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Economic Development Foundation elects Buys as chairman

The Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Foundation, a member of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership, announced Thursday it has elected its 2020 board of directors and officers.

The board elected Mark Buys as chairman of the board, Margaret Gilmer was elected vice-chairman and Nick Jones, treasurer. Pablo Diaz, President & CEO of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership, will serve as secretary for the board.

“It is indeed an honor to be selected by the EDF board as chairman. We are on the verge of experiencing a period of economic prosperity for our community, not seen in many years,” Buys said. “Our board is made up of a good cross-section of our business sector and we are dedicated to growing our existing economic base and recruiting new industry and jobs to our county.”

Buys replaces Dr. Jeff Holland as chairman. Holland had to step down from the EDF following his election in November to the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

“We thank Dr. Jeff Holland for his pivotal role of leading the resurgence of EDF and our commitment is to continue the momentum that is so prevalent,” Buys said. “EDF is the private sector arm of economic recruitment and we will continue to augment the efforts of the Economic Development Partnership and our local governmental bodies. Again, this a great privilege and we, the board, pledge to lead our efforts toward success.”

The EDF is a non-profit association of local and regional businesses that invest their expertise and resources in supporting the economic development priorities of the Vicksburg Warren County region. EDF members work to advance sensible economic and community development policies in the region and increase the creation of opportunities and wealth for the residents of Vicksburg and Warren County.

The EDF has been a key player in the economic development success of the region in the past few years working alongside the Warren County Port Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, to raise funds to support key economic development initiatives in the region, including among others, the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology currently under construction in downtown Vicksburg.

At its annual membership meeting in November, the members of the foundation elected the 2020 board of directors, including Buys (BancorpSouth Bank), Gilmer, Jones (Chick-fil-A), Austin Golding (Golding Barge Line), Ryan Lee (Trustmark Bank), Riley Nelson (May & Company), Jeremy Kyser (Ergon Inc.), Ken Rector (Bailess & Rector) and Patrick Smith (Vicksburg Plant Food).

EDF members include Ergon Inc., Golding Barge Company, Lorelei Books, Cantwell Anderson Company, May & Company, Morrison Companies, Fordice Construction, Neel Schaffer, Bailess & Rector, BancorpSouth Bank, Big River Shipbuilders, Blackburn Motor Co., Chick-fil-A, Ellis, Dees & Sadler, Falco Chemical, Guaranty Bank & Trust Company, Industrial Wood Products, Jimmy Gouras Properties, Merit Health River Region, Mrs. Margaret Gilmer, Regions Bank, Riverwalk Casino, Industrial Wood Products, Riverhills Bank, Teller, Hassell & Hopson, Trustmark National Bank, Vicksburg Insurance Agency, Waring Oil Company, LLC, Smith Boat Leasing, The Vicksburg Post, International Paper Company, Dr. David Fagan, Foam Packaging, McDonald’s and Curb Appeals Real Estate.