Thursday, October 25, 2007
Renick, DeBerry stress teamwork
By BARRY BURLESON
Bill Renick’s topic was “How Toyota Can Benefit Holly Springs.” He said it’s more about what Holly Springs wants to do for Holly Springs.
Renick, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, spoke Thursday during the Chamber of Commerce fall luncheon at Annie’s Restaurant.
“Economic development is a team activity,” Renick said. “There are opportunities here that abound. We have to put on a positive image. It’s a very, very important thing.
“There’s not a more beautiful city in North Mississippi than Holly Springs. We must seize the opportunity – together. We can’t go in different directions.
“The limitations are us. It (Marshall County) can be whatever we want it to be. We must walk in the same direction and reach common goals.”
Renick said the new Toyota plant coming to Blue Springs, about 35 miles east of Holly Springs, will change the landscape of North Mississippi for many years to come.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “Economic development will play out over many years – as many as 20.”
He said most Tier 1 suppliers will locate near the plant, with two having already been announced near Baldwyn and Fulton.
“Don’t be discouraged,” he said. “We’ve had serious looks already, and there a lot more things opportunity-wise than just another industry. There’s a possibility of industries here being able to supply Toyota.”
He and Mayor Andre’ DeBerry, who also talked at the luncheon, both emphasized the city’s strong position halfway between the Toyota site in Blue Springs and Memphis, Tenn.
“We’re centrally located in all of the activity,” Renick said.
“There are a lot of things going on right around you. I can think of no other place I’d rather be – there’s not a more exciting place to be. We all have to put our best foot forward.”
DeBerry emphasized the city’s efforts in workforce development through its technology center. He said Holly Springs has a goal of providing a workforce training center for all of the North Mississippi area.
“We’re looking for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 jobs, and we must be ready in terms of workforce and infrastructure,” the mayor said.
He said the last five years has been about preparing Holly Springs for growth.
“When an industry comes to you, you’ve got one shot in some cases,” DeBerry said. “You have to be ready.”
He said the city, county and IDA are working to make land available adjacent to I-22, plus the airport’s development is crucial.
“We’re excited because we’re smack in the middle (Toyota and Memphis),” DeBerry said. “You can’t find a better spot. We must now work together for the common good of all.”
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