HCPHC Happenings

April 10, 2019

In case you missed it, the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission has had some exciting happenings in our commission and county this first half of our Fiscal Year.  These last two fiscal quarters have been especially productive in fulfilling our mission of promoting HCPHC’s capital assets and developing the county’s workforce into a world-class attraction to business and industry.

Our duty in the public service profession is to be transparent with you about what we are doing to develop, better promote, and have success in Hancock County.  Here are some of the highlights so far for Fiscal Year 2019.

Capital Projects

Things have been hopping at HCPHC’s various properties, in keeping with the commission’s goal of the strategic placement of Hancock County as a must-see spot for industrial site-selection decision makers. Here’s a sampling of recent projects:

Stennis International Airport

  • In an exciting first step into the future of space travel, HCPHC will seek a Space Launch Site Operator License for Stennis Airport. The license application, to be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation, would enable operation of horizontally launched reusable launch vehicles and could open the door to commercial space flight out of the airport. Just think of it: Someday Stennis Airport could become also known as Stennis Spaceport!
  • As part of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, Stennis Airport now has a new automated weather observation system and state-of-the-art LED tarmac directional signage, improving safety on the airfield and replacing a system that had outlived its useful life.
  • The air-traffic control tower has undergone a number of safety upgrades, including a backup communication system, to ensure continuous operation of the airport and to support local jobs.

Port Bienville Industrial Park

  • Road A has been extended and paved to create better access to barges tied to the mooring points. The new roadway is already being used by port tenant Jindal Tubular as it transloads finished products.
  • A new rail spur gives logistics firm Goodnight Terminal Services, another port tenant, closer access to its warehouse and will facilitate 400 to 500 new railcars per year.
  • The port’s rail and port personnel and operations are now consolidated into a single building, elevated to protect it from flooding.

For more information on our capital projects for FY 2019, please check out our website!

Workforce Development

Most exciting of all HCPHC’s recent projects has been Hancock County’s certification as a Work Ready Community. The recognition came from ACT, the company that administers the most widely known college admissions test.

Hancock County is the first in coastal Mississippi to earn the ACT® certification, which indicates the county’s workforce has the skills employers are seeking.

A great turnout of county leaders, elected officials, businesses, and educators gathered Feb. 25 at the Hancock Campus of Pearl River Community College in Waveland, Mississippi, to mark the county’s designation as a gold-certified ACT® Work Ready Community.

And in November, Stennis International Airport in Kiln hosted students from Pearl River Community College’s Hancock Center.

The class is enrolled in instructor Jason Moore’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology program. The students got a rare treat as they toured the control tower, then had a ground school lesson.

The graduates will likely find well-paid work operating drones in the private sector for tower inspections, law enforcement, maritime and marine-research programs, and mapping and surveying for such industries as agriculture and construction.

Community Development

HCPHC co-sponsored a two-day gathering of U.S. Department of Defense leadership, state-government representatives and area organizations, aimed at exploring the mutual benefits of community partnerships with this state’s military installations.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Defense Forum presented topics as diverse as the military’s IT, energy, and water resiliency goals; cutting-edge developments in unmanned warfighter systems; and synergistic relationships with state and private-sector entities.

The symposium spotlighted our state’s immense diversity of assets, as well as showing off its military installations and their missions. We want Mississippi to be top of mind for military decision makers whenever new policies, missions, and solutions are discussed.

Stay tuned

This next quarter, HCPHC will be wrapping up our environmental management plan for Port Bienville and Stennis Airport, completing site preparations at our airport, and unveiling our new Dock at Port Bienville that has been completely restored and length extended with the help of CDBG funds. These are just some of the projects that we are looking forward to sharing with you in our next issue of HCPHC Happenings.


As the economic development authority for Hancock County, Mississippi, the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission owns and operates Port Bienville Industrial Park and Stennis International Airport — in addition to fostering business investment for John C. Stennis Space Center, NASA’s premier rocket-testing facility. For more information, visit www.portairspace.com.

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