Partners to develop better contacts with local industry

Published 2:04 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Partners for Pearl River County, an economic development organization, said it will make a more concerted effort to discover what local industry and businesses want and need here.

The board met Monday night at its offices in the old City Hall on Goodyear Boulevard.

The discussion on the effort was generated when Executive Director Ron Fine told board members about the Partners’ effort in helping Avon Engineered Fabrications, Inc., 1200 Martin L. King Jr. Blvd., Picayune, expand its employee base.

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Fine said that studies show that approximately 80 percent of new jobs generated in most local economies are generated by industries and businesses that already exist, not new industries.

“The existing industries are just as important as the prospects and new industries,” Fine said. “We need a constant contact with the existing businesses and industries and find out what their needs are.”

“We have to go and see these companies and analyze their needs. That means we have to maintain constant contact with them,” Fine said.

Board chairman Doug Lee said that Partners needs to invite one industry leader a month to address the board on industry needs so that the board can better dovetail its efforts to help local industries and businesses.

“We just need to see what it is that we can do to help these existing businesses and industries,” Lee told the board.

Lee said the group needs to go and see what the local industries are doing, what their plans are, and how the Partners organization can help them.

“We don’t even know when some small businesses are planning to expand, and they probably don’t know that they can get help from us,” said Lee.

The board also discussed its need to get its story out to the public.

Admitting the organization has a public relations problem and that it has, in the past, not gotten out the full story about efforts in attracting industry and helping government entities and companies in acquiring grants, Lee suggested the board set up a public relations committee.

The board agreed to make a concerted effort to generate more publicity for Partners, telling citizens what the organization is doing.

In other business, the board:

— Set its next regular meeting on Nov. 2.

— Discussed plans for a leadership class on economic development on Oct. 8 at the First Baptist Fellowship Hall.

— Approved the Aug. 31 minutes.

— Discussed upgrading the Partners Web site.

— Discussed fund-raising proposals.