Chamber banquet was further evidence of what I suspected

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

With each passing week, I feel like I know the community a bit more as I collect new information and match names with faces while I’m out and about covering events. Most recently, I was able to attend this year’s meeting of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. And it only confirmed my suspicion that Vicksburg and Warren County has compiled a crack team of leaders. If this were the draft, we’d be preparing for a really big season.

Even before Monday’s meeting, I had been impressed by the obvious commitment to both economic development and quality of life that is easy to spot with Mayor George Flaggs Jr., as well as with Chamber of Commerce leaders like Chris Rials. I’ve gotten to be there with them both for a number of ribbon cuttings, and I’ve only been on the job for around a month. That’s a pretty good sign things are moving in the right direction here.

I’ve also had the chance to spend some time with Pablo Diaz. I’d use his formal title before his name, but I’d have to choose one.
He’s an impressive fellow and wears a lot of hats in the community. Monday’s meeting gave me a little deeper understanding of the partnership between the chamber of commerce, the Economic Development Foundation, and the port commission, as
well as the city and county. And let me tell you something: Having all of those entities working well together is no small thing. It’s a massive undertaking to coordinate just one of them, so the job Pablo has done with what is under his umbrella is impressive, to say the least.

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That sentiment also extends to Kelle Barfield and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, as well as to the many people who make up the chamber, port commission, and city and county government. I have not made much of a dent in meeting them all. That’s a tall task. But, with each new introduction, I am more and more impressed by what they do in our community.

As you can read about in this edition of The Post, Pablo had some exciting news about the south port project and new Chamber Chairman A.J. “Buddy” Dees added some context to what it means for the area during Monday’s meeting. I’ll let you read
all about it in those stories, but the bottom line is, it’s huge for us all. So, as I prepare to move on to my next first-time coverage of a regular or annual event, I’m expecting big things. The bar has been set pretty high in only around five weeks. There is a ton of exciting stuff going on here. From new retail and restaurant businesses opening, to huge projects like the new port location, there is a lot to be excited about and I genuinely cannot wait to help cover it all as it happens.

So stay tuned. If Monday taught me anything, it’s that there is much more to come.

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vicksburgpost.com.