Golden Triangle Development LINK celebrates 20 years

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – For a decade, it was just Lowndes County.

20 years ago, Joe Max Higgins arrived from Arkansas to oversee the missions of the LINK which led to the landing of many projects and investments including Yokohama, Paccar, AirBus, Steel Dynamics, and Aluminum Dynamics to name a few.

“West Point and Clay County approached us about joining and adding that to our service territory, and shortly after, Starkville and Oktibbeha County did,” Higgins said.

Along with those industries came jobs with salaries that had not been seen in this region.

“We have landed about $10 billion worth of capital investments that we worked on directly, and about 10,000 jobs,” Higgins said. “That comes out to just short of half a billion dollars a year and about 500 jobs a year. There are good-sized communities all around this country that won’t do that in 20 years. We’re doing that on almost an annual basis.”

Former Senior Vice President for Lowndes County Brenda Lathan said being in all three counties, allows for different opportunities depending on the community niche.

“Job opportunities are just growing growing, growing,” Lathan said. “In Clay County, you had people that worked in industries that had closed that had skills or either they went back to school and developed additional skills. Starkville has an educating Menca. A company can come in and pick from all the opportunities available with the university and the community as a whole.”

Both Higgins and Lathan said it’s nice to look back on what they’ve accomplished, but they’d rather look forward to the next 20 years.

“One thing about the LINK, we were never satisfied,” Lathan said. “It was ‘okay, we got this, let’s work towards something else.'”

“They don’t happen by coincidence. They don’t happen if nobody does anything. There has to be a concerted effort, a plan, a mission to get this stuff done,” Higgins said.

Higgins said there are already new megasites in the works including the CINCO Megasite out on Highway 82.

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