December 4, 2020

The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission has begun its search for a chief executive officer to replace Bill Cork, who took a position with the Mississippi Development Authority. Bill Cotter is serving as interim chief executive. Cotter served previously as Chief Operating Officer and as Airport Director. 

Derek Necaise, president of the Port and Harbor Board of Commissioners, said, “The CEO position is the most critical position of any organization. We are aware that the CEO will bring leadership, vision, strategy and culture to the organization. As a commission, we've selected Next Move Group, an independent employment research firm, to aid us in the process.”

Next Move Group is an economic development consulting firm based in New Orleans. The company has conducted dozens of economic development executive searches across the United States. Owner and CEO Chad Chancellor, a native Mississippian, said his company has successfully conducted similar searches for the World Trade Center of New Orleans as well as Ascension, LaFourche, and St. Bernard parishes in Louisiana; Galveston, Texas; and Florida’s Great Northwest. “Those are all heavy port areas which have a large concentration of heavy industries, aerospace, rail and maritime related endeavors,” he said. 

HCPHC was created in 1963 by the Board of Supervisors as the county’s chief economic development agency. It owns and operates Port Bienville Industrial Park and its Short Line Railroad and Stennis International Airport. HCPHC is self-supporting, with revenue derived from the industrial park and airport facilities and services.

Its primary mission is to promote and develop Hancock County by retaining existing companies and attracting additional industry to increase the county’s tax base and create jobs for residents. The CEO oversees all the economic development activities in the county and its staff of 31 employees.

Next Move Group is soliciting applicants online through Jan. 8, 2021. Chancellor said they will provide the HCPHC board with all of the applications and make recommendations on finalists based on their qualifications. Next Move Group also will conduct background and reference checks on the finalists and negotiate a salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. The board will interview the finalists before making their selection.

“We will strive to make certain we do everything possible to select the best person for the position of CEO,” Necaise said. “Our goal is to hire someone who is extremely qualified and who has the best interest of jobs, development and growth in Hancock County.”

To apply, go to thenextmovegroup.com/hancock.