Category Archives: Yokohama

4-County Electric Welcomes its New CEO

GTR Region – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Incoming 4-County Chief Executive Officer Brian Clark works at his desk Wednesday – Clark will replace Joe Cade, who plans to retire at the end of the month, as CEO and general manager Oct 1 – Photo by Isabelle Altman, Dispatch Staff

4-County Electric Power Association’s Asst General Manager Brian Clark has been named the non-profit cooperative’s new CEO in a recent press release; he will take over for outgoing CEO Joe Cade, who will retire at the end of the month. Clark first joined the company as a staff accountant about thirteen years ago, and worked his way up the corporate ladder to CFO in 2013m and then AGM in February.

Cade, who took over as CEO in 2010, is credited with working closely with the GTR LINK to help bring big businesses such as Yokohama to the area, as well as improving efficiency, work safety, and community engagement in the nine counties they serve. Clark means to continue and improve upon those successes: “I think 4-County’s in a great place,” Clark said. “I know that’s easy to say, but Mr. Joe and the board, they really have done the right things at the right time, which makes my job easy coming in. But it’s kind of like being a pristine athlete at a pro level. You have to work hard at staying in physical shape, so we have to work hard at maintaining what they’ve already built for us.”

Clark also serves as the LCSD board of trustees’ President, having been a member since 2010. Superintendent Lynn Wright speaks highly of him:  “He’s willing to ask good, tough questions and he expects solid answers,” Wright said.

“He’s well-educated, he knows what he’s doing and he’s been real good in his jobs here so I don’t have any doubts about him,” Outgoing CEO Cade said. “I think he’ll do a really good job. . . I’ve had over 25 years of good relationships with everyone I’ve worked with and I know Brian has got the personality to do very well,” he added. “He’s a rock-solid good Christian man.”


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West Point Is Getting Bigger and Better for Business

West Point Is Getting Bigger and Better for Business

WEST POINT, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI)

Hwy 45 Alternate in West Point has been enjoying the presence of several new businesses both large and small as of late. Mayor Robbie Robinson credits these venues for increasing commerce to the city, and therefore, increasing the tax base, to the benefit of the city and its residents: “We’ve had significant positive commercial development on Highway 45 South and West Point is the magnet. There’s so much activity down there. It’s attracted a lot of growth. In fact, our growth here in the city has been about 5% for tax base and we are very grateful for it,” said Mayor Robinson.

While a variety of new shops of all kinds have appeared recently, local resident and restauranteur Dorothy Floyd  feels that Yokohama’s nearby plant deserves much of the credit: “Since Yokohama came here we have begun to see the incline of businesses and people just had an upbeat, you know, they felt better about being here. Since Bryan left, you know, it’s like a death tone everybody was just down and out about businesses leaving. Yokohama came and then we have a couple of more companies come. . .“We began to see the business getting a little bit slow, and we realized how many other restaurants were moving to the highway and me and my husband, we sat down we had a long conversation about it. We said let’s give it a try and move to the highway, and it has been wonderful,” she went on to say.

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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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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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MDA Praises Golden Triangle Region for Industrial Growth

MDA Praises Golden Triangle Region for Industrial Growth

The Dispatch – Columbus

Mississippi Development Authority Director Glenn McCullough, left, visits with Columbus Rotary Club member Tango Moore after speaking at the club’s meeting at Lion Hills Center on Tuesday. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough recently gave a presentation to the Columbus Rotary Club, extolling the Golden Triangle Region’s virtues as an increasingly attractive place to do business, especially for industrial concerns. He spoke of the economic growth brought about due to large companies such as Yokohama, Toyota, Nissan, Steel Dynamics, and Plum Creek, to name a few. He also expressed his appreciation for all of the GTR communities’ working together to make the area a more successful place for everyone: “When it comes to economic development — when it comes to community development and leadership, we are all on the same team,” McCullough said. “We are not big enough to fight when it comes to building our communities. We, as leaders, need to look across the state of Mississippi and see the state of Mississippi not just compete, but win. You’ve been doing that.”

McCullough also addressed the room with regards to workforce training, which he said is an important factor for the future of the state and its economic growth. The State of Mississippi has committed $50 million toward such efforts, which includes funds for the state’s community college system. He mentioned the planned Communiversity, in particular, which is currently under construction near PACCAR: “You’ll have a facility and some people at the Communiversity that will give the Golden Triangle something no other part of the Southeast has,” he said. “…It is so important –Mississippi needs to make sure that people understand around the world (that if) you want to produce a product or service in Mississippi, our people are the best.”

McCullough went on to say that the state has other advantages, as well; he said the state is a top-10 state for business costs, permitting speed, competitive labor costs, automotive manufacturing strength and other categories.

Despite this, he also acknowledged that the state faces competition from other states (especially those nearest to us) in this regard, and that we need to continue to improve how we are perceived by those in the outside world: “Sometimes Mississippi’s perception is not want we want it to be, which is why tourism is so important.”

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West Point’s Hwy 45 Corridor Thriving

West Point’s Hwy 45 Corridor Thriving

WEST POINT, Miss. (Courtesy of WTVA)

Ever since Yokohama opened for business on the North side of town in 2015, the area’s South side along Hwy 45 has been booming, reports Lisa Klutts, the director of The Community Development Growth Alliance. She says that more business openings are on the way: “Burger King opened just under a year ago, Express Lube opened just recently and Love’s truck stop with Arby’s will be opening in May.”

The Growth Alliance said  that Burger King on Highway 45 surmounted national record sales on its opening day. “It seems like a pretty good business move to me, if they’re in it to make money,” said driver David Nelson.

The Growth Alliance said they watch trends to see if businesses are expanding in the state. “We would like to see more shoe stores or clothing stores,” said Klutts. There are currently no public plans to bring such stores to the area (yet), but, at the city grows and the Golden Triangle becomes more and more attractive to big business, who knows what the future may hold…?

All we know is, that’s good for the Golden Triangle, and that’s Good for Business!

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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:

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The TVA Infinity Megasite is Online in Columbus!

The TVA Infinity Megasite is Online in Columbus!

Bill Johnson, President and CEO of the TVA (Tennesse Valley Authority) announced today that the Infinity Site is open and ready for a manufacturing business to move right in. Infinity is a TVA Megasite in the Columbus area; two others also exist as part of the industrial park off of Hwy 82, which houses Steel Dynamics and part of PACCAR. This is now the third such site in the Columbus area, and the eighth in the state of Mississippi.

Megasites are large (1000+ acres) industrial production sites designed to be everything a manufacturer could want, all set up and ready for them to move in and get down to business in short order: The buildings themselves, land and parking, infrastructure, and easy access to major transportation routes such as interstates and railways. On average, as many as three thousand jobs are created as part of a megasite’s creation and usage.

joe max higginsJohnson gave JoeMax Higgins, CEO of the GTR LINK, an award recognizing the hard work the LINK has done in order to facilitate speedy certification of the site – a process which can normally take a year and a half was done in half the time due to their efforts.

Mississippi is growing ever stronger, and word is spreading!

Colin Krieger of our own Good for Business was on had to record the announcement on video. 60 Minutes also had reporters on-hand to cover the story, as a testament to the ongoing improvements in economic development.

Link to our video here:

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EMCC Job Fair – Today!

A job fair is happening today at EMCC’s Golden Triangle Campus! Polish up your resume, put on your Sunday best, and come on by! All are welcome!

EMCC Office of Public Affairs – PRESS RELEASE:

Employers on hand will include manufacturers like Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, Airbus Helicopters Inc. and PACCAR Engine Company, along with representatives from other businesses seeking everything from health care workers to diesel technicians and fast food workers. Some employers will fill immediate openings while others will offer training that could lead to a job.The job fair is open, and free of charge, to all college students and area residents. The list of employers signed up to participate in the job fair is available on EMCC’s website, Look for the East Mississippi Job Fair link on the home page.

For more information, contact Melanie Sanders at (662) 243-1904 or [email protected].

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EMCC Honors PACCAR, Yokohama, Baptist at Industry Luncheon

emcc-logoEast Mississippi Community College held its Industry Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday at the Golden Triangle campus. They chose to honor businesses that have invested countless hours – and dollars – to help improve the Golden Triangle and make it a force to be reckoned with on a national scale.


PACCAR and Yokohama both received the Director’s Award, the event’s highest honor.

Also honored was Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle, which was granted the Best Practices Award, and Special Recognition Awards for developer Mark Castleberry and Lt. Col. Richard T. “Sonic” Johnson (retired).

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner Jr. proudly told the assembled that “We are proud to serve the people of this region. When your people, our people, take what they have learned in these four walls and they make a better product, provide a better service, earn a higher wage, send the next generation to college, change the trajectory of their families, we are all better.”

PACCAR received the Director’s Award for “the highest level of recognition through workforce training, demonstrating management excellence with superior outcomes, continuing to improve and build upon outstanding results and excellent systems and deploying world-class processes.”

Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, which took the Director’s Award last year, accomplished a repeat performance this year for “the highest level of recognition through workforce training, demonstrating management excellence with superior outcomes, continuing to improve and build upon outstanding results and excellent systems and deploying world-class processes.”

Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle earned the Best Practices Award for “providing outstanding examples of workforce training, quality management and business practices that serve as models for others.”

More information may be found at the link below, courtesy of WCBI:

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