently that it will hold its annual fall meeting in West Memphis, AR - in the heart of the Delta. This will be the first time that the fall meeting will be held outside of Washington, DC.
"We look forward to working with Mid South Community College and many other partners in our host city of West Memphis. We believe it will be a good change of pace to hold the conference in a smaller community in the heart of the Delta," the Delta Grassroots Caucus stated in a release June 14th.
Conference organizers expect for the conference to occur between October 29th and November 2, 2012.
July 19, 2012
Access the Delta Insight Session I - Thomasville Civic Center
July 24, 2012
Access the Delta Insight Session II - Tallulah-Madison Community Center
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Board of Governors
Governor Jay Nixon - Missouri
Mr. Bill Randall - Designee
Dr. Jon Hagler - Alternate
State of Alabama
Governor Robert Bentley
Mr. Jim Byard - Designee
Mrs. Bea Forniss - Alternate
State of Arkansas
Governor Mike Beebe
Mr. Steve Jones - Designee & Alternate
State of Illinois
Governor Pat Quinn
Mr. Larry Woolard - Designee & Alternate
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor Steve Beshear
Ms. Stacia Peyton - Designee & Alternate
State of Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal
Mr. Doyle Robinson - Designee
Mr. Matt Parker - Alternate
State of Mississippi
Governor Phil Bryant
Mr. Chris Champion - Designee & Alternate
State of Tennessee
Governor Bill Haslem
Mr. Paul Fassbender - Designee & Alternate