NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority is honoring Joe Max Higgins Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK in Mississippi, with a rare distinction – the Mega Developer Award.
Higgins received the award on Thursday during the TVA Economic Developers' Forum held in Nashville. It's the first time TVA has presented this award, and it comes as TVA celebrates its international award-winning and job-attracting Megasites program.
"The Mega Developer Award honors an individual's commitment to regional economic development that brings and keeps jobs and investments in the Valley," said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development. "This regional award of excellence recognizes an individual for their extraordinary economic development contributions in the TVA region."
Bradley noted that Higgins is known for a phrase memorialized on his license plate "2EQLast" or "Second Equals Last."
"Second definitely does not apply in this case, as this is TVA's first-ever Mega Developers Award," Bradley said. "We are very proud of Joe Max and his team's regional economic development efforts, which have resulted in multi-year results."
The Golden Triangle Development LINK represents the economic development interests for a region of northern Mississippi, including the communities of Starkville, Columbus and West Point.
Higgins' leadership has resulted in completion of 140 major community and economic development projects, the creation of 16,000 manufacturing jobs and more than $5.5 billion in industrial investments. He was instrumental in helping attract Yokohama Tire, which is investing $300 million in a new plant in Mississippi, with potential for an estimated $1 billion in additional investment. He has also worked on numerous commercial retail developments, as well as community development infrastructure improvements worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Higgins led efforts to attain the first two megasites, both in Columbus, Miss., in TVA's certified Megasites program. Within the first year, these sites attracted two major industrial companies, Severstal and PACCAR.
Higgins is nationally certified as a planner, community, and economic developer and an environmental consultant. He has received numerous other noted economic development awards, most recently the Site Selectors Guild Excellence in Economic Development award.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.