By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – The broad range of infrastructure projects underway in Corinth were on display Thursday and Friday during a two-day 2014 Leadership Mississippi class.
The 52 leaders from business, industry, government, health care, tourism, communications and education are part of a group from across Mississippi who are learning about important issues that will help move Mississippi forward.
Three of those participants are from Northeast Mississippi: Patrick Brown of Oxford, Monica Lebron of Oxford and Sharon Oswald of Starkville.
“I’ve been working in economic development for 20 to 25 years,” said Brown, who works in research and government relations at FNC Inc. “You must have infrastructure – water, sewer, transportation, Internet connections – or industry won’t consider you. It’s a key to our growth, and what the city of Corinth has done here is very impressive.”
Gary Chandler, president of The Alliance economic development organization, moderated a panel that included Corinth Mayor Tommy Irwin, Chris Latch of Corinth Gas & Water and Kent Geno, president of Cook Coggin Engineers.
The group toured Corinth’s new water treatment plant that now draws water from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway on Thursday and heard more about projects that are updating and increasing natural gas and sewer capacity for Corinth and surrounding areas.
While Brown is a lifelong Mississippi resident, Lebron and Oswald are relatively new to the state.
Lebron, who works at the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, relocated to Mississippi from Northern California less than two years ago and “quickly fell in love with the state.”
“I thought this program was a great opportunity to learn more about the state and to be able to share more great things about Mississippi with other people,” she said.
Oswald moved from neighboring Alabama to lead Mississippi State University’s college of business.
“I’ve only been in the state three years, and this is a great chance to get to know the state and people from different areas around the state,” Oswald said.
Celebrating its 40th year, this second oldest statewide leadership program has graduated more than 1,000 leaders across the state, equipping them to help solve statewide issues and assume leadership roles.
Through the remainder of the year the group will visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hear about tourism; Oxford for the creative economy; Cleveland for education; and Jackson to discuss health care, and also participate in graduation in December.