DRA Monthly Round-up
Enviro Tech gives Arkansas and the Delta region stamp of approval, increases investment in Helena-West Helena
Chairman Masingill, joined on stage by Helena-West Helena Mayor Arnell Willis, Enviro Tech Vice President of National Operations Phil Harvey, and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (Courtesy of Stacey Hall)
HELENA-WEST HELENA, AR -- Enviro Tech Chemical Services Inc., a chemical company focused on food safety and water treatment, has announced plans to expand its Helena-West Helena manufacturing facility located in the Helena Harbor of Phillips County. Due to a successful first year with a facility in Arkansas, the company plans to invest $4 million and add 40 new jobs, bringing total employment in Helena-West Helena to more than 70 people.
"The business climate in Arkansas -- particularly in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County -- has proven to be the easiest, most welcoming, and accommodating of any we have experienced," said Enviro Tech President and CEO Mike Harvey. "The outstanding Arkansas employees have proven to be one of Enviro Tech’s most valuable assets, and everyone we have worked with at both the state and local level has made it clear to us that a California business such as Enviro Tech is a welcome partner in the state and local economy. It has been a very satisfying experience for all of the employees and managers of Enviro Tech. We now have before us a new major expansion and building project that will secure Enviro Tech as a long term member of the business community, and we are excited to position ourselves as one of the area’s fastest growing and largest employers in the very near future. We cannot recommend it more highly for future new businesses as a viable place to do business."
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Delta Regional Authority and Helena-West Helena Phillips County Port Authority worked with Enviro Tech on this project, ensuring the company had the infrastructure necessary for the expansion. “Today’s announcement is just what the Delta is looking for – good-paying jobs that will improve lives in the Helena-West Helena community and the region,” said Chris Masingill, Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. “Economic development projects that place an emphasis on public-private partnerships, like this expansion of Enviro Tech, are the key to creating jobs and building communities throughout the Delta. The Delta Regional Authority is proud to be a part of this project, and I applaud Governor Mike Beebe, Helena-West Helena, and Enviro Tech for their commitment to the Delta.”
Enviro Tech Chemical Services Inc. is a privately held company founded in Modesto, California, in 1991. In addition to its Helena-West Helena location, the company has manufacturing locations in California and Illinois. Enviro Tech has earned 14 EPA “parent” registrations, and Enviro Tech’s Research and Development team hold 25 U.S. patents.
For more information, visit www.envirotech.com
.Delta Regional Authority Congratulates Delta Leadership Institute Class of 2011-2012 Graduates
We would like to congratulate this year's graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute. The Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy is a year-long program that targets community leaders throughout the region to enhance the skills and improve decisions made by local leaders. The program consists of sessions in cities across the region, preparing these emerging leaders to collaborate regionally in order to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century. This is the seventh class to graduate from the Delta Leadership Institute.
Congratulations to the graduates of the DLI Class of 2011-2012!
Hon. Rebecca Beasley
Hon. Jay Jaxon
Jennifer "Jenn" Tate
Christopher "Chris" Love
Kimberly "Kim" Sanders
James "Rusty" Wanstreet
Anna "Annie" Perry
Samantha "Sam" Wiggins
Sandra "Sandy" Ortiz
Daniel "Dan" Springer
SEDAP Project Highlight
Mississippi: Technology training program expands digital literacy of teachers, students, and community members
In response to the growing prevalence of technology in our society and the lack of digital literacy in the rural South, Digital Opportunity Trust USA (DOT USA) has developed the TeachUp! Program to increase technology usage in Mississippi and Louisiana classrooms. Through an extensive network of trained interns across the region, TeachUp! provides practical technology training and support to public schools and community centers such as WIN Job Centers in Mississippi in order to prepare teachers and community members for 21st century classrooms and workplaces.
With support from the Delta Regional Authority and a matching National AmeriCorps grant, DOT USA trained and sent out 106 TeachUp! Technology Interns to public schools and community centers in 13 Mississippi counties for the 2011-2012 school year. DOT USA estimates that these interns will train and improve the digital literacy and employability of 10,000 adults looking for jobs, 50,000 public school students, and 3,000 teachers throughout the state.
TeachUp! Technology Interns have had impressive success in recent years increasing the usage of technological resources in the classroom, thus creating a constructive learning environment for the twenty-first century. Two such interns connected the senior classes of their respective schools to each other by introducing students to Skype as a form of communication.
TeachUp! Technology Intern trains students on using Skype (Courtesy DOTUSA)
The program is also important in providing internship and learning opportunities for the region’s young adults. “It has been our goal since the beginning to not only empower students and teachers in at-risk communities to gain vital twenty-first century skills, but also to create internship opportunities for Mississippi and Louisiana natives and develop them professionally to succeed in a technology driven workforce,” explains Deanna Stewart, Program Director for DOT USA.
Since the program's inception in 2006, TeachUp! Technology Interns have worked in more than 1,000 schools in Mississippi and Louisiana, increasing the skills and impacting the lives of more than 16,000 teachers and nearly 500,000 students, combating the major issue of digital illiteracy in the Mississippi Delta.
To learn more about TeachUp!, visit DOT USA's website.
Mayors from Memphis region consider future of Memphis air service
A.C. Wharton, Mayor of Memphis convenes mayors from surrounding communities to discuss the future of the greater Memphis region
MEMPHIS -- In an effort to maintain Memphis' position as a regional powerhouse, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton convened mayors from around the Memphis area to discuss opportunities for regional collaboration. The meeting gathered an unprecedented amount of mayors from small and large communities in East Arkansas, West Tennessee, and Northwest Mississippi to consider strategies to bring future business, development, and expanded economic opportunity to the region. Looking to further collaboration efforts among local leaders, this meeting is expected to be the first of many future sessions that will strengthen the partnerships between mayors across the tri-state area.
As part of the meeting's agenda, the mayors heard from Dr. Brian Campbell, of Campbell-Hill Aviation Group-an aviation consulting firm, who stressed the economic importance of Memphis remaining a regional transportation hub. Dr. Campbell outlined strategies for expanding the potential of Memphis' air service. Memphis International Airport already holds a large role in ground and air transport as the superhub for FedEx.
“Memphis and its surrounding communities are a major pillar of the economy of the Delta region. A strong economy in Memphis contributes to strong growth across the Mississippi Delta. The Delta Regional Authority supports future collaboration among local and regional leadership to bring development opportunities and growth to the entire Delta region,” said Chris Masingill, Federal Co-Chairman of Delta Regional Authority.
Missouri: Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Director serves as key partner in growing small business community in the Delta
Wearing many hats is an obvious attribute for Dr. James Stapleton, of Southeast Missouri State University. Along with being an esteemed Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, Dr. Stapleton has served as the Director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), whose mission is to stimulate the entrepreneurial growth and development that improves lives, communities, and businesses in Southeast Missouri.
Beyond the area of Southeast Missouri, Dr. Stapleton has been an important advocate for regional collaboration in the Mississippi Delta region, displaying an extraordinary commitment to expanding the entrepreneurial community and capacity of small business owners throughout the Delta. Under his leadership, CIE is the lead facilitator of Operation Jumpstart in the region, conducting trainings for small business owners and entrepreneurs in communities across the Delta. He and his staff have additionally provided necessary support to the Delta Regional Authority in the agency’s Access the Delta workshop series.
Dr. Stapleton has also served as Project Director for numerous projects funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA Rural Development and is the Project Director for the Delta Regional Authority program Accelerating Entrepreneurship in the Delta. “Dr. Stapleton has served as a strong leader for the Delta Regional Authority and the State of Missouri by promoting small-business growth and development, and I congratulate him on his recognition as Delta’s Distinguished,” Gov. Jay Nixon said.
Small Business Spotlight
Arkansas: New coffee shop leads local renewal, brings coffee, entertainment, and hope to Monticello town square
Monticello native, Steve Davis, is not only serving his community by being a part of the revitalization committee for the town’s square. He has lead the downtown renewal effort by opening his own business on a town square that has struggled to keep businesses open in recent years.
In April, Davis opened The Square Cup, a coffee shop that also serves sandwiches and much-desired sweets. With guidance and training from the local Small Business Development Center and Monticello Economic Development Commission that Davis described as “exceptional and so necessary,” he was able to obtain an SBA loan through Union Bank of Monticello and other loans that helped him start his business. Davis explained, “I’ve always wanted to do something like this; being on the revitalization committee presented an opportunity for me and the town square, so I jumped on it.”
The Square Cup hopes to join Cockrell’s Shoes & Accessories, a store that has been on the square for decades, as one of the mainstays of the Monticello town square, but also looks to recruit other new businesses to the area. “Revitalization of the square has been a major goal for the city, and I hope that The Square Cup can help Monticello fulfill that goal,” Davis said.
Davis boasts strong business for The Square Cup, causing him to look forward to August, when classes start at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. While the coffee shop is currently only open for breakfast and lunch, he plans to extend business hours to 6am-9pm to accommodate the influx of students. Davis also plans to hold karaoke nights and has already booked comedians to appear at the shop, using nightly entertainment to bring students and residents to the once-quiet town square.
First Access the Delta Workshops in Alabama, Louisiana, and Kentucky deemed success
Director Clarence Hawkins (center) addresses Tallulah, LA workshop. Joined by panelists (from left) Felipe Martinez, Gina Angelo, Virendra Chhikara, and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall
The Delta Regional Authority, with support from the region's Small Business Development Centers and USDA Rural Development, has held Access the Delta workshops in Thomasville, AL, and Tallulah, LA. These workshops are the first in a series of eight sessions targeting small business owners and entrepreneurs in the rural communities of the Mississippi Delta region.
The first workshop, held in Thomasville, AL, attracted 50 small business owners and entrepreneurs from Thomasville and the surrounding communities. Featured speakers include: David Ramp of the US SBA; Ronnie Davis of USDA Rural Development; Donald Mills from the Alabama SBDC; Sandra Dunaway, Director of Lifelines, Consumer Credit Counseling Service Divison; Timothy Dean of ACCION; Matt Huber, Project Coordinator for the Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University; George Allford III, Vice President of Merchants Bank; Lee Duke, Regional Vice President of Capstone Bank; and Andrew Bearden, Director of First United Security Bank.
The next workshop was held in Tallulah, LA, with 30 participants in attendance. Featured speakers included: Clarence Hawkins, Louisiana State Director of USDA Rural Development; Gina Angelo, State Manager of ACCION Louisiana; Felipe Martinez, Business Development Officer of Louisiana Economic Development; Virendra Chhikara, Business Consultant for Louisiana SBDC-ULM; Mary Lynn Wilkerson, Director of Louisiana SBDC; Christy LeGrand, Assistant Director of Operations for the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Dr. John Nwoha, Professor of Business at Grambling State University; and Denesia Lofton and Rosemary Mokia, Operation Jumpstart entrepreneurs.
Our third workshop was hosted by the Pennyrile Area Development District in Hopkinsville, KY, providing training and resources to __ participants in western Kentucky. Featured speakers included:
“The economy of our country is built upon the backs of our small business owners. In order to fulfill our mission to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives, the Delta Regional Authority is committed to providing the necessary education and training for our region’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to succeed in creating and growing their businesses. These workshops are a positive step towards developing the Delta’s future entrepreneurial and small business community,” Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said.
White House and Delta Regional Authority Team Up to Facilitate Discussion Between Federal, State, and Local Leaders
OXFORD, MS – Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall recently joined representatives from the White House Business Council, the White House Rural Council, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission to discuss how the Administration is working with state and local entities to improve the country’s and region’s economies. More than 120 regional and local stakeholders gathered for the Rural Economic Forum in Oxford, the eighth in a multi-city series across the country and the only forum to take place in the Mississippi Delta.
Host Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of SBA, and emcee Ari Matusiak, Executive Director of the White House Business Council, led conversations and panels with government and economic leaders from across the region working towards increased collaborations to support the region's small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Collaboration between federal, state, and local leaders is essential to the growth and success of our economy in the Delta region. The Rural Economic Forum in Oxford was an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and develop strategies for building the communities of the Mississippi Delta and improving the lives of our people,” Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said.
Delta Regional Authority continues partnership with White House Rural Council on upcoming Health IT Forums
The Delta Regional Authority, in conjunction with the White House Rural Council, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host two workshops that will feature national and regional leaders discussing the future of health information technology (health IT), its workforce and the role of community colleges in the Delta.
The Health IT Forum is designed to connect our education, economic development and health care provider communities with the information needed for a real understanding of health IT workforce training and the supply and demand associated with health IT job growth.
The first Forum will be held at Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, TN, on August 7, 2012, from 9am - 5pm. The second Forum will be held at Hinds Community College in Jackson, MS, on August 9, 2012, from 9am – 5pm.
For more information, click here
.Delta Regional Authority and Small Business Administration leadership commit to increased collaboration in future projects
INDIANAPOLIS -- In the first of what is to be many future meetings, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill met with U.S. SBA District Directors and Regional Administrators from around the Delta to build an active relationship between the two agencies, which will provide for greater collaboration in the future. The leadership of both agencies committed to frequent regional meetings in the future so that DRA and SBA can support or collaborate on each other's programs.
The agencies’ leaders also discussed strategies to better engage and connect micro lending firms and community banks in the region, creating increased opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners in business development and growth.
DRA leadership has also recently met with leaders of the Economic Development Administration as part of the Authority's efforts to increase regional collaboration among federal agencies. These collaborations are crucial in creating relationships that can provide support and better leverage funding and programs for our rural small businesses.Delta Regional Authority and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship continue partnership to provide Operation Jumpstart to Delta region
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced on July 17, that the CIE has received $250,000 to provide additional assistance to microbusiness development organizations in the Delta so that they may offer Operation JumpStart trainings. The objective of this project is to increase the capacity for communities to train, support, and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs, and to accelerate the number of new ventures created each year throughout the region. The cornerstone of the project is the nationally recognized Operation JumpStartSM entrepreneurship development program offered by the CIE.
“Last year we hosted a series of entrepreneurship symposia in each Delta state,” said Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the CIE. “We provided certification training to over 200 individuals from 120 organizations. These organizations are now poised to begin facilitating Operation JumpStart programs in their communities. It has been a wonderful experience to develop these partnerships and we can’t wait to see the new businesses that will result from these efforts.”
For further information visit the Operation JumpStart website
or contact (573) 651-2929.Strategic Biomass Solutions holds workshop on renewable energy development
On August 7, Strategic Biomass Solutions will conduct the Renewable Energy Venture Development Academy as a pre-conference workshop for the Southeast Biofuels and Renewable Energy Conference held in Jackson, MS. The workshop will provide entrepreneurs, economic developers, policy makers, and investors with tools to assess the viability of early-stage ventures and identify risk in the five key areas of development for renewable energy projects and markets.
The workshop will also discuss the need for and ability to create public-private collaborations in future development.
For more information and to reserve space in the workshop, contact Dr. Sumesh Arora at 601-960-3659, email@example.com
OR visit the Strategic Biomass Solutions website.LOOKING AHEAD: August 3, 2012
Access the Delta
Carbondale, ILAugust 7, 2012
Renewable Energy Venture Development Academy
Jackson, MSAugust 7, 2012
Health IT Jobs Forum I - Dyersburg State Community College
Dyersburg, TNAugust 9, 2012
Health IT Jobs Forum II - Hinds Community College
Jackson, MSAugust 14, 2012
Access the Delta
Poplar Bluff, MOAugust 16, 2012
Access the Delta
Martin, TNSeptember 11, 2012
Delta Regional Authority Board Meeting
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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
Delta Regional Authority
236 Sharkey Avenue -
Clarksdale, MS 38614