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MEDC conference goes global

Last month’s Mississippi Economic Development Council’s (MEDC’s) winter conference, “Local to Global: Linking Mississippi to the World,” had a decidedly international flavor to it.

And MEDC executive director and chief operating officer Carol Hardwick said it paid off.

“I’ve had several people tell me it was the best ever,” Hardwick said. “The international people were a big hit.”

Highlighting the international them was a keynote address by David Copenhaver, administrative vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Tupelo.

Also delivering an international address was Bill Crump, director of governmental affairs and executive assistant to the president of Viking Range Corp. in Greenwood.

Hardwick said she and incoming MEDC president David Rumbarger, of the Community Development Foundation in Tupelo, agreed that this year’s winter conference should have an international flair.

Mississippi Development Authority executive director Gray Swoope addressed Mississippi’s position on attracting investments from Europe and Asia. Barbara Travis, executive director of the Mississippi World Trade Center, laid out the benefits of “sister cities” that connect Mississippi with cultures across the continents.

Sonia Garza-Monarchi of Houston, Texas, spoke about protocol for hosting international visitors for dinner.

Hardwick said more than 300 people registered for the conference, which is one of two held yearly by the MEDC. The council’s summer conference is scheduled for July 23-25 at the Imperial Palace Casino in Biloxi. This will mark the first time in two years the conference has returned to the Coast.

“We try to get cutting edge and current topics” for the sessions, Hardwick said.

Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .

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