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C-L Chamber Announces New Members

C-L Chamber Announces New Members

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch – PRESS RELEASE (Exerpts)

From left, Matt Bogue, Greg Stewart and Jill Savely (courtesy photo)

Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 board election. The new members are: New CLCC Board members elected are Matt Bogue, The Dutch Oil Group; Greg Stewart, Aurora Flight Sciences; and Jill Savely, EMCC Golden Triangle Early College High School. Bogue, Stewart, and Savely will serve a three year term from October 2017- September 2020 and were elected by majority vote by the Chamber membership.

The CLCC Board Chair for 2017-2018 is Melinda Lowe, Director for the Office of Outreach and Innovation at the Mississippi University for Women.

“The Chamber would not be where we are today without their leadership, and I am grateful. I look forward to working with such a great group of inspiring leaders and a great representation of our membership,” said Lisa James, CLCC President. “Together with the staff, this group will help build a successful future for the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.”

Board members serve staggered terms and are elected by the Chamber membership from a slate of 6 approved by the Executive Committee of the Golden Triangle Development LINK.

To see the full press release, please click here.

 

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Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Courtesy of The Dispatch – West Point, MS

 

West Point florist Scott Reed, owner of Petal Pushers recently received official word from The White House last week that he was accepted into the 2017 holiday volunteer program.

West Point florist Scott Reed has been selected to decorate the White House for Christmas. He owns Petal Pushers floral shop. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

“I’ve always worked with design,” Reed said. “And I just remember hearing about this program years ago and thinking ‘how neat would it be to be a part of something like this?'”

He will serve as part of a volunteer team that will go up to the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue for a four-day decorating spree, along with others who have successfully petitioned to do so. “It was really exciting to see something that I’ve wanted to do for so long come to be,” Reed said. “But I was automatically a little bit nervous because, well, I’m decorating the White House.” He has applied for the program multiple times since 2000, and was elated that he has finally be selected to help.

Reed went to MSU, where he earned a degree in ornamental horticulture. This eventually led to his opening Petal Pushers, a shop that specializes in making floral arrangements, as well as selling gifts, collectibles, and antiques to go along with them. His shop is located at 651 Commerce St.

“I’m just so honored to be chosen to do this, especially after trying unsuccessfully a few times,” Reed said. “I know my staff is just as excited as I am too.”

Please click here to see the full article.

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Solar Companies’ Future Looking Bright in the Golden Triangle

Courtesy of The Dispatch (GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION)

 

From left, Macaulay Whitaker, Orlando Trainer and Harry Sanders (Courtesy of the Dispatch)

The Boards of Supervisors in both Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties are looking to attract the attention of E.ON Climate and Renewables North America Inc, in an effort to provide it with desirable tax incentives as they consider opening up a new location in southern Lowndes, southern Oktibbeha, or possibly both. The Boards approved a matching set of resolutions of intent for E.ON, according to Golden Triangle Development LINK Chief Operating Officer Macaulay Whitaker; the bulk of the property he described is in Lowndes County. The Lowndes Board also passed a separate resolution targeting NextEra Energy, Inc., which is looking at land in south Lowndes County.

 

Whitaker went on to say that both companies are looking for upwards of a thousand acres of land apiece: “Both are in the same state,” Whitaker said. “They’re gathering as much info as they can to make proposals to (the Tennessee Valley Authority). . . This doesn’t mean this is all that’s looking at the area,” she added. “These are just the ones who have contacted us for assistance to determine what their options might be.”

 

Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said that he hopes these resolutions will show E.ON that area leaders are serious about bringing their business to our area:

“We’re hoping that by doing this we can help this project become a reality,” Trainer said.

Silicon Ranch and Synergetics, both solar companies, have local operations in the area that are doing well.

Please click here to view the full article.

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EMCC Holds Their First Industry Day Job Fair

EMCC Holds Their First Industry Day Job Fair

MAYHEW, Miss. (WCBI) –

Students at EMCC have held a reverse job fair of sorts, and they’re calling it “Industry Day.” Unlike a normal such event, here, the students are showing off practical examples of what they can do, and have invited representatives of local industrial concerns to see who and what they will have available to work with in the near future. Students in Electrical and Automation Technologies got together with school faculty and staff to set it up.

“We had the idea for the industries to come in and see what the students were doing here in the program, and we came up with the industry day. Our students do projects for them and let them see some of their skills and their abilities, because in the future those same industries that come here are going to be the ones that hire them,” said Electrical Technologies Instructor, Bobby Johnson.

“We get a lot of young folks who don’t know how to network, don’t know how to approach someone who could be a possible boss someday. And so we hope to have our students have some experience networking and hopefully make some connections that will end up as jobs,” said Automation Controls Instructor, Joanna Alford.

Industry Day at EMCC 2017 – Courtesy of WCBI

“I think we live in a day and age where we’ve all got a brand, and those students have to build their brand and have to identify their brand. I think so many kids may go to school and hope they have something or hope they get picked. I think these events put them in a position of being educated where they know they’re going to get picked,” said Golden Triangle Link CEO, Joe Max Higgins.

Please click here for the full article.

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New Industry May Be Coming to Clay County, Bringing 300 Jobs

New Industry May Be Coming to Clay County, Bringing 300 Jobs

WEST POINT, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI)

WCBI reports that a potential industrial development project deal that is currently being negotiated might provide a significant economic boost to Clay County.

West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson (courtesy of WCBI)

West Point selectmen and Clay County supervisors met Tuesday morning to hash out the details of a deal that has the potential to bring 300 or so jobs to the Golden Triangle area. The proposed deal is being referred to as “Project Polar” (the name of the potential employer is being kept under wraps until everything is 100% finalized). The proposed site for this $50 million project is the former Americold Logistics building, which would be purchased and upgraded by the incoming business.

Wesley Taylor, long-time West Point resident, commented that he was pleased to hear about this potential economic opportunity for his hometown. “I was very excited and happy for the community because in today’s economy everybody needs to be working if they can,” Taylor expressed.

West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson stated that “We feel we’ve done our part. We’ve offered industrial ad valorem tax exemptions for this new industry that we’re pleased with, and think we’ll be able to bring them here to West Point and Clay County.”

The city and county are working with the GTR LINK to bring in the project. CEO Joe Max Higgins said the actions the city and county made on Tuesday were vital at this stage. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with community leaders in West Point and Clay County to make our region a better place to work and live,” he said.

 

Please click here for the full article and a video.

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Selling a Ton of the Best Fried Chicken Around…Every Day!

Selling a Ton of the Best Fried Chicken Around…Every Day!

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Fried chicken is just one of those foods that is synonymous with the South – and people flock from literally hundreds of miles around to get their fried chicken at Columbus’ own Food Goant supermarket, which has been supplying the all of their customers with tender, juicy birds for a decade or so.

Head fry cook Bobby Hill and Matt Critcher, one of Hill’s five fry cooks, batter chicken at Food Giant in Columbus Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Bobbie Reese, the store’s deli manager, says that ” . . . [We] sell about 3,800 pieces a day; more on weekends,” she said. “It’s hard to say. I do know we order 275 cases of chicken each week and by the time Monday rolls around, we’ll have two, maybe three cases left before the next order comes in.” That works out to over six tons of of chicken sold every every week, year-round – nor far short of a ton a day. On average, their deli has 1,400 customers per week, according to store manager Ty Dankins, who has been there from the beginning.

“Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Macon, West Point,” Reese said. “There is a church in Birmingham that comes in once a month to pick up an 800-piece order. They say they can’t find chicken that tastes like ours anywhere else.” To what does she credit such amazing customer loyalty? “It’s the batter,” Reese said. “That’s all I’m going to say. It’s a secret.”

The store uses four commercial-grade frying machines, each capable of cooking 112 pieces of chicken per hour from 7 AM to 6:30 PM daily. Each one is drained of oil, cleaned, and refilled twice a day with peanut oil to guarantee a fresh, clean taste, and an end product that is much less greasy than many place’s fare.

“There’s little bit of a lull until around 4,” Bobby Hill, the store’s head fry cook and manager of all things chicken-related, said. “Then people start coming in to pick up supper . . . I’ve been frying chicken since Day 1,” he went on to say. “When I came in for the job interview, they told me, ‘We sell a lot of chicken. Don’t let the chicken whoop you.’ I said, ‘No, I’m going to whoop that chicken.’ That first day, I couldn’t believe it. I came here from Flint, Michigan. People like fried chicken there, and I guess people everywhere like fried chicken. But it’s not like what it is here. It’s amazing.”

The store is well-equipped to handle unusually large orders, though they suggest that you call well in advance for the really big ones: “If you’re going to make a big order like 800 pieces, you better do it about a week ahead of time because the order book fills up pretty quick,” Hill said.  “If somebody walks in and orders 100 pieces, we tell them, ‘Sure, we can do that, but you might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes,'” Hill said. “I bet if you walk into one of those fried chicken order places and tried to order 100 pieces, they’d tell you you’re crazy.”

The display case is piled high with freshly fried chicken by 8 am each morning at Food Giant in Columbus – Photo by Deanna Robinson – Dispatch Staff

“Sunday is our biggest day,” Reese said. “We’ll have people lined up all the way to the back of the store. People don’t mind waiting.”

Food Giant, an employee-owned company, operates more than 100 stores across the Southern U.S., under names including Food Giant, Piggly Wiggly, Cost Plus, Pick ‘n Save, Market Place, Sureway and Mad Butcher. Their workers and managers are all allowed the opportunity to purchase stock in their own store, which tends to lead to a sense of pride in their store, and a personal investment in its success. This means that more of the money made literally stays right here in Columbus, in the hands of the people who work hardest to keep it running smoothly – and THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here to view the full article.

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Greater Starkville Development Partnership – October 4th 2017

Announcement from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership

Join us Wednesday, October 4th at 7:30 a.m. for the GSDP Power Breakfast at The Mill Conference Center. We are proud to host a Candidate Forum for the Mississippi House of Representatives, District 38, and we hope that you will join us for this opportunity to hear from the candidates.

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Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

MUW played host to a small business seminar Tuesday night, that was put on by BancorpSouth and the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. The hall was packed with people young and old who wished to learn more about how to go about starting up their own small businesses.

“The majority (who attended) were people who were just thinking about (starting a business) or have ideas to do it and needed to know where to start,” said Emily McConnell, director of programs and events at the CoC. “The seminar was great for that, just in encouraging them to do it, to get out there and try.”

Mary Jennifer Russell (courtesy photo)

One of the featured speakers was Mary Jennifer Russell of New Albany. In 1997, she had been moving from job to job while dabbling in baking on the side, as a way to bring in supplemental income. She gradually grew her business, and, a year after beginning, she had (what was then) her first major sale — ten cakes, sold to a yogurt shop. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and now Russell’s Sugarees Bakery puts out a thousand cakes a week, while employing 37 people. Her story has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Oprah’s Magazine, and Russel earned her place as this year’s Mississippi Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year.

She had this advice to give to people just starting out: “What do you want to see?” she said. “What do you want to smell? Really, really envision it with lots of detail.” She also emphasized the need to keep good books, constantly improving the business even after it’s up and running and – in particular – making sure to take good care of good employees.

Russell went on to offer this piece of advice: “It’s easy enough if you start with low-risk,” she said. “…It can be done. It should be done.” She recommends keeping your old job for as many years as it takes to get the new venture to a profitable stage; it took her four years to do so, herself, resulting in her opening her own dedicated shop after proving that her business concept was viable simply by doing exactly what she set out to do.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – The more of them we have, the more people who are willing to take on that risk – The more success stories we’ll hear, given time, investment, and a lot of hard work. And that’s Good for Business!

You can read the full article by clicking here.

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EMCC Wins Top Honors in Online Associate’s Degree Ranking

EMCC Wins Top Honors in Online Associate’s Degree Ranking

SCOOBA, Miss. (FROM PRESS RELEASE) –

East Mississippi Community College recently earned the number one spot in Nonprofit Colleges Online’s “The 50 Best College’s for Online Associate’s Degrees.”

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner stated that “The world of higher education is changing as more colleges and universities work to supplement brick-and-mortar classrooms with online offerings that provide students more options and flexible scheduling,” Huebner said. “We have worked hard at EMCC to ensure that we are on the forefront of that growing trend. Just this semester, we began offering an E-Commerce Technology program in which all classes are available online and a cyber security program that gives students the option of taking all of their sophomore classes online.”

NCO had this to say about EMCC: “Offering university-parallel programs, career-technical programs, and workforce programs, EMCC is dedicated to improving the quality of life for its students, communities, and personnel through instructional opportunities, with specific focus on a healthy mind, body and spirit.

“EMCC provides online learning opportunities for individuals who are unable, for a variety of reasons to attend classes on one of the college’s campuses. To ensure all students are receiving an excellent education, the online classes meet all the quality standards proposed for the college’s traditional, on-campus programs.”

The school also garnered high honors last year in lists published by three other national organizations. It’s great to see that EMCC continues to prove that it’s among the best of the bunch, and THAT’S Good For Business!

“These rankings validates our efforts to ensure that students at EMCC not only have access to an exceptional education but one that makes sound economic sense,” Huebner said.

Please click here for the full article.

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EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

MAYHEW – Courtesy eastms.edu

Dr. Raj Shaunak first began teaching at EMCC in 1991, where he gives mathematics instruction to adult basic education students. Prior to that, the Kenyan-born entrepreneur became a Starkville transplant in 1972, built a business with his brother during the 1980’s, and retired as a millionaire at age 42, in 1989.

Fast forward to the modern day, and Shaunak, who is EMCC’s vice president for Workforce and Community Services, has now become the recent recipient of both the 2017 Excellence in Local and District Government Award and one of two recipients of governor’s 2017 Excellence in Government Awards, which recognizes and encourages innovation in public administration.

The Mississippi Personnel Board lauded Shaunak: “He played a crucial role in the recruitment of companies including Airbus, PACCAR, and Yokohama Tire Company to Mississippi’s Golden Triangle,” the press release states. “He has partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority to lead workforce development efforts for these companies locating to Mississippi. Dr. Shaunak is also a leader in innovative educational programming; he spearheaded the efforts to create EMCC’s Communiversity, a state-of-the-art career-technical facility with a hands-on museum.  Finally, he has partnered, authored, secured, and implemented many successful grants to benefit Mississippians.”

When Shaunak first joined EMCC as a volunteer teacher, “Nobody knew anything about workforce development at the time,” Shaunak said. “It was a new thing starting at some of the community colleges. We had three or four people in what was called the Skill Tech Center.” He went on to emphasize the need for a close relationship between high-tech manufacturers and the schools capable of giving them highly-educated canididates: “We listen to what our industry wants,” Shaunak said. “EMCC is absolutely the trend setter in providing training for these high-tech manufacturing jobs. Our students are trained on cutting edge machinery and equipment by instructors who are not only passionate about their work but who have worked in business and industry and understand the language. We have earned a reputation as a top-notch, quality institution.”

 

Please click here for the full article.

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