COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- It seemed our world was brought to a halt during 2020… With shutdowns and challenges at home and work.
So, you would think the economic development business would nearly close up shop.
But that was not the case for the Golden Triangle Development LINK.
Many businesses and industries closed or shutdown during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the business of attracting industry saw the opposite of those problems.
“We probably saw in 2020 the greatest amount of activity in prospects in leaves and work that we do than we’ve probable seen in the last 4 or 5 years” said Golden Triangle Link CEO Joe Max Higgins.
Higgins is astounded how the link altered its way of recruiting business. The economic development also found ways to work and get important papers signed, while staying safe.
” We had an attorney that would go to people’s house and get them to sign a paper for the options on the hood of the truck; during the pandemic we put land together for 3 solar farms, we got 2 projects that we’re working with; companies that are in the distribution arena, we’re seeing food. I mean its just really not what we normally do” said Higgins
Higgins and his staff have also went virtual.
“Very few people get in, it’s on a limited basis we have all of our meetings on zoom” said Higgins.
However, not every meeting can be held on a computer. Companies like to see locations… Higgins says the LINK found a way to do that and socially distance.
“We would go over where everything was; where we would build the rails, where we would build the roads, where we would build the off landing facilities; we just kind of had to adapt and change how we do what we do” said Higgins.
Higgins feels that the business skyrocketed for a variety of reasons last year and plans to keep that momentum going here in 2021.
” We’re still seeing the bigger projects. Our partners are out there you know, turning over the rocks trying to find people looking to expand and grow and where Mississippi will fit and we’re, you know, almost talking to them daily” said Higgins.
He also feels good going into the New Year and economic developers remain hopeful.
“We’re still looking for a return to normal, I think our business probably won’t do that until the vaccine is widely widely spread” said Higgins
May or June is when Higgins thinks his workers will be able to travel again.
The Golden Triangle Development Link is currently working on multiple projects in Starkville and West Point and hope to keep expanding through the year.