New FedEx Ground Facility Under Construction at I-59 Supply Chain Park

New FedEx Ground Facility Under Construction at I-59 Supply Chain Park

LAUREL, Mississippi – Local Officials in the Pine Belt announced today that FedEx Ground is constructing a new 217,000 square foot distribution facility located within the I-59 Supply Chain Park adjacent to Interstate 59 at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport. The facility will employ a mix of full – and part-time employees that will adjust with seasonal demand.

FedEx Ground will be the largest facility to date located in the I-59 Supply Chain Park joining Ashley Furniture, NoTrax, and Flowers Bakery. This development will continue to propel advancements in the Park and allow for the area to further become a regional logistics hub for the Pine Belt.

This project announcement, along with the continued development of the I-59 Supply Chain Park, is a result of a strategic partnership between Forrest County and Jones County. For several years the counties have partnered together to make the I-59 Supply Chain Park more competitive for distribution projects. In this strategic interlocal agreement, each county shares equally in both the development costs and general tax revenue generated from projects in the Park.

The success of the I-59 Supply Chain Park is only possible due to the regional approach taken by the Jones County Board of Supervisors and Forrest County Board of Supervisors in partnership with the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority Board. This strategic partnership, along with support from local utility allies like Cooperative Energy, Dixie Electric Power Association, and Spire Energy allows this team to work together to ensure the success of entire region.  The Jones County Economic Development Authority and the Area Development Partnership serve as the joint project leads for economic development projects in the Park, and this project represents the culmination of years of work between each of these parties.

Johnny Burnett, President, Jones County Board of Supervisors, states “We are excited to see FedEx Ground open a new facility in the I-59 Supply Chain Park. The strategic partnership between Jones County and Forrest County and the Airport Authority has led to the success of the I-59 Supply Chain Park. We are looking forward to the continued economic prosperity of the region through this partnership.”

David Hogan, President, Forrest County Board of Supervisors, adds “The announcement that FedEx Ground is opening a facility in the I-59 Supply Chain Park is not only a major win for Forrest County but also the entire region. The partnership among Forrest County, Jones County, and the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority has played a pivotal role in making the I-59 Supply Chain Park what it is today. We are excited to see continued success in the Pine Belt.”

Bill Ray, Chairman, Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority Board, expressed “The I-59 Supply Chain Park is an excellent location for companies looking to extend their footprint in the Gulf South, and we are thrilled that FedEx Ground has chosen to open a new facility here. There have been significant site development efforts over the years to prepare the property for new projects. FedEx Ground choosing to locate here will only continue to spur economic activity in the Park.”

The new facility is currently under construction along Superior Drive in the Park and is slated to begin operations in late 2022.



The Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (PIB) serves a ten-county region from its convenient location just off Interstate 59 between Hattiesburg and Laurel and is South Mississippi’s gateway to the world. The Airport offers both commercial and general aviation services. In addition, the Airport offers an attractive on-site Business Park.


The Economic Development Authority of Jones County (EDA) is a public-private partnership. Established by a special act of Mississippi Legislature in 1983, the leadership of EDA is provided by a twenty-two member volunteer Board of Directors. Thirteen board members are appointed directly by the county, cities, and towns within Jones County, Mississippi. Nine board members are elected by the membership, with nominations received annually. Ten board members serve on the Executive Committee. An Advisory Committee composed of twenty business and civic leaders meets with the Board of Directors monthly to provide counsel and expertise.


The Area Development Partnership (ADP) serves as the regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization in Greater Hattiesburg, MS. The ADP’s mission is to stimulate economic growth and enhance the well-being and quality of life for all area citizens.  For more information, contact the ADP at 601.296.7500 or visit WWW.THEADP.COM.


ADP Contact: Todd Jackson
Executive Vice President
Area Development Partnership

HLRA Contact: Tom Heanue
Executive Director
Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport

Jones County EDA: Ross Tucker
President & CEO
Economic Development Authority of Jones County

Scotsman Manufacturing Company beginning operations in Laurel, Creating 85 jobs!

Scotsman Manufacturing Company is proud to call Laurel home of its new manufacturing operations.


Erin and Ben Napier, hosts of HGTV’s hit series Home Town and co-owners of Laurel Mercantile Company, along with partners Mallorie and Jim Rasberry and Emily and Josh Nowell, are locating wood countertop and cutting board manufacturing operations under a new company, Scotsman Manufacturing Company. The new company will be housed in a revitalized facility near downtown Laurel. The Scotsman Manufacturing team is committed to American-made goods and will wholesale its products to retailers nationwide, creating 85 jobs in a once-shuttered industrial complex.


The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building improvements. Scotsman Manufacturing Company also has been certified for the Advantage Jobs Rebate Program, which is designated for eligible businesses that create new jobs exceeding the average annual wage of the state or county in which the company locates or expands. Mississippi Power is aiding with energy efficiency upgrades to the facility.



“My administration is committed to building a stronger economy that will benefit Laurel residents for generations to come, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Scotsman Manufacturing Company to create 85 jobs that will pay above average wages. The Scotsman Manufacturing team exemplifies the pride Mississippians take in their communities, and our dedication to producing some of the best products found in the country. On behalf of all Mississippi, we thank them for their continued investment in the Hospitality State and its people. There is no doubt that they are truly making our state a better place for all Mississippians.” – Gov. Tate Reeves


“Manufacturing, a top economic driver for Mississippi, employs tens of thousands of workers in our state. When homegrown companies stay in Mississippi to plant roots and begin creating jobs in our communities, it truly does make a statement to other companies that we are a great place to do business. Scotsman Manufacturing will be an asset to Laurel and Jones County for many years to come, and MDA is proud to support this and future endeavors as the company brings good jobs to the area’s residents.” – MDA Interim Executive Director Laura Hipp


“We appreciate the support of the EDA of Jones County, the MDA and the state of Mississippi as we commit to new jobs through the manufacturing of quality wood products here in Laurel. If we are going to be serious about revitalizing small towns, then we have to be serious about creating manufacturing in those small towns.” – Jim Rasberry, Chairman of Scotsman Manufacturing Company


“The Napiers and their partners the Rasberrys and the Nowells have consistently chosen to invest back into our community. We are proud they have once again chosen to expand locally by basing their latest endeavor, Scotsman Manufacturing Company, here in Laurel. In true Napier fashion, they have chosen a distressed warehouse to revitalize and start this new venture. Jones County has certainly seen a positive impact from each project they claim, and we are confident this one will follow suit.”Jones County Economic Development Authority President Ross Tucker


“The work that the Napiers, their team and countless others have done in Laurel has helped rejuvenate, rebuild and revitalize a beautiful Mississippi city. Scotsman Manufacturing’s impact on southeast Mississippi, from direct and indirect jobs, additional economic growth and local pride, will be immeasurable.” – Mississippi Power Vice President of External Affairs Billy Thornton

We are looking for a Chamber of Commerce Director!

We are growing at the Jones County EDA! We have enjoyed working with our wonderful Chamber of Commerce Director, Amanda Roll. She has done a great job and is now shifting her focus towards our tourism department. We have begun searching for someone to join our staff as the new Chamber of Commerce Director. If you are interested in this open position, please read more about the role below. We will continue  accepting applications through December 29th.


Primary Responsibilities:

The Chamber of Commerce has direct responsibility for the Jones County Chamber of Commerce. Duties include but are not limited to working with the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to develop membership sales/retention and events creation designed to bring value to and increase membership growth, retention, and revenues for the Chamber of Commerce. This position reports to the Economic Development Authority’s President and has to have the ability to work and lead multiple volunteer committees towards setting and achieving yearly events and goals. Any other appropriate and reasonable duties directly or indirectly associated with the functions of the Economic Development Authority, Community Development Foundation, and Chamber of Commerce as deemed or required by the President.


  • – Work with the Chamber of Commerce Board to maintain annual sales plan to meet Chamber membership goals
  • – Work with Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors to develop a membership retention plan that articulates the Chamber’s value proposition and demonstrates member benefits
  • – Implement annual sales and membership retention plans, including sales action strategies and yearly sales goals. Continuously evaluate and improve sales and retention plans and strategies to increase revenues
  • – Manage, develop, coach, supervise, motivate, set sales goals, and evaluate Chamber’s Volunteer Committees to ensure yearly events and member targets
  • – Meet with members and potential members to discuss evolving needs, encourage retention, and assess the quality of the EDA and Chamber’s relationship with them
  • – Advises CEO on member feedback to assist Chamber and EDA in aligning member experience with needs and expectations
  • – Determine need and manage creation, organization, and implementation of Chamber events
  • – Evaluate events based on membership satisfaction
  • – Work closely with members on the EDA and Chamber of Commerce Boards on event promotions and drive attendance
  • – Represent the Chamber and EDA at various community and other statewide and area events
  • – Maintain professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops, reviewing professional publications, establishing personal networks, and participating in professional organizations
  • – Provide monthly reports on membership, and event feedback to both EDA and Chamber Boards

Preferred qualifications include:

  • – Must be highly motivated, goal-oriented, and well organized
  • – Current resident or relocate to Jones County within six months of taking the position
  • – Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree in a related field
  • – Experience as a sales representative or sales manager, consistently meeting or exceeding targets
  • – Ability to communicate, present and influence credibly and effectively at all organizational levels
  • – Have skillset necessary to supervise and motivate others effectively
  • – Work both collaboratively and independently, determine priorities, make appropriate decisions, and meet deadlines
  • – Anticipate and effectively handle numerous details with concurrent and overlapping deadlines for completion
  • – Proven experience in customer relationship management and familiarity with CRM software.
  • – Work effectively under above-average pressure
  • – Regular and occasional irregular Working Hours required
  • – Other duties as assigned by President

Links for Information: &

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements electronically to Ross Tucker, President, Economic Development Authority of Jones County, at

For consideration, resumes must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. central time on December 29, 2021.

Register for the Pull For Leadership Clay Shoot benefiting Leadership Jones County!

Join the 2021/2022 Leadership Jones County class at Bar 3 Range on December 2 for a sporting clay competition! All proceeds go to support the Leadership Jones County program. We have sponsorships available and additional shot packages! There will be prizes for the winners and a shell pull for the big raffle prize! Don’t miss out on the fun! Contact Shelley Jones for more information or to register a team.

Shelley Jones


Help the Glory House Win a $25,000 Grant!

 The Glory House in Laurel MS has made it to the final round of the State Farm neighborhood Assist Grant program!!!  You can vote for them 10 times a day to help them win!  VOTE HERE!!! 

Don’t miss the FREE webinar “State of the Economy”

The Mississippi Small Business Development Center will be offering a FREE webinar on Wednesday, August 25th. Former State Economist, Darrin Webb will be presenting an overview and briefing of the current state of the Mississippi economy and business outlook. Register for this informative event HERE.

HGTV Renews HomeTown for Season 6!

HGTV has ordered a 20-episode Season 6 of Home Town, starring Laurel locals Erin and Ben Napier. Additionally, following its successful premiere, spinoff Home Town: Ben’s Workshop been renewed for a 10-episode second season on Discovery+.

It is no secret that Laurel and Jones County have seen a big influx of tourists since the show aired. Each year we see their popularity grow and new states appear on the license plates driving around town. The buzz and excitement surrounding the show has encouraged small business owners and brought a new wave of customers to our area. Jones County has certainly benefited from Ben & Erin’s hard work and we thank them for their investment in the community!

Read the full press release from Discovery below.

New York [August 9, 2021] HGTV has picked up 20 episodes of fan favorite series Home Town after it attracted a whopping 32 million viewers during its last season. Starring home renovation experts Erinand Ben Napier, the series will spotlight the couple as they bring new life to outdated homes in Laurel, Mississippi, and navigate their busy family life as parents of two. In addition to airing on HGTV in early 2022,  the new season of Home Town also will be available to stream on discovery+. And, following its successful debut on the streaming platform, the exclusive series, Home Town: Ben’s Workshop, has been picked up for a new season of 10 episodes. The series spotlights Ben as he welcomes celebrity guests to his real-life workshop.

“I’ve always loved the bigger projects we do for Home Town because Erin and I help make a difference for homeowners and for entire neighborhoods,” said Ben. “Now I have the added bonus of sharing more of my passion on Home Town: Ben’s Workshop. Showcasing the patience and detail that goes into woodworking with fans who wanted to see more of that process is a dream come true.”

The couple, who have more than one million followers on social media, will continue their mission to revitalize their small town one home at a time using Erin’s artistic vision and Ben’s woodworking prowess.

“Home Town is not just about renovations, it’s about the power of community,” said Jane Latman, president, HGTV. “We love that the series delivers great ratings in all key demos, season after season, but it’s the inspirational message about neighbors working together, as well as Ben and Erin’s enthusiastic fans, that have helped HGTV build yet another breakout franchise.”

Fans are invited to stay connected with Ben, Erin and Home Town at Fans also can follow @HGTV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #HGTVHomeTown for additional show content and updates and can follow Ben ( and Erin (@erinapier) on Instagram.

Home Town and Home Town: Ben’s Workshop are produced by RTR Media, Inc.


Health & Safety at Women In Business!

We have been working hard not only to make Women In Business an informative and enjoyable event, but also as safe as possible for all attendees. We will have limited seating available to allow for social distancing so be sure to register soon!  Please see the below health and safety precautions in reference to this event.

Health & Safety Precautions for Women In Business:

  • Masks are strongly encouraged for all attendees and will be available on site.
  • Registration for the event will be limited so that we can safely space tables and limit seating at each table.
  • Safety measures will be in place for lunch service.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the venue.
  • Additional policies may be added in accordance with public safety guidelines at the time of the event.

Be a Vendor for Women In Business!

Vendor spots are now open for our 2021 Women In Business Forum!

Do you offer a service for women-owned businesses? Reserve a vendor space and interact with potential new clients during the event! Only $50 and includes one ticket to the Forum!Download the vendor form and return to by August 13. The $50 vendor free includes 1-ticket for the WIB Forum and Luncheon; 1-6’ unskirted table; 2 chairs

Vendor policies:

  • Vendors will be approved who offer services or products that are associated with professional women and their personal or professional growth and development.
  • Set up will be from 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
  • Vendors are not allowed to sell anything at their booth
  • No outside food or beverages are allowed
  • Vendors may offer door prizes to be given away during the general session. Please drop off door prizes at the Chamber office by Friday, August 20. Additional door prizes/raffles are allowed at booths.
  • The vendor area will remain open through the conclusion of the event at 1:00 pm and may not breakdown before the event is adjourned.