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Lowndes Young Leaders Gain Insight from Local Industry Visits


Katie Fenstermacher Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce (662) 328-4491

LYL students visit Airbus Helicopters, Inc on September 12, 2023.

Columbus, Miss – On Tuesday, September 12th, Lowndes Young Leaders shared the invaluable experience of visiting several local industries. The goal of the program is to empower young leaders and inspire career aspirations by bridging the gap between classroom education and real-world applications. By visiting industries like Airbus, Steel Dynamics and PACCAR, students were given a behind-the-scenes look at various career paths and allowed to interact with professionals.

Students began the day with a tour of PACCAR Engine Company which is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture, and customer support of premium light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services, information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business. (Home |PACCAR)

Next, students visited Steel Dynamics Inc. which is one of the largest and most diversified domestic steel producers and metals recyclers in the United States. The Columbus Flat Roll Division was acquired in 2014. (Steel Dynamics | Steel Dynamics).

After lunch, students visited Airbus Helicopters, Inc. which operates a modern production center of excellence in Columbus that opened in 2004 and produces the H125 commercial helicopter and the U.S. Army's UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter. (Airbus in the U.S.)

Students ended the day at The Golden Triangle Development Link which is the nationally recognized economic development organization representing Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties and Northeast Mississippi. (Economic Development for Mississippi's Golden Triangle ( During the visit, students heard from Chief Executive Officer, Joe Max Higgins, Jr., on the economic development success of the Golden Triangle over the last 20 years.

Cathryn Borer, Director of the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, expressed pride in the students, stating, "Our Lowndes Young Leaders have shown incredible enthusiasm and growth during their industry visits. These experiences have opened their eyes to the incredible career opportunities right here in Columbus and the Golden Triangle."

For more information about the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its programs, please visit or contact Katie Fenstermacher at or (662) 328-4491.

About Lowndes Young Leaders:

Lowndes Young Leaders is a ten-month leadership program for high school sophomores who live and attend school in Columbus-Lowndes County. The program is sponsored by the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, The MUW, Chick-fila, International Paper and BankFirst. In operation since 1999, program sessions allow students to explore varying aspects of business and economic development, education, health care, quality of life, and government. 

Activities are designed to develop skills in teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, communication, organization and planning, ethics, networking, personal development, and leadership. Participants gain an increased awareness of how leadership affects all aspects of life.