March 6, 2014
Hall takes IDA leadership
By SUE WATSON
Justin Hall took over the post of executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority March 1.
He has served with the IDA and as executive director of the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport for about eight years.
Hall comes in behind retired director Bill Mobley, who helped launch a number of projects in the county, both large and small, and helped attract several large companies at the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.
Hall will build upon the work of his predecessors, also including Bill Renick and Mike Thornton, and a forward thinking and strong IDA board of directors.
“We have a lot of activity now and possible projects,” Hall said. “We are working to identify future sites in the county in order to create some jobs.”
Some possible sites developers may find of interest include the Mississippi Hardwood Flooring site in Potts Camp, rail sites all the way from Byhalia to Potts Camp, and sites located along main highways and near the airport.
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen has applied for a small hangar grant to domicile more aircraft. And a small aviation business wants to expand at the airport, he said.
Federal Aviation Administration grants have made possible many improvements at the airport, including a new taxiway that parallels the runway, a fuel station, chain-link fencing around the airport, new runway lights, and a recently built hangar. An ongoing runway extension project will make the airport able to accept small jet aircraft.
All hangars are full and there are pilots standing in line to rent space in the next hangar that goes up.
“A lot of local pilots and transient pilots are taking interest in the airport,” Hall said.
The goal of the airport commission is to continuously upgrade the facility to support more traffic and any corporate aircraft that will use the airport to conduct site visits or business visits to the county.
The annual FAA allotment for airport improvements has steadily increased in the last 10 years. Hall said FAA grants have totaled $3 million the last five years. New grants will be sought to expand the runway to attract business jets.
Whereas in the past only two or three small aircraft were parked at the airport, now there are 15 to 20 aircraft, Hall said. The self-serve fueling station, that accepts payment by credit card, is attractive to pilots flying through as well as those based in the area.
The Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport is taking up the overflow of traffic from Memphis International and the Olive Branch airport. Pilots like Holly Springs because the air traffic is not too busy and pilots can get in and out quickly.
“The airport has been a team effort between Marshall County and the City of Holly Springs,” Hall said. “The airport is very competitive and well recognized in the area.”
Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas, an aviation enthusiast, praised Hall’s work to expand the airport.
“Before he took over, only about three airplanes were based there,” he said.
Mobley said he has been grooming Hall to take his place for five years and that he is a natural choice for the job of IDA executive director.
“He’s been doing an excellent job and I do not think we could find anyone better for Marshall County,” Mobley said. “We made lots of progress in the last five years and will get more projects the next five to 20 years.
“You have to have a person with interest and feeling for the county to do the best for the county. I had interest in the county and I’m sure Justin does.”
Mobley said he saw to it that Hall attended various training and leadership schools to be ready to take the position of director.
Hall completed the TVA leadership school, a two- or three-year course held in Nashville, Tenn. He also received Department of Environmental Quality certification in sewer plant operation and graduated from the EDI (Economic Development Institute) from the University of Oklahoma.
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