Mood is working to grow Yazoo's economy

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

Tim Mood is settling into his role as Yazoo County’s new Economic Development Director.

And it certainly is a good fit for the Yazoo County native who sees the community as being filled with hard-working people.

“Yazoo County is just a collection of hard-working people, raising families and making a life for themselves the best way they can,” Mood said.

Mood came aboard as the new director of the Yazoo County Economic Development District in August of 2018. With a wealth of knowledge in real estate, community development and economic advancements, he is excited to pursue future endeavors and growth within his home community.

Born in Yazoo City in 1964, Mood graduated from Manchester Academy in 1982. From there, he earned degrees at Mississippi State University and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. In 2005, he became a licensed Realtor with Briggs Properties.

With experience in banking, electric utilities and economic development, Mood also worked with the Mississippi Development Authority before arriving back home as the economic district’s new director.

Not only does Mood work in Yazoo County, but he has called Benton home since 2010. He is married to the former Lynn Fouche’, and they have two children Tanner, 27, and Marlee, 25. 

The appeal of Yazoo County, for Mood, is all about lifestyle. From nearness to family to affordable rural housing to outdoor enjoyment, he said Yazoo has plenty to offer.

“A dollar in Yazoo County certainly goes farther than it does let’s say in a highly developed adjoining county,” Mood said. “Yazoo County has more of a ‘service-industry’ base than strictly manufacturing. Agriculture will always dominate our county and the people who are associated with agriculture.”

One of the most promising projects Mood is excited about revolves solely around agriculture with local entrepreneur Joseph Mohamed.

“The Yazoo County Board of Supervisors and Port Commission can and should take some credit for a recent successful project dating back to 2013 for assisting Joseph Mohamed in purchasing the former Southern Bag facility,” Mood said. “It is really remarkable what Joseph has accomplished out on Rialto Road. He is responsible for establishing the very successful J & J Bagging Company and now employs approximately 35 employees.”

What was once a forgotten piece of property has led to a successful operation for the community.

“He has purchased and cleaned up an overgrown unkept, county-owned property that was being used for dog-fighting, built additional bulk warehousing facilities and most recently completed an agreement with the Port Commission to purchase additional acreage to construct new rail spur and grain storage facilities,” Mood said. “The Yazoo County Economic Development District and Yazoo County Board of Supervisors have also expressed and provided their letter of support for a $750,000.00 Freight Rail Grant application by J and J Bagging through the Mississippi Development Authority.”

Obtaining grants and loans, thus leading to development, is a big reward for Mood in his career. Those grants and loans are being used to improve and rehabilitate many county-owned assets, including a new fuel farm and ag-apron at the Yazoo County Airport. Roof repairs will be made to the Amco Manufacturing Company. And a new ambulance facility will be added to the District 3 volunteer fire station.

“Economic development is costly, and there have never been any guarantees for returns on investment,” Mood admits. “No outsiders will ever deliver Yazoo County’s preferred future. Yazoo County has to go out and get it. I can point out that the County probably needs to obtain more attractive industrial property (acreage) that would be suitable for developing.”

Mood said that is one of the biggest challenges and a harsh reality to accept. He said the county-owned properties along Highway 3 will be difficult to sustain new industry or growth.

“Any successful county or community has to set an attractive table in preparation for growth,” Mood said. “The time that we can save a company by having certain basic location infrastructure requirements in place, the more attractive we can be.  It’s all about money (investment) and preparation (for the future).”

But, as far as the community as a whole, Mood said “there is always someone looking.” But he said there are reservations surrounding the railroad corridor within the community.

“Most think the railroad is an impediment,” he said. “However, I tell them, local folks here have dealt with the railroad all their lives. Look at the parking lot at Walmart. It’s full. We’ve figured it out. Believe it or not, the majority of inquiries that I receive want to be on Jerry Clower Boulevard.  My recent experience is there is continuing interest in the Willie Morris Parkway but mainly in close proximity to Walmart.”

It’s a road traveled by Mood before. He first joined local efforts by serving as the interim development director in 2012. And he has proven to be very active and knowledgeable of community economic groups and bringing in ideas and projects.

“Yazoo County is my hometown,” Mood said. “And, as they say, the rising tide lifts all boats and so all Yazoo Countians stand to benefit from a well-managed professional economical development effort.”