Category Archives: GTR LINK

Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Toyota and Mazda announced just a few weeks ago that they are  looking and a number of sites nationwide to build a joint auto production plant. Our own Joe Max Higgins says that the recently-set up Infinity Megasite (IMS) right here in the Golden Triangle is the best candidate within the State of Mississippi for such a project. The IMS now controls 1,444 acres of the Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park on Hwy 82 west of Columbus: “We believe that if Mississippi’s putting its best foot forward, we’re probably the first pick,” Higgins said.

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

While the proposed plant is still in its very earliest days of consideration, Bloomberg seems to agree saying that the IMS could very well be one of the top few candidates for the $1.6 billion project, which is expected to bring roughly 4,000 jobs to the general area.

“Understand this –Toyota’s not an unknown commodity,” Higgins said. “. . .If Toyota knocks on your door, you open it and you offer them some coffee, some Coke, some pastries if you got them and you say ‘What can I do for you?'”

Lowndes BoS  President Harry Sanders said that, “The thing about it is, think what it would do for Lowndes County and this portion of the Golden Triangle, with all the high-quality jobs. I think it would be great to get an automotive industry here.”

“In Mississippi, look at the battles that have been won,” Higgins said. “If we roll the clock back 20 years, most people would tell you there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Mississippi could get a car plant. But in 15, 16 years we’ve gotten two (Nissan in Canton, Toyota in Blue Springs). I think that’s a good testament to the state of Mississippi. Could we support a third one? Yeah, I think we could.”

He also stated his confidence in the region’s ability to meet the potential plant’s needs, and that its proximity to MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, could also be a major factor in any decision to be made: “Everybody wants to sell that their workforce can be retrained to make steel, or retrained to make cars or retrained to make tires,” Higgins said. “I don’t think most communities are selling that 20-, 30- and 40-year sustainable workforce. See, I’m not worried about where I’m getting my initial tranche of people to run my plant. These plants are worried about who’s gonna be running that son of a gun in 10, 15, or 20 or 40 years.”

 

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Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Courtesy of The Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins reports that he and the LINK are working on a plan to potentially have Lowndes County pay for its share of the Communiversity’s funding via a ten-year bond rather than a 20-year bond, thus saving the county nearly $2 million in interest over that time. Under his proposal, “I believe there’s a way around this that nobody gets gored, everybody gets what they want to do and there’s no harm, no foul, to anybody,” Higgins said.

The Communiversity, which broke ground a few months ago, is located on Highway 82 just west of PACCAR. The total bill for the facility will be around $44 million, which will be paid for via $18 million in state money, $12.5 million in federal dollars, and $13.5 million in local funding, with Lowndes County picking up the bulk of the local tab.

District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham said he’d likely support a split issue, and that a shorter payment term would lead to higher payments, but save the county money over time: “If it works out, yes, I’m for it,” he said. “It can save us short of $2 million. You don’t just throw money away when it’s not necessary.”

Board President Harry Sanders also expressed support for the split issue.

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Zoning Approved for Starkville Industrial Park

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The DIspatch

Circuit Judge James Kitchens recently affirmed a recent zoning change for a proposed 360-acre industrial park near Hwy 182 & Hwy 389. Starkville aldermen had previously re-zoned the parcel in question as appropriate for Manufacturing, but that decision was challenged by LMK LLC, Bettye Bell, Mary S. Bell, Margaret Copeland and Laura B. White. Judge Kitchens said that these appellants were unable to meet their burden “to show that the decision was invalid.”

As such, GTR LINK plans to go ahead and seek funding to the tune of $14 million that had been pledged by the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors and Starkville Board of Aldermen.

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New Process Steel Expansion Slated to Add Fifty Jobs

New Process Steel Expansion Slated to Add Fifty Jobs

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

During a recent board meeting, Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders confirmed that New Process Steel will start on its new expansion on the Steel Dynamics campus soon. Two loan resolutions were approved for the project on Monday – in addition to the approximately $1.7 million in grants and loans for the $7.5 million steel processing facility which were approved last month. In addition, it is expected that the project will require $750 thousand in Development Infrastructure Program grants from the Mississippi Development Authority for road improvements, and up to $1 million in a state loan to pay for a rail spur from the railway near the SDI campus.

“This just goes to show that Columbus is a good place for industry,” Sanders said. “It’s great that we can have some expansion from people who are already here. Most of the emphasis is on getting new people and new industry, but this is an older industry that’s been here and evidently they’re real happy with what’s here and they decided to expand their operation.”

The Board also discussed, and temporarily tabled, a proposal to hire former CLRA Executive Director as the county’s interim recreation manager. The matter will be taken up in their next regular meeting, once they are able to formulate a proper job description for the position.

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Girl Scouts Honor GTR’s Finest at Women of Distinction Ceremony

Girl Scouts Honor GTR’s Finest at Women of Distinction Ceremony

GTR LINK’s Brenda Lathan and her fellow honorees (courtesy Columbus Lowndes CoC)

Girl Scouts Heart of the South held its Women of Distinction in the Golden Triangle Region this past Friday. The keynote speaker was Dr. Kate Borsig.

Among the honorees was The Golden Triangle’s own Brenda H. Lathan, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the GTR LINK!

We here at Good for Business would like to congratulate Ms. Lathan and all of the honorees. Thank you for your selfless contribution to our communities!

For more photos and info, please click here.

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SDI Paint Facility in Columbus Now Open for Business

SDI Paint Facility in Columbus Now Open for Business

“The opening of this new paint facility is a significant milestone for Steel Dynamics and the people of the Golden Triangle region, as it represents the company’s commitment to doing business in Lowndes County and creating jobs for the area’s workforce,” Governor Bryant said.

“The Paint Line project will improve the Columbus Flat Roll Division’s competitiveness and sustainability in our steel markets,” said Madhu Ranade, vice president and general manager of Steel Dynamics, Flat Roll Group, Columbus Division. “We’re grateful to the state of Mississippi, MDA, Lowndes County, TVA and ARC for their continued partnership as we expand in Columbus.”

The Mississippi Development Authority helped with infrastructure improvements, rail construction and workforce training. The Tennessee Valley Authority, Appalachian Regional Commission and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors also provided assistance for the project.

“Sustainable growth in economic development is achievable in our state when all levels of government work together to create a business environment in which companies can achieve their goals,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “MDA congratulates SDI and our partners at the Golden Triangle Development LINK, Lowndes County, TVA, ARC and the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority on this momentous occasion.”

The facility’s new paint line has an annual coating capacity of 250,000 tons.

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LC Supervisors Have Approved Funding for Job Development at Steel Dynamics’ Industrial Park

LC Supervisors Have Approved Funding for Job Development at Steel Dynamics’ Industrial Park

LOWNDES COUNTY – Courtesy of The Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins reports that Lowndes County supervisors unanimously approved more than $1.7 million in grants and loans for a company to build a $7.5 million new facility on the Steel Dynamics, Inc. campus at the industrial park west of Columbus. Some further funding will be required, but this gets the ball rolling in a major way, and opens the door to new facilities (including a railroad spur) which should provide at least fifty local jobs.

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

“They need to ship out product by rail,” Higgins said. “And there needs to be an improved road to where they can do truck deliveries out as well . . .  The steel’s made on campus, so it’s just taken up there and processed,” he added. “But then it will go out by train to those customers who want train delivery or by truck for those of them who want trucking.”

“[The new company will] basically take steel that SDI makes and further process it into what I understand is a consumer product,” Higgins said. “It’s about a $7.5 million investment that’ll create 50 jobs, and I think that’s (the job count) a conservative number — I think it could go higher . . . It’s not a Steel Dynamics project, but it’s a result of Steel Dynamics being here,” Higgins went on to say. “Quite frankly, it’s a result of the new paint line that they’re fixing to put online. This is probably the first new business that you can directly attribute to the new paint line.”

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Ground Broken on EMCC’s $42mil Communiversity Facility

By Golden Triangle Development LINK

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – On Friday morning, December 9, local, state and federal agencies gathered to break ground on the Golden Triangle’s newest workforce development project, The Communiversity.

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

A $42+ million dollar project, the facility will be East Mississippi Community College’s state-of-the-art workforce technical training facility at the Golden Triangle Campus. Community groups began working on the project in December 2013. Funding for the project is sourced from state bonds ($18M), the Appalachian Regional Commission ($10.7M), local community funds from Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties ($13.5) and EMCC ($400K).

The new facility includes an interactive, museum style lobby and 21 high bay learning areas, a manufacturing display venue, classrooms and laboratories, and incubator bays for new start-ups. The 16 classroom spaces will be equipped with the latest in A/V technology. The facility will also include office, conference, and food service collaboration spaces for EMCC and other entities. The project consists of 145,638 square feet.

“Federal, state, and local agencies have come together to invest in the workforce here in east Mississippi and we could not be more pleased,” said Dr. Thomas Huebner, East Mississippi Community College President. “This project is a game changer in workforce education and development and we are excited about the opportunities it represents for the communities we serve.”

Both non-credit workforce classes and career technical programs leading to the Associate of Applied Science Degree will be offered.  Construction is under way and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

“This facility will put the Golden Triangle on the cutting edge of workforce training,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties should be commended for investing in their citizens. The Communiversity will be a massive asset to industrial recruitment and our existing industries.”

Read the full press release here: http://www.eastms.edu/news/Pages/communiversity-groundbreaking.aspx

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Joe Max Makes the Mississippi Top 50

Joe Max Makes the Mississippi Top 50

Columbus – Courtesy of MS Top 50

joe max higgins

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins (courtesy photo)

Local businessman and GTR LINK CEO, Joe Max Higgins, will soon be inducted into this year’s “Top 50 Most Influential people in the state of Mississippi.” He has taken part in the efforts to bring major businesses such as Yokohama and PACCAR to our area, as well as a number of other economic developments. He will be receiving his award on Nov. 9 of this year at the Old Capitol Inn, along with the rest of the winners of this special award.

Please see the link below for more info and for the full article:
http://mstop50.com/winners/business-media-and-culture/5

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Natural Gas Expansion Approved for Lowndes, Oktibbeha — Could Bring Jobs to Area

A natural gas expansion has been unanimously approved by the PSC, allowing greater access to our native resources in Oktibbeha and Lowndes Counties. Hopes are high that this will bring both income, and many new jobs, to our area!

gtr linkGolden Triangle, Mississippi –

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley recently announced the approval of $16.7 million in natural gas expansion projects in Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties to equip two industrial sites with the necessary gas infrastructure to land more jobs for the Golden Triangle region.
“Utility infrastructure is a key to Mississippi’s ability to win the jobs of the future. These expansions will be a great benefit to the Golden Triangle.” said Presley. “I deeply appreciate my fellow Commissioners working with me to get these projects funded.”

“This program is a ‘win-win’ for everyone involved,” said David Gates, President of the Division of Atmos Energy. “Under the program we will be able to invest millions of dollars in natural gas infrastructure in the Golden Triangle. This will make the area, which is already a desirable location, even more attractive to industry and that will mean more jobs and more economic development to the region.”

Funds will be used to expand gas capacity in the Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park and the proposed Starkville Industrial Park currently under development.

Read the full article here: http://gtrlink.org/news_media/article/388

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