Business leaders talk improvement

On Thursday, Jan. 23, The University of Southern Mississippi held the sixth annual Economic Outlook Symposium.

Throughout the duration of the symposium, business leaders from various companies spoke about Mississippi’s current economic state, as well as some ways that everyone can improve the economy in general.

Shannon Campbell, director of the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship at USM, said the state’s economy is steadily rising.

“For Mississippi as a state, the economy looks like it is slowly growing,” Campbell said. According to Campbell, this recent growth means that students who are graduating will receive more job opportunities.

“As the economy begins to improve, the public and private partnership projects happen, and those are things we like to get involved in when it comes to research,” Campbell said.

One of the reasons behind holding the symposium was to establish a stronger connection between local business owners and each of their customers.

Campbell said in order for college students to assist others in helping raise the economy, they should be brave, innovative, creative and bold.
According to a press release, the speakers at the symposium included Robert Strand, senior economist of American Bankers Association, Darren Webb, senior economist of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and Jack Norris, President of the Gulf Coast Business Council. Other speakers included Chad Newell, president of the Area of Development Partnership and Lee Lawson, president and CEO of Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.

The Southern Miss College of Business and the Trent Lott National Center partnered together to host the event. According to the university website, The First Bank of Hattiesburg also participated in the symposium by acting as the lead sponsor.

Attendance to the event was free. However, due to the number of seats being limited, all guests were required to complete a registration process before attending.