Category Archives: GTR LINK

Paccar Planning to More Than Double Existing Space

Paccar Planning to More Than Double Existing Space

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) –

CEO of the Golden Triangle LINK, Joe-Max Higgins recently announced that Paccar plans to invest about $7 million in additional warehousing and shipping space, adding 150,000 square feet to their existing 100,000 logistics center facility. Once the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors approves the project, groundbreaking is expected to take place almost immediately.

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Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville

Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins recently met with the Starkville board of aldermen, Oktibbeha County board of supervisors and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority to talk about the issue of trust. He feels that economic development depends on it.

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins and SV Industrial Park — Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch staff

From his perspective, he needs to know that he and the LINK can trust that they know what the area’s county and local officials expect, so as to make sure that proposals for economic investment will get heard and acted upon. He stated that, in Lowndes and Clay counties, he has a pretty good grasp on that; for Oktibbeha, not so much: “I do (know) in the other places,” Higgins said. “I don’t have that comfort here. . .there’s some of you that I don’t know how you’re going to vote and it’s scary,” he added.

On the flip side, Higgins stated that local leaders will need to know that they can trust the LINK to keep the cities’ and counties’ best interests in mind when bringing them new prospects and proposals: “We don’t go after and heavily incentivize deals that don’t pay more than our county averages,” Higgins said. “You can’t make your place be a better place by going after jobs. You need to go after good jobs.”

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard spoke on the importance of such trust: “We’ve just got to trust Joe Max and his team. To this point, they’ve been good about keeping us in the loop,” Howard said. “But as things speed up, we’re not going to be able to call everybody together every time. He’s going to have to be comfortable that we trust him enough to say, ‘Joe Max is not going to bring us a bad deal.'”

 

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Yokohama Going Strong as it Approaches its Third Year in West Point

Yokohama Going Strong as it Approaches its Third Year in West Point

WEST POINT, MS – Courtesy of the Mississippi Business Journal

The front entrance of the Yokohama Tire plant in West Point. (credit: The MS Business Journal)

About three years back, Yokohama Tire Corp. president Hikomitsu Noji had been looking at sites in nearly every state of the union to find the perfect location for their first “built from scratch” U.S. Facility. Once he got a good look at West Point, he decided that this was the place for his $300 million baby. The city and county, at the time, was still suffering the long-term aftereffects of the 2007 closing of the Bryan Foods plant, which eliminated over 1,200 jobs. Fast forward to today, and the plant employs 650 full-time employees – they had originally anticipated 500 – and they hope to add nearly triple that in the future.

“It’s been all positive and we couldn’t be more pleased with having Yokohama here,” said West Point mayor Robbie Robinson. “There’s always hiccups with any new venture and there have been some. When they chose to build the facility here, it was like we hit the lottery. . .West Point and Clay County are very happy.”

Joe Max Higgins, GTR LINK CEO and vocal  promoter of entrepreneurship in the GTR, took Noji and others on a helicopter ride that included the ruins of the old Bryan plant: “The Yokohama president told me ‘I want to see Sara Lee’ and we loaded up in the helicopter we’d rented for the day and took three or four passes over the demolished site”, said Higgins. “After the fourth pass, the man just looked at me and nodded without a word. There was an emotional connection. . . I knew at that moment that we’d landed Yokohama.”

Dan Funkhouser, Yokohama’s vice-president of commercial sales noted that the addition of the West Point plant is critical to the company’s continued growth in North America: “The commercial tire market is very strong and growing,” he said. “Both the replacement and OEM tire markets are expanding. This fits in perfectly with the Mississippi plant, which will increase our capabilities to service our OEM and replacement partners as they grow.”

Higgins proudly stated,“I think West Point and Clay County have turned the corner.”

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Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

 

 

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of WTVA

The GTR LINK recently announced Steel Dynamics’ plans to invest $200 million into its flat roll steel plant here in Columbus. They anticipate that the expansion will add as many as 45 jobs to the plant over the next three years as the changes are phased in.

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Yokohama Reports Significant Job Growth at West Point Facility

Yokohama Reports Significant Job Growth at West Point Facility

Stacey Perusse, senior human resources manager for Yokohama Tire Corporation’s West Point plant (Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff)

WEST POINT – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Yokohama Tire Corporation’s West Point plant opened in fall 2015. They have reported that they are “continually” hiring new employees, bringing the current total to over 650, despite having been here for only about three years. Senior Human Resources Manager Stacey Perussespoke to the Rotary Club recently: “About a year ago, we were right around 500 (employees),” she said. “We actually had a job fair here in Starkville last August and we had over 700 people come.” She reports that they hire about fifteen new people every Monday, and that they’re always looking for new talent; they start employees at $14.50/hr, with semiannual pay raises for the first six years.

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said, “We’re pleased with Yokohama’s progress thus far,” Higgins said. “They have already exceeded all of their obligations for phase one, including employing more than 500 people and investing more than $300 million.”

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Peco Foods to Bring $40M Warehouse, 300 Jobs to West Point

Peco Foods to Bring $40M Warehouse, 300 Jobs to West Point

WEST POINT, Miss. (Excerpt/Edited PRESS RELEASE) –Courtesy of WCBI

Peco Foods CEO Mark Hickman announced today that the company is locating in the existing 185,000-square-foot cold-storage warehouse formerly occupied by AmeriCold in West Point. The Tusaloosa, AL-based company is planning to spend $40 million to construct the facility, and anticipates that it will create three hundred local jobs as a result.

“The addition of the West Point facility to the Peco Foods’ portfolio and the creation of so many new jobs for the people of the Golden Triangle Region demonstrate how existing companies in our state benefit from our productive workforce and prime location in the fastest growing region of the U.S.,” Gov. Phil Bryant said.

“It’s exciting to welcome more jobs to the West Point area,” said Mayor Robbie Robinson. “This company is providing jobs in a sector we’re familiar with, in a more advanced environment, with a high rate of pay for our citizens. It’s a great opportunity.”

Peco Foods has more than 6,000 employees and six state-of-the-art poultry complexes in Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas which supply a broad range of products and services to national restaurant chains, regional food service distributors and retail grocers, as well as international accounts.

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VIDEO: Manufacturing Renaissance Fully Under Way in Golden Triangle

Manufacturing Renaissance Fully Under Way in Golden Triangle[VIDEO]

Courtesy of The Atlantic

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins (courtesy photo)

The Columbus area, a long-time center of manufacturing in the region, lost many of the core businesses that kept driving it forward in the early 2000’s, as many of the manufacturing jobs fled overseas. However, the people of this area have worked hard to do something about that. The results began to show in earnest in the early 2010’s, as more and more factories have been coming to town, and the end is nowhere in sight!

Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the GTR LINK, noted that that sort of economic turnaround is “something just doesn’t typically happen in places this small and this rural in the South.” Here in Columbus, we’re proud to be bucking that trend.

Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows and contributing writer Deborah Fallows have spent three years exploring small town America by air, “taking seriously places that don’t usually get registered seriously.”

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GTR LINK Speaking with Several Companies about New Starkville Development

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

GTRD LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins talks with a Starkville Rotary Club member Monday at Starkville Country Club. He discussed Starkville’s planned industrial park at the club’s weekly meeting. Photo by Luisa Porter – The Dispatch

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said the LINK is ready and waiting to help make Starkville’s and Oktibbeha County’s new industrial park a reality. Higgins passed on the news while attending a meeting of the Starkville Rotary Club. He stated that the LINK is working with three companies with regards to an 80-acre parcel on the east side of the industrial park.

“We’ve got two, possibly three projects that we’re working that’ll fit [there],” Higgins said. “See, we can’t put somebody out there [in the rest of the site] until this zoning thing is closed because it puts the company and us in potentially having a bad problem. However, these companies could plug and play to go in there right now. A distribution facility could go in there right now.” He anticipates that the projects could create 175 to 300 jobs.

Higgins also spoke of a recent visit he paid to Boston and the Harvard School of Business, which is itself utilizing the information they gathered from a trip they took last fall, when they came to the Golden Triangle region in order to create two case studies for its students. He went on to say that these studies, along with the national media attention garnered by The Atlantic and by his appearance on “60 Minutes” has helped to raise the GTR’s profile and attracted the attention of groups such as Dartmouth  and the Harvard faculty:  “The world is watching what we do,” he said.

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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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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.

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