Welcome

Thank you for your interest in Greater Hattiesburg, where we enjoy exceptional weather, bountiful leisure activities, unique cuisine and a diverse economy. Our college town environment offers an awesome vibe for residents and visitors alike. Accolades continue to pour in for one of the Gulf South’s most prosperous communities. With rapid growth, rising population, top rated schools and superb healthcare, Greater Hattiesburg is on the move.

As you browse through this publication, you will find that Greater Hattiesburg offers a diverse blend of culture and commerce. Nicknamed the “Hub City,” Hattiesburg is a regional nucleus of activity. New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and the Gulf Coast all lie within a two-hour drive of the city.

With its Southern charm, wonderful climate and university town atmosphere, Hattiesburg is the perfect place to call home. For food enthusiasts, you’ve come to the right spot as Greater Hattiesburg has consistently been ranked among the nation’s Top 50 Restaurant Growth markets.

This year, the Area Development Partnership (ADP) is celebrating its 26th year as the regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. Our mission is to enhance economic vitality and improve the quality of life for citizens of Greater Hattiesburg. The ADP unites over 860 member companies representing more than 20,000 employees in an effort to enhance the area’s economy and build a better community.

We hope the information found within this business guide and membership directory will entice you to visit or relocate to one of the most intriguing communities in America. Our quality of life is unsurpassed. Please visit us online to further explore Greater Hattiesburg at www.theadp.com.


Board Of Directors

OFFICERS

Abb Payne, Chair
InfusionPlus

Chad Driskell, Vice Chair
The University of Southern Mississippi

Hoppy Cole, Treasurer
The First, A National Banking Association

Evan Dillard, Immediate Past Chair
Forrest Health

Chad Newell, President
Area Development Partnership

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Grant Walker
Chamber of Commerce Division Chair
BancorpSouth

Jeff Bowman
Economic Development Division Chair
Cooperative Energy

Michael Harvey
Member-at-Large
Mississippi Power Company

Roman Galey
Member-at-Large
SouthGroup Insurance Services

Rob Tatum
Member-at-Large
CR Properties, LLC

BOARD MEMBERS

Allen Anderson
Anderson Design Studio

Ronnie Blackwell
Clear Point Consulting Engineers, P.A.

David Burckel
Southern Bone & Joint Specialists

Chris Dunkley
Hattiesburg Coca-Cola

Kristy Gould
Hattiesburg Clinic

John Griffith
Regions Bank

Anthony Harris
Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association

John Johnson
Hood Companies, Inc.

Van Jones
Pine Belt 360

Charlie Lewis
Trustmark Bank

Susan Riley
Topp, McWhorter, Harvey, PLLC

EX-officio members

Frank James
Hattiesburg Tourism Commission

Tommy Walley
President, Perry County Board of Supervisors

Joe Bounds
President, Lamar County Board of Supervisors

James K. Dukes
Law Offices of James K. Dukes, Forrest County Industrial Park Commission

Mayor Toby Barker
City of Hattiesburg

David Hogan
President, Forrest County Board of Supervisors

Mayor Hal Marx
City of Petal

Andy Stetelman
London & Stetelman Commercial Realtors Chair, Hattiesburg Convention Commission

Joe Stevens
Board Attorney Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway, P.A.

STAFF

Chad Newell
President
(601) 296-7500
c.newell@theadp.com

Jan Delancey
Vice President, Finance and Administration
(601) 296-7507
j.delancey@theadp.com

Gwen Hicks
Finance Director, Finance and Administration
(601) 296-7515
g.hicks@theadp.com

Dinah Dillon
Receptionist
(601) 296-7500
d.dillon@theadp.com

Valencia Williamson
Executive Vice President, Chamber of Commerce
(601) 296-7518
v.williamson@theadp.com

Ann Scott Miles
Membership Director
(601) 296-7512
a.miles@theadp.com

Jayce Henry
Investor Relations Coordinator
(601) 296-7501
j.henry@theadp.com

Meagan Duckworth
Communications and Events Manager
(601) 296-7508
m.duckworth@theadp.com

Niki Tillson
Communications and Events Coordinator
(601) 296-7516
n.tillson@theadp.com

Todd Jackson
Executive Vice President, Economic Development
(601) 296-7509
t.jackson@theadp.com

Markus Simmons
Project Manager, Economic Development
(601) 296-7510
m.simmons@theadp.com

Chelsea Everett
Research Manager, Economic Development
(601) 296-7431
c.everett@theadp.com

Daniel Jayroe
Community Development Director, Economic Development
(601) 296-7514
d.jayroe@theadp.comm


The 411

Education

K-12

Forrest County Agricultural High School
215 Old U.S. Hwy. 49 E., Brooklyn
601-582-4741
www.forrestcountyahs.com

Forrest County School District
400 Forrest St., Hattiesburg
601-545-6055
www.fcsd.us

Hattiesburg Public Schools
301 Mamie St., Hattiesburg601-582-5078
www.hattiesburgpsd.com

Lamar County School District
424 Martin Luther King Drive,
Purvis
601-794-1030
www.lamarcountyschools.org

Lumberton Public School District
107 West Tenth Ave., Lumberton
601-796-2441

Perry County School District
105 Main St., New Augusta
601-964-3211
www.pcsdms.com

Petal School District
115 East Central Ave., Petal
601-545-3002
www.petalschools.com

Richton School District
701 Elm Ave., Richton
601-788-6581
www.richtonschools.com

Private Schools

Presbyterian Christian School
601-268-3867
www.pcsk12.org

Lamar Christian School
62 Purvis Oloh Road, Purvis
601-794-0016
www.lamarchristianschool.com

Sacred Heart Catholic School
608 Southern Ave., Hattiesburg
601-583-8683
www.shshattiesburg.com

Word of Faith Christian Academy
2105 Country Club Road,
Hattiesburg
601-545-7735

TIDE School
1124 S. 28th Ave., Hattiesburg
601-909-6605
www.tideschool.org

Dynamic Dyslexia Design: The 3-D School
120 S. George St., Petal
601-450-3333
www.The3DSchool.org

Higher Education

Antonelli College
1500 N. 31st Ave., Hattiesburg
601-583-4100
www.antonellicollege.edu

Jones County Junior College
900 S. Court St., Ellisville
601-477-4000
www.jcjc.edu

Pearl River Community College
101 Hwy. 11 N., Poplarville
601-403-1000
www.prcc.edu

The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, Hattiesburg
601-266-1000
www.usm.edu

William Carey University
710 William Carey Pkwy., Hattiesburg
601-318-6051
www.wmcarey.edu

Government

Forrest County
641 Main St., Hattiesburg
601-545-6000
www.forrestcountyms.us

Lamar County
403 Main St., Purvis
601-794-8504
www.lamarcounty.com

Perry County
103 First St. E, New Augusta
601-964-8370

City of Hattiesburg
200 Forrest St., Hattiesburg
601-545-4500
www.hattiesburgms.com

City of Lumberton
102 E. Main Ave., Lumberton
601-796-8341

City of Petal
119 W. 8th Ave., Petal
601-545-1776
www.cityofpetal.com

Town of Beaumont
1510 Beaumont-Brooklyn Road, Beaumont
601-784-3352

Town of New Augusta
102 2nd St. E., New Augusta
601-964-3715

Town of Purvis
136 Shelby Speights Drive, Purvis
601-794-2472

Town of Richton
206 Dogwood Ave., E., Richton
601-788-6015

Town of Sumrall
4880 Hwy 589, Sumrall
601-758-3591
www.townofsumrall.ms.gov

Health/Hospitals

Forrest General Hospital
6051 U.S. Hwy. 49, Hattiesburg
601-288-7000
www.forrestgeneral.com

Hattiesburg Clinic
415 S. 28th Ave., Hattiesburg
601-264-6000
www.hattiesburgclinic.com

Perry County General Hospital
206 Bay Ave., Richton
601-788-6316
www.pcghosp.com

Merit Health Wesley
5001 Hardy St., Hattiesburg
601-268-8000
www.merithealthwesley.com

Libraries

Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County
329 Hardy St., Hattiesburg
601-584-4461
www.hpfc.lib.ms.us

Petal: 714 S. Main St., Petal
601-584-7610

Lamar County Library System

Lumberton Public Library
106 W. Main Ave., Lumberton
601-796-2505
www.lamarcountylibraries.org

Oak Grove Public Library
4958 Old Hwy. 11, Hattiesburg
601-296-1620
www.lamarcountylibraries.org

Purvis Public Library
122 Shelby Speights Drive, Purvis
601-794-6291
www.lamarcountylibraries.org

L.R. Boyer Memorial Library
121 Poplar St., Sumrall
601-758-4711
www.lamarcountylibraries.org

Perry County Library System

New Augusta Public Library
510 First St. East, New Augusta
601-964-3774
www.pineforest.lib.ms.us

Richton Public Library
210 Front St., Richton
601-788-6539
www.pineforest.lib.ms.us

Beaumont Public Library
1502 Bolton Ave., Beaumont
601-784-3471
www.pineforest.lib.ms.us

Media

Hattiesburg American
4200 Mamie St., # 200,
Hattiesburg
601-582-4321
www.hattiesburgamerican.com

Hattiesburg Publishing, Inc.
103 N. 40th Ave., Hattiesburg
601-268-2331
www.hubcityspokes.com

Impact of Hattiesburg
219 S 40th Ave., Suite E.
Hattiesburg
601-264-8181
www.impact360.us

SunHerald
205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport
228-896-2100
www.sunherald.coms

Richton Dispatch
110 Walnut St., Richton
601-788-6031
www.therichtondispatch.com

Radio Stations

iHeart Media, Inc.
6555 U.S. Hwy. 98 W., Suite 8,
Hattiesburg
601-296-9800
www.clearchannel.com

Southern Miss Student Media Center
118 College Drive, Box 5121, Hattiesburg
601-266-5188
www.southernmissradio.com

Supertalk MS 97.3 FM
(Telesouth Communications)
5266 Old U.S. Hwy. 11, Suite 120, Hattiesburg
601-264-5185
www.supertalk.fm

WBBN/WXRR/WKZW/WXHB
4580 Hwy 15 N., Laurel
601-544-0095

Eternity Media Group/WHJA 890 AM
106 Campbell Loop, Hattiesburg
601-602-2144

WMXI News 98
7501 Hwy. 49 N., Hattiesburg
601-261-0898
www.wmxi.com

WORV/WJMG/WQID
1204 Kinnard St., Hattiesburg
601-544-1941

Television Stations

CBS 22 WHLT TV
5912 U.S. Hwy. 49, Suite A, Hattiesburg
601-545-2077
www.whlt.com

WDAM-TV
2362 U.S. Hwy. 11, Moselle
601-544-4730
www.wdam.com

WHPM/Fox 23
140 Mayfair Road, Suite 1200, Hattiesburg
601-602-3174
www.myfox23.com

WXXV Fox 25
14351 Hwy 49, Gulfport
228-832-2525
www.wxxv25.com

Public Safety

In case of emergency, dial 911.

Police Departments

Hattiesburg Police Department
300 Klondyke St., Hattiesburg
601-544-7900

Lumberton Police Department
102 E. Main Ave., Lumberton
601-796-8891

New Augusta Police Department
102 2nd St., New Augusta
601-964-8101

Petal Police Department
127 W. Eighth Ave., Petal
601-544-5331

Purvis Police Department
136 Shelby Speights Drive, Purvis
601-794-6512

Richton Police Department
206 Dogwood Ave.. Suite E, Richton
601-788-5551

Sumrall Police Department
11 City Hall Ave., Sumrall601-758-3531

Sheriff Departments

Forrest County Sheriff Department
55 Arena Drive, Hattiesburg
601-544-7800
www.forrestcounty.ms.us

Lamar County Sheriff Department
205 Main St., Purvis6
01-794-1005
www.sheriff.lamarcounty.com

Perry County Sheriff Department
103 First St. E, New Augusta
601-964-8461

Fire Departments

Dixie Volunteer Fire Department
19 Dixie Barn Road, Hattiesburg
601-584-9555

Hattiesburg Fire Department
810 N. Main St., Hattiesburg
601-545-4691

McLaurin Volunteer Fire Department
310 Carter Road, Hattiesburg
601-545-3473

Lumberton Fire Department
702 9th Ave., Lumberton
601-796-8901

NE Lamar Volunteer Fire Department
5502 W. 4th St., Hattiesburg

North Forrest Volunteer Fire Department
2315 Glendale Ave., Hattiesburg
601-544-6163

Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department
2536 Old Hwy. 24, Hattiesburg
601-264-7563

Petal Fire Department
109 W. 8th Ave., Petal
601-545-8208

Purvis Fire Department
805 Main St., Purvis
601-794-5070

Southwest Lamar Volunteer Fire Department
10 Bay Creek Road, Purvis

Other

Mississippi State Department of Public Safety
1900 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave., Jackson
601-987-1212
www.dps.state.ms.us

Utilities

Cable and Digital TV

AT&T
6109 U.S. Hwy. 98, Hattiesburg
601-264-1446
www.att.com

Comcast Cable
2100 Lincoln Road, Hattiesburg
601-268-1188
www.comcast.com

Electricity

Dixie Electric
1312 Hwy. 42, Petal
601-583-1131

Mississippi Power Company
5082 Old U.S. Hwy. 42,
Hattiesburg
800-532-1502
www.mississippipower.com

Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association
1422 U.S. Hwy. 13 N., Columbia
601-736-2666
6803 U.S. Hwy. 98,
Hattiesburg
601-264-2458
www.prvepa.com

Cooperative Energy
7037 U.S. Hwy. 49, Hattiesburg
601-268-2083
www.cooperativeenergy.com

Southern Pine Electric Power Association
7848 U.S. Hwy. 49 N.,
Hattiesburg
601-264-0185

Gas

Blossman Gas., Inc.
5536 U.S. Hwy. 42, Hattiesburg
601-582-8449
www.blossmangas.com

Crosstex Energy Services
Clear Creek Road, Lumberton
601-796-3555

CenterPoint Energy
7852 U.S. Hwy. 11, Lumberton
800-371-5417
www.centerpointenergy.com

Spire Energy
315 S. Main St., Hattiesburg
601-544-6001
www.spireenergy.com

Telecommunications

AT&T
6109 U.S. Hwy. 98, Hattiesburg
601-264-1446
www.att.com

Comcast Cable
2100 Lincoln Road, Hattiesburg6
01-268-1188
www.comcast.com

C Spire Wireless
4930 Hardy St. Hwy. 98 W.,Hattiesburg
855-277-4735
www.cspire.com

Windstream
P.O. Box 16265, Hattiesburg
601-705-8207
www.earthlinkbusiness.com

TEC
32 Mill Branch Road, Suite 30, Hattiesburg
601-726-3301
www.tec.com

Water/Sewer

Hattiesburg Water Department
900 James St., Hattiesburg
01-545-4630
www.hattiesburgms.com

Beaumont City Hall
1510 Beaumont Brooklyn Road, Beaumont
601-784-3352

Lumberton Water Department
102 E. Main Ave., Lumberton
601-796-7004

New Augusta City Hall
102 2nd St., E., New Augusta
601-964-3710

Petal Water Department
102 W. 8th Ave., Petal
601-544-6981

Purvis City Water Department
136 Shelby Speights Drive, Purvis
601-794-2472

West Lamar County Water Association
2716 Hwy 589, Hattiesburg
601-264-6305

Town of Richton Sewer Department
206 Dogwood Ave., E, Richton
601-788-6015

Other

Mississippi Public Service Commission
501 N. West St. #201A, Jackson
601-961-5400
www.psc.state.ms.us


Health Care

One of the best ways to stay healthy is making time to care for the mind, body and soul. There are numerous healthcare providers in Greater Hattiesburg that help the community stay fit, happy and well. Aside from these hospitals and clinics, there are also gyms, nature trails and parks, among others.

Forrest General Hospital is the flagship hospital of Forrest Health, a network of hospitals and facilities in south Mississippi. The hospital is a 512-bed, full-service healthcare facility, offering a variety of highly specialized services including advanced treatment options for heart and vascular care, cancer, behavioral health, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency—including the area’s only Level II Trauma Center, and orthopedics.

The Orthopedic Institute, a part of Forrest General, is the only stand-alone orthopedic hospital in the southern region, providing expert care and treatment, including robotic-assisted surgeries.

“Caring for our patients and our communities is what we do. We are committed to providing resources to improve the wellness of our communities; we continue to expand services to reach rural populations; and we invest in the latest technologies that give our patients the best chance for improved health and healing,” said Andy Woodard, President of Forrest Health.

In addition, the provider boasts the Forrest Health Spirit of Women program.

“Our goal with this program is to encourage women to take action for their own health,” said Forrest Health Vice President Millie Swan. “Our program provides women in the area entertainment as well as helpful healthcare information. We want to begin a relationship with women early and carry that through all stages of life.”

Spirit of Women, with over 8,000 members, is a vital resource for women of all ages in the area.

Members are privy to health education events, health screenings, entertainment, and discounts to over 100 retail businesses.

Merit Health Wesley offers patients 211 beds and numerous services and specialties, such as cardiology, robotic surgery, emergency medicine, wound care, pain management and women’s services.

“Merit Health Wesley is a person-centered care facility,” said Phebe McKay, chief nursing officer. “We believe in providing for a patient’s mind, body and spirit to complete the healing process.”

With a wide range of quality facilities and services, the center provides the public more options for complete health, from high-intensity interval training to relaxing massage therapy. It even offers nutrition classes.

Hattiesburg Clinic, which boasts more than 400 physicians and providers, delivers cost effective and efficient treatment for myriad illnesses and ailments. The clinic offers services for cancer, pediatrics, dermatology, diabetes, surgery, heart and vascular, imaging, neurology and physical therapy, to name a few.

Hattiesburg Clinic is also committed to preventative medicine and well-being. The clinic’s Rise and Shine Half-Marathon and 5K is always well attended, and it is a great way to be active. In 2017, the race had more than 600 participants, and it had even more in 2018.

The Rise & Shine Expo takes place the same weekend as the marathon and 5K, offering a free, family-friendly event. Attendees can participate in activities for adults and children, browse health, fitness and wellness exhibits, enter for prizes and so much more.

South Mississippi State Hospital (SMSH) is an acute-care, regional psychiatric hospital for court-committed adults who live in south Mississippi. Patient care at SMSH is structured around an interdisciplinary treatment team model that includes patient participation. SMSH encourages community members to learn more about mental health to help reduce stereotypes so those with a mental illness diagnosis seek treatment earlier. The 50-bed
regional hospital is located in Purvis and operates under the umbrella of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

“We provide speakers to civic/community organizations and participate in an educational program about mental illness and suicide prevention for adolescents and young adults that is available for classrooms, youth groups or any other group interested in learning more about mental health and suicide prevention,” said Donna Boutwell, SMSH public relations director.

Hattiesburg is home to Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, an extension of Forrest General Hospital. Pine Grove provides services for children, adolescents and adults, offering inpatient, outpatient, residential, and partial hospitalization levels of care. Pine Grove is nationally and
internationally respected for their high quality behavioral health care and addiction treatment services, earning the organization a reputation for being one of the nation’s most comprehensive treatment campuses.

“We have programs that treat gender-specific chemical addiction, including a specialized track for co-occurring eating
disorders,” said Colleen M. Munkel, director of business development at Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services. “Additionally, Pine Grove offers a substance abuse healing program for adults age 40 plus, programs specifically for professionals and a sexual
addiction treatment program.”

In addition, Pine Grove frequently partners with the community, offering classes and training for educators and leaders on behavioral health care topics to positively impact the public and promote awareness about mental health and addiction.

Aside from taking care of one’s mental state, nutrition and diet play a vital role in leading a healthy lifestyle. Through the Clean Kitchen program, brought to the area by trainers at Versus Strength and Conditioning, people learn more about planning and executing a healthier eating regimen.

The program expanded to an online program and now offers three 12-week challenges each year that teaches people self-sufficient, healthy eating habits.

“Everyone knows what they should eat, but all the knowledge in the world means nothing without action,” said Jamie Page, a coach at Clean Kitchen. “So we help people put knowledge to action in baby steps. We created the program because many of our clients just did not understand how to make ‘healthy eating’ habits stick and what those actions looked like daily.”

Exercise is a key factor in leading a healthy lifestyle too, and greater Hattiesburg is the site of many gyms, fitness clubs and more, such as CycleBar, Anatomies and Planet Fitness. Jump’ In Gymnastics & Tumbling is a great way for children to get in some exercise, have fun and make friends. Updown Trampoline Park is a 45,000 square-foot, active entertainment venue and is fun for all ages. Who knew exercise could be so fun?

Sometimes exercising the body (and mind) takes place outside of a gym or fitness center. The great outdoors boast miles upon miles of trails for hiking, biking, running/walking and horseback riding. One of the best places in greater Hattiesburg to do this is Longleaf Trace, South Mississippi’s premier running, biking, hiking, equestrian trail. Leading a healthy life is made easy thanks to providers, resources and programs in greater Hattiesburg.


Education

ABCs to MBAs

Lessons that Last a Lifetime

It has been scientifically proven that beginning education at an early age can help contribute to the advancement of children as they learn throughout their lives. Children in the Pine Belt are at an advantage thanks to the efforts made for early childhood education, with programs like EXCEL BY 5, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, After School Academic & Arts Program (A.S.A.A.P.), Mission Possible and Jumpstart to Success.

Excel By 5, with programs at Hattiesburg Public School District and Petal School District, is a collaborative effort of educators, parents and local stakeholders that strives to support children from newborn to five years old.

“We work with families with young children to try to ensure they succeed when they get to kindergarten,” said Dan Kibodeaux, former director of the United Way of Southeast Mississippi and co-certification manager of Hattiesburg Excel By 5. “Studies have shown that by the age of 5 a child’s educational foundation has been set. We are working together to help families better prepare their young children for student success.”

Through Excel By 5, parents and children have access to numerous resources, such as family fun events, kid’s health fair, GED preparation classes, community workroom, Medicaid/CHIP application assistance, access to books, toy lending library and so much more.

Also working to ensure kindergarten readiness is the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program—a nationally recognized book gifting initiative that mails books to children from birth until they begin kindergarten.

After launching in 1995, the program grew quickly, and recently, came to Forrest and Lamar counties in 2017.

“We have recently sent out our first round of books to children in the area,” said Staci Cox, director of community impact at United Way of Southeast Mississippi. “It is our goal to have the young children in the area stocked up with books before they enter kindergarten.”

A.S.A.A.P., established by Van Jones and his wife, Nicole, is an after school and summer program that focuses on academics and enrichment concepts to help working families.

“We keep our fees affordable for the working families and offer more services than babysitting,” said Jones.

The program assists with homework and other educational needs to help give working families more quality time together, with less time spent doing homework every night. Since inception, the Joneses have opened three locations to serve the greater Pine Belt area.

In addition, the Area Development Partnership (ADP) has developed education initiatives to create a workforce-ready community by connecting educators to business needs and students to the realities of the workplace. Programs such as Jumpstart to Success and Mission Possible allow the community entities an opportunity to unite and better prepare students for the future.

Mission Possible is a day of learning where 11th graders hone in on soft skills, such as crafting a resume, learning how to communicate during an interview, learn about proper job etiquette and more.

Likewise, Jumpstart to Success is an interactive career expo hosting more than 1,000 ninth grade students from Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. The expo provides insight on workplace environments and shares opportunities and employer needs from throughout the region, benefiting students in the Greater Hattiesburg school districts.

While students graduate high school fully prepared to enter the workforce, some may choose to attend a higher education institution. The Pine Belt region boasts some of the top schools in the nation, including University of Southern Mississippi (USM), William Carey University and Pearl River Community College’s (PRCC) Forrest County Center.

USM, a research driven institution, offers more than 140 undergraduate academic degree plans and more than 220 graduate degree plans. Students can pursue programs of study in applied technology, construction engineering technology, nursing and marine biology, just to name a few.

The university has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best online graduate nursing programs and has been ranked as one of the best schools for online master’s degrees by Affordable College Online.

William Carey University boasts numerous undergraduate, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees in a variety of areas, such as nursing, speech communication, education, instructional leadership, pharmacy and physical therapy. William Carey University has been ranked as one of the top institutions among regional universities in the South for best value by U.S. News & World Report.

During the past decade, the college has seen significant growth in its health care programs, such as physical therapy.

“Our aim is to provide increased access to physical therapy for the residents in this area to provide adequate services to this part of the state,” said Dr. Cyndi Scott, professor and program director of physical therapy. “In addition, the program acts somewhat as an economic engine for the Hattiesburg area. The living accommodations, professional services and commodities that these students and faculty purchase enhance the economic well-being of Hattiesburg and the surrounding area.”

By Gennie Taylor


Business Portfolio

A community is only as strong as its workforce, and from the looks of it, employers and employees in the Pine Belt have plans in place that will keep the region profitable well into the future.

A signature piece of this puzzle is securing resources so that up-and-coming workers possess the skills they need to fill jobs locally. Understanding that workforce training is the key to economic prosperity, the Area Development Partnership (ADP) has worked with community partners, such as Pearl River Community College (PRCC), WIN Job Center, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD), the University of Southern Mississippi and other workforce stakeholders, to find out what gaps need to be addressed and what skills employers are looking for in job candidates.

“First we surveyed local industries and manufacturers to assess their needs,” said David Collum an electronics engineering technology instructor in PRCC’s Forrest County Center. “Along with being a large university and medical community, Hattiesburg has a huge manufacturing base and those industries are seeking qualified employees. We identified immediate and long-range needs to train entry-level employees for manufacturing jobs.”

The survey revealed a remarkable demand for employees: Manufacturers say they need to fill at least 400 new jobs in the near future. Furthermore, Mississippi is expecting a 13 percent growth rate through 2020 in the vital electronics technology field that steers manufacturing operations.

One benefit already underway to help propel the workforce is a new grant that is funding training and classroom equipment for manufacturing programs at PRCC. The ADP worked with its partners to secure the grant.

“The grant will help pay for equipment to train entry-level employees in automation and monitor controls, electrical wiring, robotics and more,” Collum said. “We’re also focusing on soft skills training too, including professionalism in the workplace and critical thinking.”

The ADP has a strong track record of providing effective and efficient assistance to start-ups that range from customer service centers to industrial manufacturing facilities. Small businesses get special attention too, with a unique competitive advantage.

“The ADP runs an in-house loan program for small businesses, providing financing through the Southeast Mississippi Community Investment Corporation (SEMCIC),” said Daniel Jayroe, ADP community development director. “It’s the only program of its kind in the state that’s managed by a Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Organization. We can offer gap financing, working with a local bank to complete the loan process or direct financing. Loan decisions are made by a 15-person board representing six member banks and the Greater Hattiesburg community.”

Working strategically with partners and the ADP, the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) has developed a centralized data center where individuals can access services, from labor market analysis to demographic characteristics.

“We’re helping area companies and manufacturers, but it’s a lot bigger than that,” Collum said. “It’s for the people in the community too—our district. It’s the whole insight. My goal as an instructor is not only helping my students gain better employment, but to have a much better life and do well.” n By Cathy Cuthbertson

Top economic Sectors – Sector – Number of Employees

Trade, Transportation and Utilities 14,150
Education and Health Services 10,400
Leisure and Hospitality 7,990
Government 7,410
Professional and Business Services 6,930
Public Education 6,890
Manufacturing 4,500
Financial Activities 2,840
Construction 2,570
Other Services 1,260

Source: MDES, March 2018


Lifestyle

Reveling in Retirement

Quality of Life Cannot Be Beat

Suitable and desirable for all ages, life in greater Hattiesburg offers something for everyone, especially retirees. Its hospitality, position to the beautiful coast of the Gulf of Mexico and charming quality of life make the Pine Belt stick out among other places to retire.

“Year after year we earn national recognition as one of the best retirement communities in America,” said Valencia Williamson, executive vice president of the Area Development Partnership (ADP). “We have a fabulous quality of life for all ages, but especially for seniors. We’re a state certified retirement community. We meet or exceed all of the state criteria that make the city retiree-friendly: affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rates, quality medical care and opportunities for learning and leisure. And you can’t beat the weather.”

When it comes to taxes, Hattiesburg earns exceptional recognition. MagnifyMoney, a website devoted to financial literacy, recently ranked Hattiesburg No. 4 on its list of “Best Places for Six-Figure Households.” Where to Retire magazine named Hattiesburg a top retirement destination in 2016, and Kiplinger recently ranked Mississippi No. 4 among the most tax friendly states in the nation for retirees.

Managing one’s income across the span of retirement bears watchful consideration, especially housing costs. Fortunately, Hattiesburg enjoys a low cost of living and retiree-friendly housing abounds, from lakefront properties to unique retirement communities.

At The Claiborne in Hattiesburg, residents enjoy unparalleled lifestyles, from cottage or apartment living to assisted and memory care.

“It’s the premier independent living community in Hattiesburg,” Williamson said. “They are top notch with a host of amenities and activities.”

When new retirees move to the Pine Belt, Williamson suggests joining the ADP and getting plugged in to the community.

That’s exactly what William “Bill” and Vivian Schneider did, and they haven’t looked back. In a short time, Bill became an ADP ambassador and loves his new role welcoming businesses and residents to the region.

“There’s a reason this area is called ‘The Hub,’” Bill said. “It’s an hour from the coast and just a short drive to major cities, with everything you need right here. Most of all, the people who live here are the friendliest in the world, and trust me, we’ve lived a lot of places.”

The Schneiders moved to Hattiesburg four years ago, departing a busy metropolitan area. They found an ideal home in a single-family neighborhood on the lake.

“We had to live on a lake because he had to fish,” Vivian said. “We love it here. The medical community is phenomenal, people say hello everywhere you go and the food scene is incredible. Restaurants are all geared toward fresh and local. It’s fantastic.”

And from museums to arts and performances, there are world-class opportunities for senior learning, especially at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.

“Folks are staying more active than ever before when they retire,” said Brett Harris, director of OLLI. “Continuing to learn is how they keep their minds sharp. At OLLI, they can get immersed in classes led by university faculty from all around Mississippi and the nation.” n By Cathy Cuthbertson


Things to see and do

Looking for a great place to hangout that not many know about? There are many hidden gems right here in Greater Hattiesburg that are most definitely worth a visit.

Questions?
Whether it is a first date or an evening out with friends, there isn’t a more entertaining way to spend a few hours than by answering as many trivia questions as possible. Local hot spots like the Porter Public House and Keg and Barrel host trivia nights, alongside excellent craft beer, food and unmatched ambiance. Don’t miss other happenings like happy hour, beer festivals, kid-friendly events, cook-offs and more.www.theporterpub.com and www.kegandbarrel.com

Appreciate the Arts
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Dance produces at least seven performances each year, including traditional concert dance, site specific dance and dance for film. The department houses the Repertory Dance Company, which provides an outlet for dance majors to hone their craft.

The William Carey University’s Carey Dinner Theatre brings nearly 40 years of entertaining audiences to the table. Patrons enjoy a meal and a gripping show. www.usm.edu and www.wmcarey.edu

Think Fast
With only 60 minutes to find a way out, College Town Escape Rooms is a thrill a minute. Adventurists answer riddles, find hidden objects, decipher codes and solve clues to move on. Custom designed scenarios with complex plots are challenging and fun. Escape rooms are great for a date, night out or team-building event. www.collegetownescaperooms.com

Game On
Pine Belt Level 10 Video Gaming is Mississippi’s ultimate video game truck party, featuring a state-of-the-art limo-style vehicle for a fabulous event. Inside, a game coach keeps the party in full swing in a climate-controlled setting, equipped with the latest games and best consoles. www.pinebeltlevel10videogaming.com

In It to Win It
Everyone has a favorite game. Luckily, Top Tier Board Games offers more than 200 tabletop games from which to play in its library. And better yet, this vast collection is free to play. Stop by for a day of fun, or for the ultimate competitor, enter a tournament for a small entry fee. Top Tier also houses cards, role-playing and miniature games. www.toptiergaming.com

Pizza Party
Fun times and good food are in store at Gattitown. What more could one want? This family-friendly destination for a night out on the town, or an unforgettable birthday party, takes the hassle out of planning, leaving only memories to be made. An arcade lends hours of play before and after dining.
www.gattispizza.com

Suit Up
Enjoy a day of fun indoors at Laser Mania. Weekday specials like Ladies Night, Friday Night Blast-A-Thon and Parents Night, as well as church discounts are available. For a fun-filled party, guests can even rent the facility for before or after operating hours. The venue also offers an arcade, with air hockey, pool and more. www.lasermania.com

Tempting Taste Buds
Delicious food and fabulous libations are in large supply at Branch Cocktail Bar. Enjoy American cuisine prepared by talented chefs for some of the most exquisite dishes in town. Wine-pairing dinners feature specially selected vintages from around the world. Patrons relish these one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering choices, such as braised oxtail gnocchi, yellowfin nachos, Chinese spare ribs and more, all prepared to perfection. In addition, wine and cuisine pairings at Twisted Skillet and Fine Wine and Liquor Loft + Cigars are sure to please foodies. These two business have teamed up to offer wine and cuisine pairings the third Wednesday of every month. Tickets are affordable and the experience is one you won’t soon forget. www.twistedskilletms.com and www.finewineandliquorloft.com www.branchcocktailbar.com