Category Archives: Business

New Construction Abounds Along South Frontage Road

New Construction Abounds Along South Frontage Road

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The next time you’re taking a trip from Columbus to Starkville (or realms beyond), keep a weather eye out for the service road to your left. A number of construction projects, new and old, are cropping up there like flowers in Springtime.

1521 S. Frontage Road, just past the Macon/Meridian exit, will house the new combined West Point-Starkville-Columbus office location for Atmos Energy, which will replace their existing offices in those areas once it opens its doors (scheduled for this September); existing employees will be shifted to the new office.

Kingdom Vision International Church is working on adding to its new building at 2467 S. Frontage Road. They hope to open up the new multi-purpose center and gymnasium in late 2019.

Exceed Technologies and Mississippi Alarm arecurrently building new structures at 2787 S. Frontage Road, and they hope to move in by mid-October.

A bit further on, nearer the GTR Airport exit, Stribling Equipment is building their own new facility. They sell heavy equipment, and have found the need for a more centalized, larger location in order to better serve their customers. They hope to complete the move by January.

Sunbelt Rentals opened its Columbus location 645 Highway 45 S., this past June. It offers rental construction equipment for everyone from large contractors to individual homeowners who need some special tools for their favorite project.

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Israel is Getting its First Missile Defense Canister from Our Own Stark Aerospace

Israel is Getting its First Missile Defense Canister from Our Own Stark Aerospace

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Stark Aerospace CEO Tom Ronaldi, flanked by Mississippi and Israeli officials, thanks guests for attending a commemoration event for the delivery of a missile defense canister to Israel - Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

Stark Aerospace CEO Tom Ronaldi, flanked by Mississippi and Israeli officials, thanks guests for attending a commemoration event for the delivery of a missile defense canister to Israel – Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

Stark Aerospace, with its facility near Golden Triangle Regional Airport, recently commemorated the delivery of the first Arrow 3 missile defense system to our Isreali allies. The unit is part of a system designed to shoot down incoming missiles. The project is a joint effort among Israel Aerospace Industries, Boeing, and Stark.

CEO Tom Ronaldi remarked that Stark has grown to 111 employees, nearly doubling its workforce as compared to this time last year; most of that increase has been in the form of welders, but they’ve also expanded their portfolio of executive, engineering, and other professional jobs. He also stated that they’re doing all the can to use local materials whenever possible: “One of the opportunities we see locally here is we try to source close to where we’re doing our work,” Ronaldi said. “Right now we’ve got 75 percent of the material cost coming from within two hours of Stark. We’ve tried very hard to share the wealth, as it was.”

Moshe Patel, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization of the Israel Ministry of Defense, spoke about the joint program, which is funded by the US and Israeli governments in order to help protect them both: “We are combining the defense of Israel with bringing jobs to places like Mississippi,” he said at Monday’s ceremony. “Together it makes a big difference to us. As a government, we are very glad we have this capability here. On one hand, we can expedite our production capability, and on the second hand, money that is allocated us is being brought back to have more jobs in the United States for the defense of Israel. It’s a win-win situation.”

Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president, spoke of the new system’s vast improvement over previously existing technology: “The Arrow 2 is for a lower altitude,” Levy said. “The Arrow 3 is actually intercepting ballistic threats deep in space.”

“This is one of the most advanced systems in the world, but it needs a canister and we’re manufacturing that canister right here,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “Seventy percent of the materials used in the manufacturing of the canister come from Mississippi, so you’re looking at Mississippi steel and a lot of Mississippi technology that goes in this. . .It is amazing, I think, in the last decade where we have been able to come to protect not only America but the world by our manufacturing.”

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Need a Flight to the Coast on Short Notice? Aurora Flight Services May Have Your Answer

Need a Flight to the Coast on Short Notice? Aurora Flight Services May Have Your Answer

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Columbus Rotary Club member John Davis chats with Aurora Flight Sciences Vice President Greg Stewart – photo by Slim Smith, Dispatch Staff

Aurora Flight Sciences Vice President Greg Stewart recently spoke with the Columbus Rotary Club in Columbus. His company was sold to Boeing last year, and is already reaping the rewards: “We weren’t a small company before the sale,” Stewart told his audience. “We had about 500 employees. But Boeing is huge, about 77,000 employees. One of the biggest things about that is suddenly we have access to the resources of a company that size. It’s been less than a year since the sale, and we’re already seeing the benefits of that . . . “There were areas before the sale where we were competitors and, a lot of times, Boeing had the advantage because of their superior resources,” he went on to say. “Now that we are partners, we’re seeing new opportunities.”

One new project they are working on is the aircraft equivalent of a service such as Uber or Lyft – On-demand flights; they hope to be able to use small, unmanned passenger aircraft for this purpose. “Imagine that you need to get to the (Gulf) Coast all the sudden,” Stewart said. “What we are working on is a system like Uber. You order a flight, go out to the airport, get on the plane and you’re on the coast in an hour. You’re the only person in the plane.”  This project along has called for them to add a hundred fifty new employees.

“[The merger with Boeing has] taken some time for us to adapt to, but on the other side, the opportunities it has presented have been more than we could have dreamed of. It’s been a great move for both companies,” he added.

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International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

David Phillips, Columbus Mill manager for International Paper – Photo by Mary Pollitz

Columbus Mill Manager David Phillips recently spoke to the Rotarians at Lion Hills Center in Columbus about his facility, which was acquired by International Paper a couple of years ago, and the company’s plans for the future. They have begun a new initiative called “IP Way Forward,” having already invested $135,000 within the local community as a way of giving back to the good people of Columbus. Their initiative calls for the company to focus on “[I]nvesting in people, sustaining forests, improving the planet, innovative products and inspiring performance.” This includes helping out the less fortunate by assisting with education, hunger, and medical programs.

Kellum Kim, mill communications manager said that they wish to continue the good works done by Weyerhauser, the prior owners of the mill, with regards to the community in Lowndes County: “People that know Weyerhaeuser, know that they did a lot of great things in the community, they just did more behind the scenes,” Kim said. “What we are really trying to change is getting more hands-on, (and) get more of our team members involved.”

“Part of the IP Way Forward is to provide value for stakeholders,” Phillips said. “One of our stakeholders is the community and so we want to make sure we are providing value for the community that our employees live in.”

Kim added: “It’s all about investing in our communities and being a good steward of our communities and what we can do to make our community a better place for everyone in Lowndes County.”

The mill currently has about 325 full-time employees, including thirty who were brought on board this year. They also contract up to a hundred workers per day, and their average pay rate is about $28/hr. Philips noted that the mill is largely self-sustaining, as they generate all of their own power by harnessing the steam generated by burning tree bark that might not otherwise be useful; they also use the surrounding 65-acre marsh to treat their wastewater.

International Paper and their Columbus Mill are giving back to their local community while making products that we use every day — and THAT’S Good for Business!

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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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Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

EPA Region 4 Director Franklin Hill – Photo by Mary Pollitz

The EPA recently brought together local officials at each of ten Superfund cleanup sites across the country in order to recognize the solid progress on each of them, and the Kerr-McGee site here in the Memphis Town area of Columbus was one of them. In part, they celebrated the fact many of the 42 officially-recognized recommendations from a list put together last year were things that the KMG cleanup crew had been doing for as long as seven years already: “We’re already on the cusp of that . . . We’re already taking early actions in this community,” said EPA Region 4 Superfund Director Franklin Hill.

Kerr-McGee once had a wood treatment plant here that was in operation from about 1928 to 2003; the resulting waste product, creosote, contaminated the site and local grounds, making it one of the 1,800 Superfund sites in the US, and one of the top 30 “priority” SF sites which are being given special attention and expedited funding.

Hill went on to say, “We did that collectively … and this community [of Columbus] was at the forefront of it. This community are the people who held us to task. … Even though we slipped schedules from time to time, they would remind us when we were slipping schedules.”

“We no longer want to clean up the site and walk away from it and leave it and it becomes just an open field,” Hill said. “We’d like to see that property return to the tax rolls. We’d like to see that property make a contribution to the local municipality and government, and we’d also like to see the community realize a benefit from their community being revitalized from years of the plight that’s been associated with the site that’s basically (been) dormant in this community since 2003.”

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In Business News: Starkville Getting New Butcher Shop; Columbus Coffee Shop Under New Ownership; Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

In Business News: Starkville Getting New Butcher Shop; Columbus Coffee Shop Under New Ownership; Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Noxubee County native Eric King hopes to have his new shop, King’s Craft Butcher and Cafe, open by the end of August in Starkville. The shop will be located at 211 S. Jackson St., Suite B. Having honed his craft at a New York butcher shop, King brings plenty of experience and expertise to the chopping block. His goal is to focuis primarily on meat and other produce from local farmers, as well as prodiving cuts that are not often seen in grocery stores, such as Denver steaks.  The venue will also include an 80-seat cafe and full bar, where patrons can order from the dry-aged meats on display as well as from vegan and vegetarian selections.

COLUMBUS

C.J. Andrews, owner of Coffee House on Fifth, recently finalized the purchase of the city’s oldest coffeeshop, Beans and Cream. Andrews said that the shops will remain independent from one another, but that there are plans to expand the menu somewhat. Andrews also purchased Southbound Coffee, B&C’s provider of ground & roasted coffee beans.

STATEWIDE

Beginning 12:01 AM this Friday, the state’s tax-free weekend will begin; it will last until 11:59 PM Saturday evening. The exemption applies to “clothing” items such as clothes, shoes & boots, costumes, swimsuits, and the like, but not to accessories such as jewelry and wallets. The purchase price must be under $100 per item, not including discounts due to manufacturer’s coupons; items that cost $100.00 or more each will be taxed at the full normal rate. Check with your local store for details on their eligible items when you arrive; a list is available at the first link below. The exemption also applies to relevant items purchased online or over the phone during this time period.

Please click here to download a list of eligible items.

 

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Lowndes County Port to Receive ~$450K Port Expansion Grant

Lowndes County Port to Receive $450K Port Expansion Grant

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Will Sanders

The Mississippi Department of Transportation recently authorized a grant worth roughly $476,317, to be used to add a 250-foot crane rail extension to the Lowndes County Port in order to increase its capacity.

“We’re very fortunate that MDOT allows this grant every year,” said Will Sanders, director for the Port Authority. “Without these types of funds, we would not be able to continue these economic development projects every year.” He went on to say that the port will initially increase its current tonnage by at least 20 percent, and that they may eventually double the current amount.

SDI General Manager Madhu Ranade remarked that “It will improve the barge unloading capabilities,” Ranade said. “So we can get our raw materials faster to the plant. With the increased capacity, we may consider bringing in other materials there as well. It is a benefit to us, our key raw materials come in through that part of the port. Just having that extra crane would make the unloading go a lot faster and smoother. It’s a good situation for the port as well as for us.”

“These improvements will make the Lowndes County Port more efficient and allow for increased through-put,” said Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins in a prepared statement. “The more product moved on the Tenn-Tom, the stronger the waterway becomes as an asset for our region.”

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Starkville Wants to Keep Downtown Historic

Starkville Wants to Keep Downtown Historic

STARKVILLE, Miss. Courtesy of WCBI

Starkville is looking into ways to help its Historic Downtown area remain just that – Historic and beautiful. They are looking into working with the Carl Small Town Center and soliciting funding from the state to help protect the historic buildings.

Buddy Sanders

Local citizen Buddy Sanders hopes “[to] put together a design guidelines for downtown Starkville and they would not be any type of regulatory document. Something suggestive to a person that is buying a building or going into a building for their store of how to appropriately renovate the building in a historical fashion . . . To protect the character of downtown. To give someone an idea of how to keep their store while maintaining their brand also keeping the storefront like a historical 1920’s 1910 building,” he went on to say.

Rebecca Tabb is a store owner in Starkville. “Keeping Main Street historic, I think there’s a draw to that, versus necessarily like Highway 12 or a high traffic street. I think people really have come back to shopping local and wanting to shop downtown and wanting things not necessarily be exactly how they were built really but really try to keep that downtown hometown feel,” said Tabb.

“We hope the Carl Small Town Center can use it as a template for other Mississippi communities to use so that they can use it to essentially either start some type of redevelopment in their downtown or just try to keep character historical character of their downtown,” said Sanders.

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Glo Shines on in one of Mississippi’s Favorite Towns [VIDEO]

Glo Shines on in one of Mississippi’s Favorite Towns

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of getglo.com

Hagan Walker of Glo with some of their glowing ice cubes – courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Hagan Walker of Glo, am innovative local company that makes liquid-activated glowing ice cubes, among other clever items, recently released a video celebrating Starkville businesses and the beauty of the town in general. This is the third in a series that they call “East Lampkin,” and it was inspired by Mississippi Magazine’s recent announcement that they had voted Starkville as their “Best Place to Live” in the state. Their youthful energy could very well serve as a positive example for us all.

An excerpt of his blog follows:

“Pals of Glo,
Right after Episode One of East Lampkin aired, it was really amazing to see how many people tuned in – almost 10,000! Thank you! We had people all over the USA, and beyond, that watched the first episode.

Our small town of Starkville was just named “Best Place to Live” by Mississippi Magazine and we couldn’t agree more – so we’ve taken a slight segue in this video to simply show Starkville – and list below how this small town has been a huge positive for our company.

The probability of a company becoming “successful”, which we’ll define as being profitable, correlates strongly with cost of living, various support structures, the product/service offering, among others. In Starkville, we’re able to pay our employees decent wages, we have wonderful community support, and we want to showcase that. We believe more than having a successful company is having a company that is creating jobs, creating a positive impact on the community, and working to create products that people love. Our town of Starkville has allowed us to do that, and we’d love for you to see the town that we slowly have learned to love.”

Please click here for the full article and their video showcasing some of the best Starkville has to offer!

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