April 14, 2018
HYLA Visits Stennis Airpark, Port Bienville on Economic Development Tour
On April 11, 2018, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy began their exploration of economic development in Hancock County. Their first visit was to Port Bienville, a 3600-acre park home to 13 leading companies and employing 600+ workers in Hancock County. The park boasts a Short Line Railroad with CSX interchange, 15 miles of rail infrastructure, deep water access and close proximity to the interstate system. SABIC Innovative Plastics sponsored the session which included a tour of their facility. Students were able to get an up-close look at the international company that produces plastic pellet material used in items such as car bumpers and electronics.
Next, the students traveled to the Stennis Airpark area, which encompasses 1800 acres, including Stennis International Airport and several domestic and foreign companies. There first stop was to Hot Sticks Manufacturing Company. Hot Sticks is a leading manufacturer of customized drumsticks and imprinted bats and pens. The original Hot Sticks were the first to offer a variety of brightly colored models, and were the only major drumsticks that incorporated a proprietary dry grinding process to protect the integrity of the wood during production. Each student was presented with a pair of drumsticks after the tour and were amazed that these were made right here in their own backyard!
Stennis International Airport was the next stop on the tour, where students were greeted by Bill Cork, Chief Executive Officer of the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission. Bill discussed the exciting opportunities that these students will have in Hancock County and encouraged them to return home after college. The students then toured the air traffic control tower, along with the fire station and were treated to a delicious lunch at the Jet Away Café, generously sponsored by SABIC Innovative Plastics.
The full day came to close with a tour the manufacturing facility of Lazy Magnolia. “Today was a great introduction for the students to learn of the technological and manufacturing potential in Hancock County. Touring both Stennis Airpark and the Port enlightened the students to what STEM or skilled manufacturing occupations might be available when they return home from college,” said Rhonda Rhodes, director of HYLA. The economic development tour was the fourth session for the high school juniors participating in the HYLA program.
Front Row (left to right): Kelanie Tennyson (Hancock), Maleah Austin (Hancock), Harleigh Lafontaine (Hancock), Ahmia Khadaroo (Bay High), Hannah Pitalo (OLA), Kennady Hertz (OLA), Isabelle Gelpi (OLA), Wallis Mortillaro (OLA), and Marguerite Gelpi (OLA).
Middle Row: Brenna Labyak (Bay High), Kearsten Shaw (Hancock), Brianna Mitchell (Hancock), Blake Comeaux (Hancock), Liam McKeon (Bay High), Shelby McColley (Bay High), Trace Rhodes (Saint Stanislaus), Taylor Slade (OLA), and Katie Ingram (OLA).
Back Row: Nate McCormick (Saint Stanislaus), Alexander Fuller (Saint Stanislaus), Ronnie Aleman (Saint Stanislaus), Charlie Whaley (Saint Stanislaus), Luke Davis (Hancock), Collin Ladner (Hancock), Charlie Luttrell (Bay High), Zach Loftin (Bay High), Margaret Spencer White (OLA), and Alex Koons (Saint Stanislaus).
For more information, please contact Rhonda Rhodes at 228-463-8887