For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2019
On May 8, 2019, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy continued their exploration of economic development in Hancock County. Their first visit was to Port Bienville, a 3600-acre park home to 18 industries and employing 1200 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 Stennis Airpark, 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!
A delicious picnic lunch, graciously provided by SABIC, was held at McCleod Park. There, Kevin Ladner, Hancock County Recreation Director, discussed the recent improvements to the park and its economic impact on the county.
Stennis International Airport was the next stop on the tour, where students were greeted by David Turner, General Manager of Million Air, and given a tour of the Air Traffic Control Tower and the Stennis Airport Fire Department.
The full day came to close with a tour the manufacturing facility of Lazy Magnolia. “This is one of my favorite sessions because students are unaware of the technological and manufacturing potential of Hancock County” said Rhonda Rhodes, director of HYLA. The economic development tour was the fifth session for the high school juniors participating in the HYLA program.
Front Row (left to right): Karina Alarcon (Bay High), Danae Fowler (Bay High), Bre Hayes (Bay High), Lindsey Magee (Hancock), Hannah Davis (Hancock), Sophia Compretta (OLA), and Sydney Hotard (OLA).
Middle Row: Brennan Toepfer (SSC), Joby Smith (Hancock), Diana Dardar (Bay High), Jackson Maillho (SSC), Daniela Cruz (OLA), Cameron Benzing (OLA) and Chelsea Smith (Hancock).
Back Row: Tommy Gilbert (Hancock), Drew West (SSC), Kyle Capo (SSC), Joe Lawson (SSC), Reid Pierce (Bay High), Josh Cothen (Bay High), and
Allen Chatelain (Hancock).
For more information, please contact Rhonda Rhodes at 228-463-8887.