Commission close to replacing Mansfield who left in 2016

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, December 24, 2016

More than five months after he left to take an economic development position in Texas, Warren County port commissioners are hoping they will soon be able to hire a replacement for former port director Wayne Mansfield by sometime in February.

Commission president Margaret Gilmer said Greensboro, N.C.-based Jorgenson Consulting Inc. told the commission earlier this month they have interviewed several applicants for the position and have narrowed down the field, inviting some candidates back for second interviews.

“They expect to recommend six people to us by mid-January, and they will meet with our interview committee,” Gilmer said. “We will interview them and anyone else Jorgenson will recommend. We hope to be able to hire someone by the end of January or mid-February.”

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She said the new director will be more involved with economic development than running the port, which is managed under a contract with WATCO.

She said emphasis on an economic development director was influenced by the results from an asset mapping by the Mississippi Development Authority that looked at the area’s strengths and weaknesses and indicated economic development should be the new director’s primary duty.

The commission hired Jorgenson in September under a $40,000 contract to assist in the search for a new director, and the Board of Supervisors, which is a co-signer with the commission, approved the contract in October, clearing the way for Jorgenson to start work.

Mansfield, who served as port director for the Port of Vicksburg for nine years, resigned in July to head the Longview, Texas, Economic Development Corp., which serves as that city’s economic development agency.

He was selected by the port commission in 2007 from five applicants and later approved by the Board of Supervisors. He has a degree in history from Ole Miss and a master’s in planning and economic development from the University of Memphis.

Before serving as Vicksburg city planner, he was a city planner in Tupelo.

“I think Wayne served Vicksburg very well. Working in state that is 50th in a lot of categories brings a lot of challenges,” port commissioner Austin Golding said after Mansfield’s announcement. “I think that in the world of economic development, being able to add different communities to your resume is something in my experience I’ve found, is something that’s kind of status quo.”