Monday, July 1, 2019

What Happened in Paris?

The occupation of Paris is over.  The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority's Commissioners returned from a 12 day trip to the Paris International Air Show.   Justin Vicery tried to find out what the Commissioners actually did in a story published in the Clarion-Ledger Friday:


Officials who went on the trip were contacted by the Clarion Ledger, both before their departure and after their return. No one would talk about the trip before their departure.

Upon their return, Commissioner James Henley responded to inquiries from the Clarion Ledger. On Wednesday, he described the trip as successful.

He also made it clear he was speaking "for myself, not the commission. You'll have to talk to them if you want their thoughts," he said.

No other commissioner responded to requests for comment.

On Thursday afternoon, Yolanda Moore, the airport's public relations and customer service manager, said a response regarding the trip would be forthcoming.

Henley said commissioners attended some prearranged meetings and said officials spent a majority of the trip "making cold calls."

Henley defended the size of the JMAA delegation to Paris, saying it was necessary because of the scope of the air show.

Obviously, two or three people can’t make that many cold calls. In a case like that, if you want to accomplish anything, it's better to have more people than less. If you haven't been there, you wouldn't know but there's a lot of ground to cover," he said.

He also said most deals come years down the road.

"Similar to any business, it takes time, effort and funds (trade shows) to develop the relationships necessary to lure business to Mississippi...Some investments take years to generate a return," he said.

Henley, who confirmed the actual size of the delegation making the trip, said those who attended are expected to turn in their notes on the trip Friday before a summary is released.

Late Thursday afternoon, he released his summary of the trip to the Clarion Ledger. In it, Henley provided a list of the companies he met with. They included:

Proponet, Coz Washington, Global Marketing Events Manager. Largest aftermarket distributor of parts for Aerospace. They plan to expand within next five years to the Southeast.

Honda, Simon Roads, vice president of Sales. Currently just broke ground on new distribution facility in North Carolina. However, may be looking for additional space in another part of the Southeast. Focus was primarily the sale of jets.

GKN Aerospace Engine Systems, Robert Grepperud, vice president Business Development, Norway. They are looking to expand over the next few years in the States. Major influence will be states with congressional connections. Explained the significance of Mississippi having senior congressmen in both political parties.

Oerlikon Surface Solutions, Bautmans, Technical Business Development Manager — Addictive Manufacturing — The Netherlands. Interested in the automotive industry in Mississippi.

Rampina Carlo S.p.a. Perugia, Italy — Interested in the defense industry and gaining more access to the U. S. markets.

Pryor Marking Technology, United Kingdom — Global Identification and Traceability products. Looking for future manufacturing site in U.S.

Consolidated Aerospace Manufacturing — Future manufacturing and testing facilities.

On top of the meetings, Henley said he also attended several educational seminars.

Exactly what role or responsibility the airport board has in attracting businesses to Mississippi is unclear. The state's economic development arm, the Mississippi Development Authority, usually is represented at the annual air show. Past delegations have included Gov. Phil Bryant and several others.

MDA Public Relations Manager Melissa Scallan said the trips have led to deals for the state since the air show provides a venue for major aerospace companies. Some of those companies, such as GE Aviation, Boeing, Airbus and Raytheon, have set up shop in Mississippi, she said.

MDA sent five representatives to Paris this year. The representatives were at the air show from June 13 and June 20, she said.

The commissioner said it's not unusual for airport board officials to attend the air show, which is focused primarily on the manufacturing side of the aerospace industry. Henley cited airport boards in Mobile, Alabama, and Volusia County, Florida, as having benefited from the air show.

But several area airport boards, such as those in Memphis, Shreveport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, said they did not send representatives to the air show, and said they would not unless they had a specific opportunity lined up. Article
Kingfish note: Cold call? Uh-huh.   One does not cold-call at the International Air Show. This is not like a trade show in Vegas where one gets a bag of goodies, gets drunk at night, and picks up business cards.  The show is the premier event for airlines and vendors.  It has almost nothing to do with airports.  The event is heavily attended by CEO's of the aviation industry.  
 
The Mississippi Development Authority had exhibit at the air show.  Several economic development teams from various parts of the state such as the Golden Triangle attend.  Apparently the JMAA Commissioners are economic development experts now.  No surprise as Mr. Henley pushed JMAA to quit the Chamber and Rankin First.  Economic development teams do not attend the air show unless they already have a serious prospect for a project.  It is not for cold-calling. 

However, it is almost unheard of for an entire board of directors of an airport authority to travel to the show.   The state has managed to land two projects due to attending the air show.  Mr. Vicery cited several smaller airports who didn't attend the show.  The New Orleans Airport Directors didn't attend the show as well. 

Not to mention good job in announcing to the competition who JMAA's prospects are.

Oh yes, the show was only six days yet the trip was for twelve days.  Interesting.  

51 comments:

Cynical Sam said...

"Some investments take years to generate a return."

Bwa, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...

Theca Jones of the Roguish Gent Podcast said...

I had a great time. Stop hating, Kingfish.

Cynical Sam said...

Six days for the show, and six days to recover from jet lag. Yea, sure.

Their "cold calls" consisted of entering a booth, grabbing a brochure or two, a business card or two, and sucking down some of the free beverages and snacks.

Off to the next booth.

Typical Jacktown hustlers.

Kingfish said...

It's not a fun trip for those who attend from MDA. Get up at 4:30 or so. Travel an hour on public transportation to the air show. Have to get there at least an hour before opening. Work all day. Then attend evening events. Ride back for an hour to hotel after 11. Repeat, rinse. Attendees have said the air show might as well be in Shabuta as they never get to enjoy Paris unless they stay over on their own dime.

Anonymous said...

Let's see the travel reimbursement vouchers! The extra days before and after the event should be cleared as personal expenses and not reimbursed. Success at events like this depend on pre-arranged meetings and discussions, not "cold calling." My guess is that they wandered around, collected a few names so they could say they made some business development leads and I'm sure that once those mush-mouths opened their yaps, the contacts they did make were looking for excuses to get away from the Jackson delegation.
I'd also presume that the junket members' business cards made their way into the nearest trash can once their "high-level" discussions concluded. Let's see the follow-up!

Congratulations Jackson, you absolutely have the government you deserve!

Anonymous said...

"M" "D'" "A" is "supposed to be working on behalf of everyone in the State based on prospective industry need(s). MDA sends a bunch of snot nosed "project managers" to this bull shit every year and hasn't located squat specifically as result of their attendance and participation at the gay Paris airshow. The Chokeme Evers Airport Board attendance at this junket is as bad as MDA paying $100,000.00 a year to Steve Azar as its "Cultural Ambassador" to do the "Mississippi Minute". I feel so much better as a Mississippian now. Maybe I should have taken up gum chewing and singing at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Let's see the travel reimbursement vouchers!

Yep....double ditto on this...........

Anonymous said...

It’s our time. We are in the big house now.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, for the sake of the airport, I think anything is worth trying. Even if it allows for some corruption or funds misspent, that is better than staying home and waiting for it to rain. If people do not agree with JMAA taking trips to entice vendors or contractors, then perhaps they should lobby to cut their funding or dissolve JMAA altogether. Otherwise, the money is there to be spent in their funding.

Anonymous said...

Why would they release the names and companies of people they met with. Now airports who didn’t attend can simply call those companies right? It seems like something you would keep close to the vest.

Anonymous said...

Had these been white people....this wouldn’t be an article.

This blog is underwritten by hateful people.

Be good when it’s run its course

Kingfish said...

Yeah, ok. Write about the wrongdoings of white folks all the time on here but ok, shamus.

If that's the best you can do, get lost.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish what about Mayor of Jackson going to Hawaii last week for conference? Who paid

Anonymous said...

9:51 - thanks for identifying yourself as the dumbest person to comment on this thread! So, a little theft or corruption is alright if it produces results, huh? Only if you don't pay taxes or give a shit how your money is spent...

The real question is, how much theft and corruption are you willing to tolerate, or is that dependent upon who commits the acts of theft and corruption??

Really, I want an answer - what percentage of the budget should taxpayers expect to lose through corrupt acts involving misspent funds? (I just need to know how much I can steal before it becomes an issue).

Anonymous said...

I guess SouthWest Airlines will be back here again in a week or two.

Anonymous said...

They walk among us..... (the 9:51's of this world)

Anonymous said...

Crap like this is why our outstanding former airport director is no longer there..

I'd LOVE to see how many receipts come from the Saint-Denis, Roissy, or Arounville areas. That show isn't in Paris proper...my guess is that it's all going to be coming from downtown Paris...

Anonymous said...

Well they could have spent the time figuring out why they still only have one runway. If something happens to the good one then their won’t be an airport

Anonymous said...

I wish they would have used the money spent on the Paris trip to get the bathrooms fixed at the airport. Had to go downstairs, outside & use the port-a-potty two weeks ago at the airport. Just a suggestion in case they run across any more extra money.

Anonymous said...

@9:53 AM - Let me help you with that. It's call TRANSPARENCY. Please try to keep up.

Besides travel vouchers, follow-up and obtain their cellphone records for the period covering their little junket. I am not talking about tens of dollars, but rather thousands of dollars.

For those less traveled, just having your phone on in a foreign country generates charges, because data is going to and from your phone.

Anonymous said...

How you "cold call" people who are presumably away from the office as well?

Anonymous said...

There really is no need for Mississippi to even have an airport. Just bulldoze it and spend the money on roads or education. No one is visiting here anyway and no one that lives here can afford to fly.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to dump the JMAA attendees' social media feeds and see where they actually were during the show.

Anonymous said...

What a total joke. The very idea of these dummies traveling all over the world on public money to just have a merry ole time. Joke!

Anonymous said...

"Similar to any business, it takes time, effort and funds to develop the relationships necessary to lure business to Mississippi."
I didn't know it was the job of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority to be an economic recruiter for the State of Mississippi. Their job is to run the Jackson Airport.

This is a trade show for parts supplier to market their products to airplane manufacturers and for airplane manufactures to market their planes to potential buyers. JMAA is in neither business. For the JMAA to create new business for the Jackson Airport, their focus needs to be on customers/flyers and the CEOs of major airlines who they could try to get to serve our airport. JMAA's customers were not at the air show. And if they wanted to talk to CEOs of airlines about serving our market, they could have done that with a few phone calls, a local meeting, and one or two people.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone will pass a law to fix this Airport Board mess. Seems like there are a bunch of idiots running the show at JMAA.



Anonymous said...

9:51 is right, if there is so much corruption, let the State AG or Auditor find it. With all of the petty allegations I've seen from that office, it would've been found by now. Fear of misuse should not be a prohibitor in funding JMAA. This conference was clearly within their chartered duties. Y'all are just jealous they got to go on a business trip to Paris (France, not Texas). Maybe work for it yourselves??

Anonymous said...

@12:29 I am digging into their social medias and have found this:

Lee A Bernard Jr.-Selling pyramid scheme "all natural" stuff like drinks and panty liners(read that correctly-he has a link on his page). He is also hocking pyramid scheme(excuse me-mass marketing) hemp/CBD oil.

The rest don't seem to have a page or is set to private.

Anonymous said...

If our image as a state wasn't bad enough, whomever they talked to (likely no one that mattered as to an aviation connection) now judge the state by these bozos.

Anonymous said...

These clowns' portraits are a hoot. You really can't make stuff like this up.

Anonymous said...

Dirk saw what was coming and knew it was time to go.

Anonymous said...

"This conference was clearly within their chartered duties."

I beg to differ. Ever been to a trade show? It's for vendors to market there wares to potential buyers. Just exactly what are the JMAA board's sourcing needs? None. And, the "leads" generated were along the lines of business development for the state of MS. Can I see that part of the charter, please?

The closest their strategic plan gets is: "Retain Current Businesses and Attract New Business Opportunities by Maintaining a Competitive
Cost Structure." A boondoggle to Europe hardly supports this.

Anonymous said...

Let’s see how Shad handles this one, will he have the nuts to take on JMAA?

Anonymous said...

Since I flew into the Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport last night (Sunday 6-30-2019 at about 8:00 pm) please allow me to suggest something they look into..... As we departed the parking garage, the line to exit/pay for parking was 30 cars long. Line 1 - Closed. Line 2 - Open. Lines 3 & 4 said they were open but were broken. The issue? Their credit card machine was not functioning, so you could not use Line 3 or 4, which are credit card only. The poor attendant in Line 2 was manually writing down credit card information for later processing. This was quite a first impression for travelers. What they should have done. #1, turn off the lights to lines 3 and 4 saying they are open. #2, either just open the gate and let people out or get someone to open Line 1 or get additional people to write down info in line (like chic-fil-A). This is not that complicated.

Anonymous said...

When enjoying French cuisine, did they ask for a bottle of Ketchup and the salt shaker?

Albert Schweitzer said...


Wife and I would like to go to Paris. even better if everyone else paid for it. We could make some cold calls, or maybe just try to. We could surely enjoy a lot of gratis hospitality and a few gratis Parisian meals.

The Medgar Wiley Evers airport should change its name to "titanic airport", in it's trip toward the iceberg. Jackson, the city, is rapidly sliding down to Jackson, the place of crime and high taxes, where it is not necessary to even pay your water bill if you have connections. The city council and mayor don't seem to have the stones to resist this kind of theft, or graft, or whatever it is. Honest, it is not.

It is a disgrace in so many ways. And this kind of crap reminds of "the Kingfish, Algonquin J. Calhoun, esq." of "Amos and Andy".

Think that is a different kingfish that the owner of this blog though.

Rod Knox said...

Is the management really so stupid that they kept people waiting in a single line instead of opening the gates? The toll booth cashier should have opened the gates. How long will that go on?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully these junketeers didn't order a "quarter-pounder with cheese," but rather asked for a "Royale with cheese."

Anonymous said...

Every single one of these people are absolute idiots with no clue on what they were there for. Actually they had no goal or purpose at all it seems. The airports regionally said they sent no one to the air show. Someone tell me who approved this or who suggested this trip?

Anonymous said...

I’m sure it’s written in a state charter or something but I have to ask... Why couldn’t another, competing, nice and well run airport open in Rankin or Madison county?

Anonymous said...

Madison has a very well run airport, but it's for Madison Co. residents, no carpet-baggers from Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

2:37, just what I'd expect from an airport that makes departing passengers use port-a-potties - what a shithole.

Anonymous said...

July 1, 2019 at 9:33 AM is right. Who paid for the extra days before and after the air show? This business about "cold calling" kind of reminds me of when one is collecting unemployment benefits. As I understand it, one must be actively looking for a job while collecting benefits. I once took a call from someone who, I assume, was on unemployment and "actively" seeking employment. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hello. Name of company.
Caller: Yes, I am looking for a job opportunity.

I kid you not. This fellow was seeking a job "opportunity," not an actual job.
I suppose this is what the "cold calling" by the JMAA folks looked like while in Paris.

I am so fed up I can't stand it.

Anonymous said...

Will we ever find out the identity of the 10 from Jxn airport who went to Paris?

Anonymous said...

@11:51 PM - you will have to wait for the movie to be released (Bonzos go to Paris).

Anonymous said...

Please use a FOIA (Freedom of Information) request to gather the travel policy and the audit on the trip expenses for the JMAA Board. The trip is an awful waste (a junket) but it may reach the level of illegal behavior as well.

I have worked for non-profits. I have been employed in private industry and worked for the federal government and as a government contractor. In each venue, we had a travel policy that was remarkably similar: The entity supports the travel (and meals) for direct work-related activities. Any costs which preceeds or follows the business trip must be born by the individual.

As such, the audit of travel costs should show that the days before and/or days after the trip were paid from personal funds.

Anonymous said...

this free trip to paris , all on the taxpayers dime, is what being politically connected is all about. sucking up to politicians will get one put on such boards , administrative agencies and whatnot. for those not paying attention, between city, county and state government there are hundreds of these little politically appointed boards and commissions in this state. many which you have never heard of and never will, even though they have people sucking up taxpayer money. perfect example here.

Anonymous said...

Did any spouses or their significant others tag along on the trip ?
If so, you'd assume they probably bought the air fare(?)
but got to stay in the hotel for free.
Not a bad deal !

Inquiring minds want to know !

Anonymous said...

When all the travel costs for this breath-taking odyssey have been made public, we can all join hands for a collective:

Ooh La La

Anonymous said...

The thieves on that board will never yield to an honorable director.

Anonymous said...

@7:43
Actually a NE Jackson family has there own plane at the Madison airport and my family uses the flights to the gulf often when going to beach house. So yes plenty of Jackson residents use that airport.

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