424 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI invested heavily in vocational education and the community gave birth to the CREATE (Christian, Research, Education, Action, Technical, Enterprise) non-profit organization which had the mission of continuing to develop the region’s human capital. McLean, as usual, was the largest contributor eventually willing The Tupelo Journal, which he had renamed the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, to CREATE. In 1974, Corner leaders returned to lobbying for highway connections for the region, and Tupelo secured a branch campus of the University of Mississippi. McLean spearheaded a campaign to place reading aids in the first three grades of the schools and both the Ford Foundation and Harvard University recognized Tupelo’s schools as being among the top ten in the nation. In 1990, Tupelo voters passed the largest school bond issue in state history by 88 percent. The community concentrated on education because leaders realized the significance of growing the service economy for the next century. While the region had attracted 200 furniture manufacturing companies, it had also used the CDF to support existing industries that were being buffeted by international competition. The CDF also built North Mississippi Medical Center into the town’s biggest employer, encouraging it to expand into eleven counties. Parallel to the development of the region’s human capital, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the largest public works project in the nation’s history to connect the Tennessee and COOK COGGIN ENGINEERS, INC. From its humble beginning as a one man shop to diversified offices and a portfolio spanning from preliminary planning and funding assistance to multimillion dollar projects, Cook Coggin Engineers, Inc. (CCE) has grown to be one of the most well respected civil engineering firms in Mississippi and southwest Tennessee. The legacy of CCE began in 1946 when Leland B. Cook entered a private practice on Spring Street in Tupelo. In 1960, Cook Coggin Kelly & Cook was formed and later became the corporation today known as Cook Coggin Engineers, Inc. Now in its seventy-first year of operation, Cook Coggin has offices in seven locations, with its corporate office in Tupelo and regional offices in Corinth, Booneville, Fulton, New Albany, Ripley, and Selmer, Tennessee. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COOK COGGIN ENGINEERS, INC.