CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Delta leaders will gather Friday in Cleveland, Miss., for the 68th annual meeting of Delta Council. This year’s meeting of the Stoneville, Miss.-based organization will feature a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow.

"There is no area of the country that is more dramatically affected by the national economic issues of a strong dollar, foreign exchange rates, the sanctity of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, and domestic programs aimed at strengthening the U.S. economy than the Mississippi Delta," says Bryan Jones, president of Delta Council.

Friday’s meeting, Jones says, is a special opportunity to listen to one of the chief policy makers for monetary and economic policy in the United States.

"Secretary Snow is engaged in policy decisions relating to the impacts of the cost of peace and freedom in Iraq, and his reach extends into the financial outlook of virtually every federal and state program from health care to housing costs," Jones says. "There is no issue confronting the economy of this country which escapes the agenda of the Secretary of Treasury."

Snow’s previous public service includes having served at the Department of Transportation as Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Deputy Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary of the Governmental Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Plans and International Affairs. He also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Corporation after 20 years with that transportation company.

In addition, Snow’s knowledge of international industry stems from his tenure as Chairman of the Business Roundtable, the foremost business policy group comprised of 250 chief executive officers of the nation’s largest companies. During his tenure as Chairman from 1994 through 1996, he played a major role in supporting passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Snow is former co-chairman of the influential Conference Board’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. He also served as co-chairman of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement in 1992 that made recommendations following the savings and loan crisis.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Snow is a graduate of the University of Toledo, the University of Virginia, and George Washington University. He currently lives in Richmond, Va.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com