At age 29, Clarke County native Brian Henson is the new economic development executive director for Kemper County. Of the eight candidates considered, board members say he was the obvious choice.
"His energy and his enthusiasm and his having worked in the economic field," said Keith Barnes, chairman of the economic development board in citing Henson's strong points.
For the past two years, Henson served as vice-president for economic development for the Mississippi Electric Power Associations in Jackson.
While in graduate school at Mississippi State Henson also assisted in a study which resulted in the creation of a new, very successful hi-tech industrial park for Starkville.
Meanwhile, with all spaces now filled at the industrial park in DeKalb, Henson said he plans to spearhead efforts already underway to build an additional industrial park in Scooba.
"There's going to be a lot of work involved. You've got a lot of infrastructure needs out there. The water will have to be developed more and gas will have to be put in place," said Henson.
As for Scooba, board officials tell us there are also other plans for the area.
The newest company to open in the county did so in 2003, around Thanksgiving. It was a furniture distribution center located on Highway 45. To help it expand its current 12 employees, economic development officials say they are working to get money to create a frontage road and maybe even an overpass leading up to it. Those efforts, officials say, could lead to almost 50 additional jobs at the site.
Within the last two years at least five new companies opened in Kemper County. By working closely with East Mississippi Community College on job training, Henson said he plans to keep this momentum going.
"Mike (McGrevey, the former director) created a great deal of momentum here and momentum tends to breed more momentum," Henson said.