HCPHC CEO Blaine LaFontaine Named a 2024 Top CEO by Mississippi Business Journal

KILN, MISS: Blaine LaFontaine, Executive Director of Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, has been honored as a 2024 Top CEO by the Mississippi Business Journal. This recognition highlights his outstanding leadership and contributions to Hancock County's growth and development.

“I am honored to be recognized among this group of professionals statewide. I have had the privilege to work with so many talented people all focused on making Mississippi better every day. Furthermore, this recognition is a testament to the outstanding team dedicated to our mission at Hancock Port and Harbor.”, remarked Blaine LaFontaine, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission Executive Director.

LaFontaine's journey at Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission began in March 2021 when he joined as the Chief Operations Officer/Port Director. His performance and leadership skills led to his appointment as the Executive Director in January 2023. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the organization's operations, procedures, and development at Port Bienville Industrial Park and Stennis International Airport.

During his time at Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, LaFontaine has led numerous successful efforts, securing over $40 million in federal and state grants for capital projects over the last two years. He has improved infrastructure and services for existing tenants, attracted new industries and jobs, expanded the organization's mission to include commercial and retail efforts, and negotiated long-term contracts while enhancing partnerships and focusing on workforce development.

Before joining Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, LaFontaine worked previously in economic development as Pearl River County's Chief Economic Developer for one year. Before his career in economic development, LaFontaine served a 4-year term as Board President on the Hancock County Board of Supervisors and a 4-year term as a Councilman for the City of Diamondhead. LaFontaine received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology and a Master of Science in Economic Development from The University of Southern Mississippi. He has also obtained multiple Port Executive Certifications and an Executive Leadership Certification.

In 2016, LaFontaine was recognized by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce as a winner of the prestigious Top 10 Under 40 award. In 2019, the Mississippi Business Journal also recognized LaFontaine as a winner of the prestigious Top 50 Under 40 award.

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About Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission
As the county economic development authority, the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission is committed to fostering business investment and job creation. Their focus lies in attracting manufacturing, defense, aviation, and aerospace-related projects to the county. The organization manages the Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park, while also providing support to the Stennis Space Center, NASA’s leading facility for rocket engine testing.