2007 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Little, Albritton, Browning, Butler, Carmichael, Chaney, Chassaniol, Clarke, Dearing, Frazier, Gollott, Gordon, Harden, Hewes, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (15th), Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Jordan, King, Kirby, Mettetal, Moffatt, Pickering, Posey, Ross, Thames, Thomas, Walls, White, Wilemon, Robertson

Senate Concurrent Resolution 524

(As Adopted by Senate)


     WHEREAS, Governor Haley Barbour has announced that Mr. Leland R. Speed, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority since the beginning of the Governor's administration, will return to the private sector effective December 31, 2006; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Speed's selfless service as the chief of Mississippi's lead economic development agency is a matter of record.  He only accepted a salary of $1 per year for his service to the state.  The Mississippi Development Authority has oversight of federal and state funding sources totaling $170 Million with 310 employees.  The primary goals of this crucial state agency are to prudently administer taxpayer dollars to recruit business and industry, assist existing businesses expand, market Mississippi as a tourist destination and provide community assistance and support; and

     WHEREAS, Leland R. Speed is the Chairman of EastGroup Properties, Inc., an equity real estate investment firm whose investment emphasis is in the development and ownership of industrial properties in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.  Mr. Speed also serves as the Chairman of Parkway Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership and operation of office properties in the Southeastern United States, Chicago and Texas; both are New York Stock Exchange-listed companies located in Jackson.  Other business interests include the Chairmanship of Delta Industries, Inc., a building materials company; and

     WHEREAS, born in Jackson, Mississippi, Speed graduated from the Jackson public school system, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and was awarded a Master's degree in Business Administration by the Harvard Business School.  Speed also served as Airman 3/C and Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and served in intelligence with Strategic Air Command; and

     WHEREAS, active in civic affairs, he is the past Chairman of Downtown Jackson Partners -- Jackson's downtown business improvement district.  He is past Chairman of the Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Capital Area, serves as Chairman of the Jackson State University Development Foundation, and as a member and past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi College; and

     WHEREAS, in a 2003 interview with Real Estate Portfolio, a national magazine, Leland Speed described himself as a "good ole boy" from Jackson, who left to attend Harvard University.  He returned with a graduate degree from the business school and began to work in his father's securities firm.  On the side, he dabbled in real estate and started building Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, in 1978.  Speed grew his businesses to national proportions, founding and becoming chairman of two Jackson-based companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Parkway Properties, Inc. (NYSE:PKY) and EastGroup Properties, Inc. (NYSE:EGP); and

     WHEREAS, in the private sector, Speed's strategy has been to maximize shareholder value and retain a strong customer base by focusing on the customer.  At the Mississippi Development Authority, that strategy has translated into helping Mississippi's existing businesses grow and expand while attracting new companies to the state by showcasing how Mississippi can best help them improve their returns; and

     WHEREAS, in 1998, Speed was named to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame; and

     WHEREAS, projects under Speed's watch range from a $700 Million steel mill in Starkville, Mississippi, to a $10 Million dishwasher plant in Greenwood, Mississippi.  "He's done a super job and the results show it," Governor Barbour stated; and

     WHEREAS, Leland Speed, and his wife, the former Bessie Sarphie, have three sons and eight grandchildren; and

     WHEREAS, it is with pride that we announce the accomplishments of this top Mississippi business executive, who has brought much credibility to economic development programs in our state and leaves a legacy of selfless service which is a model to all of our citizens:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the selfless public service of Leland R. Speed, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority, as he returns to the private sector after 3 years of dedicated service, and extend the best wishes of the Legislature to him and his family on their future endeavors and civic contributions.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Leland R. Speed and be made available to the Governor of the State of Mississippi and the Capitol Press Corps.