One step at a time: Jones assumes EMBDC presidency

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Feb. 19, 2001
One step at a time.
That's Wade Jones' plan of operation as he assumes the role of president of the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation today.
Jones is familiar with the EMBDC, having served on its board and executive committee while working in his former job as division manager at Mississippi Power.
This will not be a one-man show. Jones said he prefers to work in the background, and sees his role in economic development as being the "conductor" who leads and helps others make things happen.
Jones said he answers to his board of directors and will stay in close contact with its members. Also, he will be working with the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors and the city of Meridian, which funds part of the EMBDC, and East Mississippi's legislative delegation.
Through his former job with Mississippi Power, Jones has talked with area leaders outside of East Mississippi and state leaders, and has concluded that their perception of the area is much brighter than some actually who live here.
He pointed to the state's Arts Center that is to be built here at Bonita Lakes; the downtown Opera House renovation which is to being funded by the Riley Foundation and Mississippi State University; the growth of retail through the Bonita Lakes Mail, the North Hills Street area and on Highway 19 west of town; the strong industrial bases that is already here and established; the medical community; the military installations; the new industrial park, the transportation opportunities; and the list continues.
Going into to his job, he said his priorities will be to:
Work with existing industries. Jones said he plans to be in contact with all as quickly as possible so he can learn about each company and find out what its needs are. "Our question will be what can we do to help you grow and prosper,'" Jones said;
Work to help maintain and improve the quality of life that the community now enjoys;
Pursue new manufacturing jobs to increase and maintain the level of positions that are now here. This can be done by helping existing industries to grow, and by bringing in new industries.
One question that has been asked of Jones since he resigned at Mississippi Power to join the EMBDC is why?
Mississippi Power is a great company to work for and from all reports, he was on the fast track for promotion. Why did he give that up to join an economic development corporation that is just four years old and has struggled to establish itself in the competitive world of economic development.
Mitch Stennett, the past president of the Southern Economic Development Council and president of the Jones County Economic Development Authority, said Meridian and Lauderdale County can expect good things from the new EMBDC president.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at