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Hempstead County EDC Holds Annual Meeting

By Staff, 06/20/18 8:35 PM

The Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation held their annual meeting Tuesday June 19th at Hempstead Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Dr. Lester Sitzes III with Gary Chambless leading the invocation and Dr. LaDell Douglas leading the Pledge. After the business meeting EDC President Steve Harris offered a report on the activities of the EDC. He noted the EDC had had six “requests for proposals” from six entities looking at sites plus one through SWEPCO. He noted the high level of manufacturing jobs in Hempstead County. He also noted the unemployment rate is 3.0 % compared to the state average of 3.9%.
Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse presented Tyson with an award on behalf of the EDC. The company has added almost 100 new jobs in the past year and currently employs nearly 1,350 people. Judge Morse noted Tyson has a $40 million local payroll. Linda Buke and Cathy Ramsey of Tyson accepted the award.
Mayor Steve Montgomery presented New.Millenium with an award on behalf of the EDC. New Millennium has expanded from 235 employees to 277 employees. The company has also added a new $5 million dollar office complex to their Hope facility. Accepting the award for New Millennium were David Santifer and Michael Winarta
The keynote speaker for the event was Jorge D. Ayala, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Ayala was introduced by RenĂ©e Dycus, Executive Director of Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District. Ayala offered tips on economic development such as growing existing industries first. Ayala also talked about a $1.2 million dollar grant the EDA is awarding Hope to rework the city’s railroad spur. The work on the spur will help three companies and benefit dozens of employees. Ayala said one way to get economic projects funded is to “think regionally”. He also stressed to communities to collaborate.
Before the meeting adjourned Chairman Sitzes lauded the efforts of long-term board member Lynn Montgomery. Dr. Sitzes also lauded County Judge Haskell Morse for his efforts.