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Butler Snow’s Hairston takes the philosophical approach

Butler Snow’s Hairston takes the philosophical approach


Posted by: Nash Nunnery in  Law & AccountingMBJ FEATURENEWS November 21, 2018


Mississippi Business Journal


Tray Hairston isn’t your stereotypical attorney.


The Jackson native is a student of continental philosophy and existentialism. From Socrates to Sartre, Hairston once took every course offered in the discipline at Tougaloo College and followed up with philosophy course work at Emory University, Brown, NYU and Millsaps College.


An attorney with the Butler Snow law firm, Hairston concurs with Socrates, who wrote that the unexamined life is not worth living.


“I think my study of philosophy has helped me to think critically about certain issues in a broad cross-section of disciplines,” he said.  “It’s helped me to become a better lawyer.”


A graduate of the Mississippi College School of Law, Hairston recently earned inclusion into The Bond Buyer’s 2018 Rising Stars. He also was named to the Mississippi Main Street board of directors.


But Hairston, a member of Butler Snow’s public finance, tax incentives and credit markets groups, is most passionate about economic development. Prior to joining Butler Snow, the attorney served as counsel and economic policy advisor to Gov. Phil Bryant. Hairston also has worked in the global business division for the Mississippi Development Authority.


“Working as a project manager for MDA, I helped companies and site location consultants find the most appropriate site in Mississippi and obtain incentives,” he said. “I marveled at the work of the lawyers crafting the deal which most always involved bonds. As a result, I yearned to be on the legal side of the transaction.”


A big influence on the young lawyer was the late Frank Stimley, Mississippi’s first African-American bond attorney. Stimley died in 2004, around the time Hairston began his MDA career. Though he never met him personally, Hairston knew the trajectory of his career was changing due to Stimley’s inspiration.


“(Stimley) is still lauded as one of the best bond lawyers Mississippi has ever seen,” Hairston said. “I’ve always wanted a practice that looks like his and be a trailblazer in the industry like Mr. Stimley.”


Hairston’s interest in economic development was sparked even further while working in the governor’s office. He helped draft the historic Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Act of 2012 and worked on policy surrounding the implementation of affordable housing tax credits for workforce housing in healthcare zones.


As a professional in both the legal and economic development arenas, Hairston sees challenges ahead for Mississippi to stay competitive. He says predicting the future has its own challenges.


“We have to be on top of changes that are occurring throughout many of the employment sectors in the country,” Hairston said.  “Altering the way laborers work, innovations in technology, automation of manufacturing and artificial intelligence will change the type of jobs economic developers recruit.


“(Mississippi’s) success will hinge on how innovative we are at figuring out how to adapt to change.”


He also believes equity and inclusion (economic and wealth disparities) will continue to be a challenge.


“It’s not about just race, black-and-white. The challenge is also about rich and poor,” said the married father of three. “How do we build up our poorest? It soon won’t be good enough to say that we brought in billions of dollars of investment without also asking the question, ‘Who are getting the jobs?’”


Honored by his selection to the Mississippi Main Street board, Hairston suggests that site selectors looking at communities for ‘big box’ projects see ‘quality of place’ as a huge component in their decision making.


“Quality of place comprises of low crime rates, good schools, affordable housing, access to quality health care, attractive and active downtowns, among other things,” he said. “Mississippi Main Street picks up some of the slack with respect to aiding in support of the place-making components.


“I’m looking forward to helping to raise the visibility of the organization and bolster its resources through fundraising.”


Hairston grew up in Jackson but attended Madison County schools because his mother DeEtta taught at Madison Central High School. He characterizes his middle school years as “defiant, a short attention span and a lack of concern for good grades.”


Teacher/mother DeEtta Hairston set young Tray straight. Her strong influence led to Hairston earning the school’s citizenship award three of his four high school years.


“My mother let me know very early in my freshman year at Madison Central that she was the boss,” he said.


Spoken like a true philosopher.

Main Street Greenwood Director elected to represent Main Street Directors on State Board

JACKSON, Miss. -- Brantley Snipes, the executive director of Main Street Greenwood, Inc. in Greenwood, Miss., has been elected to the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) Board of Directors. 
Snipes has been elected by her Main Street director peers for a two-year term, beginning in January 2019, and will serve through 2020. 
“I’m excited to be a part of the overall structure of our state organization, to help organize, continue to strengthen and plan for the future," Snipes said. "The future of Main Streets across the country is changing, and I believe Mississippi can help lead the charge to truly bring economic change."  
"We have so many amazing local programs and I want to make sure we are doing all we can at the state level to encourage, support and promote them,” she added.
A native of Greenwood, Snipes has served for five years as the Executive Director of Main Street Greenwood, Inc., a non-profit, historic preservation organization that works to promote and preserve Greenwood’s downtown landscape. 
Snipes has received multiple Mississippi Main Street Awards, completed dozens of façade rehabilitations, collected over $50,000 in grant funding, and overseen the completion of a multitude of projects to aid in downtown Greenwood’s rehabilitation. 
Snipes developed the first Revolving Real Estate Program in the state of Mississippi and developed a charrette to engage communities in economic development for downtown. 
Snipes is also a licensed Landscape Architect and the owner of Brantley Snipes Landscape + Design, a design firm that specializes in residential, garden and floral design. Her work carries her throughout the state sharing her love of design. 
Snipes has a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Auburn University and Master of Landscape Architecture & Master of Horticultural Science degrees from North Carolina State University. 
MMSA provides two positions on the statewide board for Directors' Representatives. Each representative serves a two-year term and represents the 53 Main Street programs in Mississippi on the state level. 
Snipes will join Tara Lytal of Main Street Clinton who is serving as the 2018-2019 Directors' Representative on the board. Russell Baty of the Main Street Chamber of Leake County will complete his two-year term as a Directors' Representative on the state board in December.
The MMSA board is made up of a statewide group of business, government and community leaders. The 2018 MMSA Board of Directors are as follows:
Board President Ed Gardner, Entergy; President-elect Kevin Stafford, Neel-Schaffer; Past President Allison Beasley, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District; Treasurer Steven B. Dick, Mississippi Power; Keith A. Williams, Hancock Bank; Tray Hairston, Butler Snow; Steve Kelly, Board Member Emeritus; Ken P'Pool, Board Member Emeritus; Mayor Carolyn McAdams, City of Greenwood; Kagan Coughlin, Base Camp Coding Academy; Chris Chain, Renovations of Mississippi, Inc.; Russell Baty, Main Street Chamber of Leake County; Tara Lytal, Main Street Clinton; Michelle Jones, Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Angi Bourgeois, College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University; Leah Kemp, The Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University; and Chance McDavid of the Mississippi Development Authority.

#ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday – November 24th

#ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday – November 24th


Adapted from 

By Carrie Cullum


On November 24th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.


For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences can be found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.


Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  


Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 24th businesses all over Mississippi will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.


Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Mississippi’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmall.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     


Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.


Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 252,019 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created over 5,000 new jobs in 2014 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.


Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.


Mississippi Main Street Communities have worked to bring together incredible groups of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 24th event!


So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible and unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are trying to make a difference for our city!


Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving. In 2017, an estimated 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday — generating roughly $12 billion in reported spending. Join the movement and shop local on November 24th this year! 


#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopMississippi







Snipes, Miller selected to speak at 2019 National Main Street Conference in Seattle, Washington

Snipes, Miller selected to speak at 2019 National Main Street Conference in Seattle, Washington
JACKSON, Miss. – Brantley Snipes of Main Street Greenwood and Jan Miller of the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) have been selected to present at the 2019 Main Street Now Conference in Seattle, Washington on March 25-27, 2019.

Snipes and Miller submitted a session proposal in a competitive selection process, and their session, “Aligning Your Plan of Work with Your Community’s Vision for Downtown,” was selected to be part of the conference programming. 
The session is based on a community visioning process that Snipes and Miller led in Greenwood in 2017 called "How Downtown." The successful community engagement program won a Main Street state award in the category of Organization for Outstanding Community Education Campaign this year. 
The purpose of the "How Downtown" program was to re-organize Main Street Greenwood's plan of work and ensure the organization was aligning projects with the visions of the community.

 The "How Downtown" Visioning Process consisted of a brief survey sent to community members allowing them to express their concerns or issues with downtown. The results were tallied and organized into talking points on how Main Street Greenwood could achieve change in downtown and then discussed during the "How Downtown" community meeting. More than 50 community members attended the public meeting and provided real, tangible ideas, goals and objectives for Main Street Greenwood to pursue over the course of the next five years.

Snipes and Miller will be sharing about this process at the National Conference where more than 1,600 downtown revitalization professionals are expected to attend from across the nation.
“It is quite an honor to be selected, and we are excited to share our ideas from Mississippi with attendees from all over and be able to learn from them as well," said Brantley Snipes, Director of Main Street Greenwood.

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