Category Archives: Manufacturing

Toyota Picks EMCC as Regional Training College

Toyota Picks EMCC as Regional Training College

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of eastms.edu

The Toyota Motor Company has selected East Mississippi Community College as one of only twelve schools from across the nation to take part in a new pilot program: Students in the  Automotive Technology will be able to earn certification through the University of Toyota’s Toyota Technician Education Program. These certifications were previously available only to Toyota employees, and are mandatory for anyone who wishes to work for them as a mechanic. Five students have already been chosen to be the first at EMCC to take part in this program; there will be no additional cost to earn these certifications via the program, and it is intended to help the participants get good jobs with Toyota straight out of college.

“The certifications they earn through the University of Toyota will stay with them for life,” EMCC Automotive Technology instructor Dale Henry said. “Let’s say a student graduates and goes to work at an independent repair shop and five years from now a job opportunity comes up at Toyota. A record of the Toyota certifications the student has earned will pull up in their system . . . The certifications are good for employment at any Toyota dealer in the nation.”

“The continuing success of our Automotive Technology program is a testament to the quality of our instructors and their dedication to providing students the best education possible,” EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said. “We are grateful to Gulf States Toyota for allowing us to participate in this pilot program and to our faculty who have made this possible through their efforts. The real winners are our students who will benefit from this partnership.”

 

 

 

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Wicker: Air Force Awards $48M Contract to Develop Unmanned Aircraft in Columbus, Miss.

PRESS RELEASE

Courtesy of Roger Wicker, U. S. Senate, R-Mississippi

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) – Courtesy Photo

Wicker: Air Force Awards $48M Contract to Develop Unmanned Aircraft in Columbus, Miss.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today congratulated Aurora Flight Sciences for winning a $48 million Air Force contract to continue development of Orion unmanned aircraft. These systems are built in Columbus, Miss. In 2014, Orion set the world record for unmanned aerial systems flight endurance by remaining aloft for 80 hours.

“I am pleased that the Air Force continues to have confidence in developing Aurora’s ultra-long endurance Orion military drone,” Wicker said. “Orion will provide vital information to military commanders and our troops once it is deployed. Congress should approve the proposed FY18 funding for these aircraft, so that an entire deployable system will be coming off the line in the next 18 months.”

 

Source: https://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/1/wicker-air-force-awards-48m-contract-to-develop-unmanned-aircraft-in-columbus-miss

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LCSD Officials Tour Nearly-Completed Tech Center

LCSD Officials Tour Nearly-Completed Tech Center

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

From left, LCSD Superintendent Robin Ballard, assistant Superintendent Tina Younger, Superintendent Lynn Wright and Maintenance Director Greg Wheat tour the LCSD Technology Center on Lehmberg. Photo by Luisa Porter – Dispatch Staff

Several years after a narrow defeat on an (ultimately successful) bond issue, Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright is now touring the fruits of that bond, a massive facility off of Lehmberg Road which will soon be accepting studentsfor its tech center and job training programs aimed at supplying a well-educated and well-prepared workforce for local industry. The Lowndes County Career and Technical Center is estimated to be about 55 thousand square feet in size, and it cost about $11 million to construct: The Lowndes County Career and Technical Center.

“I’d say it’s about 95 percent finished,” maintenance supervisor Greg Wheat said, as finishing touches were being applied by the workers. The facility is expected to open formally next August, and it is estimated that it will be able to comfrotably hold about 500 students. They are also in the process of acquiring the gear needed to fill the huge workrooms, and to hire faculty and staff. Nine separate fields of study — automotive service technician, construction core, teacher academy, health sciences, industrial maintenance, welding, polymer science, culinary arts and engineering/robotics — have their own dedicated spaces, and each has the room they will need to expand in the future.

Maintenance Director Greg Wheat checks out the kitchen of the new LCSD Career Technology Center – Photo by Louisa Porter – Dispatch Staff

“Right now, we have a little less than 100 students in our vocational programs at the three high schools,” Wright said. “Next fall, we expect to have 450 students enrolled in programs here. . .We’ve been working closely with Mississippi State on developing the polymer science program since it’s new for us,” he went on to say. “They are helping us find an instructor in addition to helping us put together the program. . .”We really see this as something the whole community can use. Programs like the (Greater Columbus) Learning Center are already showing interest. . .We’re not just talking about [interest from] the PACCARs and Steel Dynamics, but smaller industries, too,” he said. “We’ve really had interest from all over the county, from big and small.”

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Communiversity Reveals Some of Their Upcoming Programs

 

Communiversity Reveals Some of Their Upcoming Programs

East Mississippi Community College President Thomas Huebner talks about the schools’ preparations for the Communiversity, which is set to open in 2019. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

MAYHEW – Courtesy of The Dispatch

East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) recently held a session in order to reveal some of the curricula they have in mind for their Communiversity, which is already under construction in Mayhew near PACCAR and the school’s main campus.

EMCC President Thomas Huebner said the college and its accrediting agencies are working together to get a number of new Communiversity programs ready, such as a mechatronics program and an electro-mechanical program: “These are what we would call the next generation, equipping industries for their specific needs,” Huebner said.

The specialized school, which seeks to train people to fill existing jobs and prepare them for new ones going forward, is intended to serve about five hundred students, 19 instructors, and the accompanying staff and special personnel needed to run it properly.

“Being a community college means that we’re going to, by our very mission, be tied to our local community,” Huebner went on to say. “So we have to be thinking on a daily basis about how we can meet the needs for our community . . .With regards to business and industry, we know we’re a fundamental part to train their workforce and meet their needs, and we want to be the best at that we can.”

Please click here for the full article.

 

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Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett of Columbus Brick. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett, the latest generation of owners at Columbus Brick Company, recently sold the company to Tennessee-based General Shale, more than 120 years after the company’s original founding by his great-great-grandfather. Puckett sees all of his workers and managers as family, and the sales agreement will see to it that they all keep their jobs, and, in fact, will be vital to bringing the business forward into the 21st century.

“[General Shale’s people] want everybody to stay,” Puckett said. “They will not put a person here. I’m going to stay on for at least four years and our general manager, Ed Thebaud, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations. Nobody is going to lose their job. It’s Columbus Brick, and it will stay that way.”

Puckett notes that this decision has been under consideration for many years, and is not one he took lightly: “Sure, there are always things you want to pursue,” he said. “But life is life. You may want those things, but really, what you have to do is walk through the doors that are before you.”

From left, Columbus Brick Company employees Kenneth Webb, Carl Summerville and Randy Macon shape bricks. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Today, the company cranks out 140 million bricks every month, a volume which would have been unheard of back in the 1800s. Back then, you could find brickmakers just about everywhere; these days, not so much. However, Puckett says that his company is thriving in a day when the industry itself is on the verge of dying out: “The company is in great shape,” he said. “It’s not like (the sale) was something we were forced into. . . Our industry is in dire straits, about 30 percent of the brick companies are sitting idle, so nobody needs to go buy more capacity,” he added. “I think probably the biggest thing we were known for is the people we have accumulated. I’m often told I have the best people in the industry. I think that’s what made us appealing to General Shale. They know us. We know them.”

 

 

For the full article, please click here.

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MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Scott Waller, interim CEO and president of the Mississippi Economic Council, speaks to Starkville Rotarians Monday at The Mill at MSU. Waller addressed the need for workforce development to help improve Mississippi’s economy. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Scott Waller, interim president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) recently addressed the Starkville Rotary Club. While there, he stated that Mississippi, in order to improve itself economically and rise to its potential, must begin to find new ways to continue improving its economic development; he feels that a strong focus on workforce development is the key to our future. He went on to ask his audience what they believed were the most important factors in helping our state to improve. The results were: 58% said that we need a skilled workforce more than anything else; 27% emphasized the need to improve the state’s image; and fewer than 10% of respondents said that lowering taxes, improving infrastructure, or other concserns should be the top priority.

Waller then revealed that their responses were in line with many other groups he had met with across the state, and that most people agreed that we need to help our workforce grow more skilled: “Today alone, there are over 40,000 unfilled jobs in the state of Mississippi,” Waller said. “If we don’t work on having a skilled workforce, we definitely are going to miss out on those opportunities, particularly when it comes to population growth.”

Waller also addressed an umber of other concerns from those present, but he still feels that “…[W]hat we’re learning is workforce development is probably at the top of the list as it would stand.”

To close the meeting, Waller asked what audience members what they felt was the most important aspect to make a positive impact in the community. Forty-four percent chose improving schools, which was the highest of six choices. Improving the workforce, which drew 33 percent, was the second-highest choice by far.

Waller said that strengthening the workforce is a challenge that must begin early on in life, from pre-kindergarten to lifelong learning: “What it tells me when I see these results is at least I think we’re focused on the right thing,” he said. “We’re focused on the thing that’s going to make a difference and move the needle as we move forward.”

Please click here to view the full article.

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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.

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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