With 30 years experience in finance, banking and economic development, Jay McCarthy is prepared for his new position as chief financial officer for the Mississippi Development Authority. His experience has included previous stints with MDA along with work in the private sector.
As chief financial officer, he oversees MDA’s Financial Resources and Accounting and Finance Divisions. In that capacity he is responsible for coordinating state-funded incentives programs and developing customized incentives packages to recruit new industry to the state. He also assists existing businesses as they pursue growth opportunities and create jobs for Mississippians, and he has oversight of the agency’s budget. “My goal is to efficiently and effectively work with the agency’s resources to ensure we are providing the best incentives packages to companies so they will choose a Mississippi location or elect to expand their existing Mississippi location,” he said.
McCarthy recognizes the challenges he and MDA face. “Economic development is a very competitive sector with every state vying for new projects. MDA’s challenge is to be sure we are best utilizing the resources we are provided so we can remain competitive and continue creating jobs,” he said.
With his background, McCarthy feels he’s up to that challenge. “My most recent position with the agency prior to returning was as the director of the Financial Resources Division. So I’m fortunate to have an in-depth understanding of MDA’s grants, loans and incentive programs and how they help Mississippi remain competitive as we work to attract and retain businesses,” he said. “I’ve also worked in research and project management with MDA, so I understand the various components that go into successful economic development and can apply that knowledge to my role as CFO.”
MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen said of McCarthy, “Jay has the experience, skills and knowledge needed to successfully serve as the chief financial officer of MDA. His familiarity with the agency’s broad range of grants, loans and incentives will be beneficial as we work to attract and retain business in Mississippi.”
Although McCarthy enjoyed his time working at Stephens Inc., which he says is a wonderful company, he missed the economic development sector and working on projects that help create jobs.
McCarthy has always had an interest in and a love of finance, leading to his career choice. “When I had an opportunity to start working in finance in the field of economic development, it opened new doors for me, including recruiting businesses to the state. Returning to MDA allows me to continue working in the field of finance while helping strengthen the state’s economy,” he said.
This economic developer grew up in Jackson, attended St. Joseph High School and earned a banking and finance degree from Ole Miss. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute and is a member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council.
He says some friends and acquaintances might be surprised to learn that he likes to cook. “My wife loves throwing dinner parties, and it gives me an opportunity to cook and try out new recipes on our friends,” he said. “It’s also a great way for me to relax.”
Other ways he relaxes include traveling and watching sports – especially Ole Miss sports. He’s also a history buff and enjoys a good round of golf when he gets a chance to play.
McCarthy and his wife, the former Donna Ashley of Brandon, have been married five years and have a 2-year-old daughter, Liza.