Friday, October 20, 2006

MS Development Authority Office Opening

11/23 Change of Leaders at MDA
Governor Barbour Announces Leadership Change at the MDA COO Gray Swoope To Take Over
From Director Leland Speed
From: Office of the Governor Filed 11/21/06 GCN
Governor Haley Barbour announced today that Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority since the beginning of the Barbour Administration, is returning to the private sector and will be replaced by Gray Swoope, MDA's chief operating officer.
The change will become effective at the end of the year. Governor Barbour characterized the change as a seamless transition in the leadership ranks of the state agency tasked with creating new and higher paying jobs through economic development and business enhancement.
"Leland Speed is one of this state's most outstanding business leaders and came into government from the private sector so he could be of service to the people. He has done a fabulous job as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority and I am grateful for his service. State government needs more people like him," Governor Barbour said.
The Governor also praised the leadership that Swoope has demonstrated over the past three years in his position as MDA's Chief Operating Officer."
Gray Swoope has been the man behind the details of all of the important initiatives undertaken by MDA since the beginning of my Administration," Governor Barbour said.
"He is thoroughly immersed in all aspects of Mississippi's economic development program and initiatives, and I am delighted to say that with his elevation to the top spot we won't miss a beat."
SpeedIn a 2003 interview with Real Estate Portfolio, a national magazine, Speed described himself as a "good ole boy" from Jackson, who left to attend Harvard University. He returned with a graduate degree from the business school and set to work in his father's securities firm. On the side, he dabbled in real estate and started building Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, in 1978. Speed grew his businesses to national proportions, founding and becoming chairman of two Jackson-based companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Parkway Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PKY) and EastGroup Properties, Inc. (NYSE: EGP).
In the private sector, Speed's strategy has been to maximize shareholder value and retain a strong customer base by focusing on the customer. At the Mississippi Development Authority, that strategy has translated into helping Mississippi's existing businesses grow and expand while attracting new companies to the state by showcasing how Mississippi can best help them improve their returns.
In 1998 Speed was named to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.Active in civic affairs, Speed has served as chairman of the Downtown Jackson Partners. He is past chairman of the Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill Industries and the United Way of the Capital Area. Currently, Speed serves as chairman of the Jackson State University Development Foundation, and as a member and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi College.
A native of Jackson, Speed received his bachelor of science degree in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Speed is married to the former Bessie Sarphie. They have three adult sons and nine grandchildren.
Swoope Swoope joined MDA as Chief Operating Officer in March 2004. The West Point, Mississippi, native has more than 20 years of economic development experience including work on the local, regional and state levels. Gray is passionate about his work and focused on moving his home state forward.Prior to joining MDA Gray served as president of the Area Development Partnership (ADP), a three-county economic development agency based in Hattiesburg. He has served on the board of directors of the Southern Economic Development Council and as president of the Mississippi Economic Development Council. Prior to joining the ADP in 1997, Gray worked for the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC). He first joined AIDC in 1991 as an international project manager and in 1993 was promoted to director of the Community and Industrial Development Division.
Swoope received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration from Mississippi State University. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. In 1990, Site Selection magazine recognized him as one of the nation's Top Ten Outstanding Young Economic Developers.Gray and his wife, Mary, have two daughters.

10/25 Thanks Kathleen!

The Mississippi Development Authority Homeowner Assistance Program (MDA/HAP) has clarified the grant application procedure for eligible homeowners who have sold their homes since August 29, 2005. MDA has also opened a new service center in Hancock County to provide more efficient service to homeowners in the area. With the clarified procedures, MDA is attempting to provide eligible homeowners with a means to meet the requirements necessary to receive an HAP grant, even if they have sold their homes. HAP grant eligibility requires that all homeowners attach a covenant to their damaged property. These covenants are to be attached permanently to the property in order to reduce the chances of severe flood damage in the event of another major hurricane and to ensure that the property has ample flood insurance coverage in the future.
These covenants require homeowners to:
• Obtain and maintain flood insurance on their property;
• Rebuild or repair their homes in accordance with all applicable building codes and localordinances; and
• If rebuilding, do so in accordance with FEMA advisory flood elevations.
The newly outlined HAP procedures provide homeowners who have sold their homes with a way to meet these requirements. Specifically, if an eligible homeowner who sold his or her home obtains a voluntary covenant agreement from the current property owner, the original homeowner may thereby meet the grant requirement that a covenant be attached to the damaged property. MDA has sent notification letters to known homeowners who sold their homes and are eligible for the grant program informing them of these procedures.
However, MDA encourages all homeowners who sold their homes after Hurricane Katrina and who believe they are eligible for HAP to go to their nearest service center, regardless of whether they have previously applied for a HAP grant. The service centers will provide these homeowners with the necessary documents and instructions to enable them to obtain the required covenant agreement from the current owner and any current lien holders and lenders with a legal interest in the property.
In addition, any homeowners who are eligible for an HAP grant but have not applied previously because they had sold their homes may apply for the grant at the service center. In addition, MDA has established special booths within each service center where MDA representatives, including notaries, will provide support to applicants in understanding this process.
There are now three service centers located on the coast, including a new center in Hancock County.

Locations are as follows:
Hancock County Service Center

3068 Longfellow DriveBuilding 6A
(Hancock County Gov’t Complex)
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Jackson County Service Center
Singing River Mall
2800 US Highway 90
Suite 1382
Gautier, MS 39553
Monday - Friday
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Harrison County Service Center
Prime Outlets – Gulfport
10000 Factory Shops Blvd
Gulfport, MS 39505
Monday - Friday
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Staff at the service centers can answer any questions regarding HAP eligibility requirements, including those pertaining to homeowners who have sold their homes. In addition, more information about the HAP can be found online at

New local office will help homeowners with MDA Katrina grant questions
Oct 18, 2006, 09:06
With offices to help process state homeowners grants already open in both Jackson and Harrison counties, Speaker Pro-Temp J.P. Compretta took it upon himself to urge the Mississippi Development Authority to open one in Hancock County. The office will open today or tomorrow in a Quonset hut located next to Jimmy Gouras Consultants at the Hancock County Government Complex. The huts are in a line in the front section of the complex. Compretta said the office should open either today or tomorrow.
Help will basically be given on a first come, first served basis, said Compretta, and will hopefully be a tremendous help for local property owners who find themselves hopelessly ensnared in red tape.
"People can't find out anything," said Compretta. "Paperwork is put on a desk when a problem could be solved with a phone call. Hopefully this office will help with the process."
The office should be manned with ten to twelve people, Compretta said, who can help with common problems experienced by grant applicants, such as insurance, mortgage and homestead conformations which are slowing down the award process. People who applied for the first round of funding and have not received a packet indicating an award should also seek help. Property owners who applied for a second round of funding may not find the help they are looking for just yet, said Compretta. The logistics and funding for the second round of grants have not been completed, he said.
© 2006 Bay St. Louis Newspapers, Inc.


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