December 12, 2018  

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True South Economic Development Course marks 25th anniversary at Southern Miss

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Mississippi Economic Development Council Executive Director and COO Mary Swoope, left, presents Cindy Lamb, manager of client relations with the Pickering Firm, Inc. of Biloxi, with the Jimmy & Ray Heidel Scholarship at the True South Economic Development Course Awards Luncheon Sept. 21 (USM photo by Kelly Dunn).

Economic development specialists and those seeking to enhance their knowledge and skill set in the field spent Sept. 17-21 on The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Hattiesburg campus enrolled in the 25th edition of the True South Economic Development Course.

The week-long, intensive course exposes participants to the fundamentals and practice of creating jobs, increasing wealth, improving the tax base and enhancing a community’s quality-of-life, the first step in pursuing professional certification. It is offered by the USM Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Sport Management offers as part of its Master of Science Degree in Economic Development (MSED), but it can also be taken by community leaders and stakeholders who participate in the process of community economic development.

The True South course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council, and fulfills one of the prerequisites for those taking the examinations for its Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation.

“The 25th anniversary of the True South course is a landmark moment, and special to us because its longevity is a testament to its quality,” said Dr. Shannon Campbell, director of USM’s Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. “Our highly experienced guest speakers are selected from across the southeast U.S., from Texas to North Carolina, and practitioners who attend also represent multiple states.” 

Meryl Fisackerly, project manager with Golden Triangle Development LINK, said the course gave her new insights that she can incorporate in her work with the agency. “We’ve learned a lot about workforce development and business retention strategies,” Fisackerly said. “Overall, it’s been a great crash course in economic development.”

Awards were presented during a luncheon held on the final day of the course, which included the following:

*Jimmy & Ray Heidel Scholarship – Cindy Lamb, Pickering Firm, Inc.

*MEDC Scholarship to attend True South Course – Jon Levingston, Clarksdale/Coahoma Chamber of Commerce

*Area Development Partnership (ADP) Ron Swager scholarship to attend True South – Meryl Fisackerly, Golden Triangle Development LINK

*Charles ‘Chuck’ Ueltschey Family Economic Partner Scholarship to attend True South – Michael Reso, City of Diamondhead, and Cindy Lamb, Pickering Firm, Inc.

*Mississippi Power Chuck Ueltschey Scholarship to attend True South – Mayor Brian Gomillion, town of Walnut Grove; Councilman R. Lee Flowers, city of Gulfport; and Alderman at Large Donald Frazer, city of Long Beach.

For more information about the True South Economic Development Course, visit https://www.usm.edu/trent-lott-national-center/true-south-basic-economic.... For information about the USM Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Sport Management, visit https://www.usm.edu/business/eco-dev-tourism-sport-management.