Hancock County has a new man in charge of luring business and industry. Jack Zink, a retired Navy Seabee and civil engineer, was selected to head-up Hancock County's Port and Harbor Commission out of a field of many candidates.
He's stepping into the job at a time when Hancock County continues to struggle with recovery.
Zink is no stranger to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He's called Gulfport home for more than 14 years. Now he's preparing to shape the economic future of his new home in Hancock County.
"I'll be straight forward, I want Hancock County to be the jewel of the Coast. I think it can be, we've got some very unique assets," Zink said.
Those assets include a vast railroad system and a shipping channel at the Port Bienville Industrial Park, along with the 14 tenants there and the airport. One of the biggest parts of the job is attracting new business in the post-Katrina world.
"You have to look at it in a positive way. This county has come a long way since Katrina. In a lot of ways, a lot further than people would have expected, which is absolutely a credit to the people here in Hancock County."
Zink knows getting the word out that the county is on the mend won't be easy.
"It's my job and the job of the organization to go out and find those folks and tell our story in the kind of light that says, 'Hey! This is the place you need to look at very seriously. This was ground zero and the recovery has just been unbelievable.' As long as we can demonstrate that, we have a plan and we're moving forward."
Zink says selling Hancock County to prospective industrial leaders won't be as tough as you might think. He says the fundamental things that companies look for, like a good quality of life, are still in place.