As business leaders from across the state gathered in downtown Jackson, governor Phil Bryant introduced them to a man whom they may want to get to know. His name is Brent Christensen and he's the new executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. It's an appointment Bryant says is the most important one he'll make.
"There were times during the recruitment effort that I can assure you, I thought we had failed," said Bryant.
However, a four month search turned up Christensen who spent the last ten years as president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce in Gainesville, Florida. Before that, he began his career at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg.
Christensen says he's ready to get to work creating jobs in the state while getting a deeper understanding of the state's economy.
"I'm not an expert, that's probably a valid criticism, but I'm going to be a quick study and I'm going to get up to speed very, very quickly," said Christensen.
Christensen says he plans on traveling across the state for a listening tour and when taking over the agency, he says he'll have a very pointed approach.
"There's a number of things we're going to be. We're going to be proactive, we're going to be aggressive, we're going to be innovative and we're going to be relentless at MDA. We're going to get the word out that Mississippi is open for business and ready for those businesses," said Christensen.
Christensen replaces interim director Jim Barksdale who Bryant appointed back in January. Barksdale even led the selection process.
"What we were looking for was the person who had the talent, the drive, the ability and the knowledge to actually be effective in this job," said Barksdale.
With that person now in place, governor Bryant says the state's economic future is looking much better.
"Moving to that next level is one of the things we've talked about in creating a new dynamic," said Bryant.
With the position comes a base pay of a $183,000 a year, plus performance based bonuses. Christensen is set to take over in early June.
Sunday, May 19 2013 5:35 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:35:57 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears an disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:00 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:00:02 GMT
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown. If confirmed, Brown would become the state's first black female district judge. Carl Tobias, aMore >>
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown.More >>
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >>
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Thursday, May 16 2013 7:38 AM EDT2013-05-16 11:38:49 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,More >>
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.More >>
Inmates at jails in Indianapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia face the nation's highest levels of sexual abuse at the hands of guards, according to a new federal report based on surveys of inmates at...More >>
Inmates at jails in Indianapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia face the nation's highest levels of sexual abuse at the hands of guards, according to a new federal report based on surveys of inmates at U.S. jails.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:20 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:20:30 GMT
An accident combined with interstate roadwork causes headaches for motorists Saturday afternoon in Rankin county. Traffic was practically brought to a standstill on I-20 in Pearl at the Airport Road exitMore >>
An accident combined with interstate roadwork causes headaches for motorists Saturday afternoon in Rankin County.More >>
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